Minihome aims to combine a happy home from home feeling with a stimulating learning environment. We try to foster an atmosphere of loving kindness and generosity of spirit.
The environment, equipment, activities and care routines are child centred. They are appropriate to age and stage related learning goals whilst acknowledging individual differences in needs, abilities, and timing. Through play, children explore their world in all its aspects: physical, mental and social. They gain knowledge, skills and self-esteem. Children are encouraged to make choices and develop self-reliance. Plenty of group activities are always available and the different age groups have opportunities to interact.
Each child has a key worker who is primarily responsible for their welfare. The key worker monitors and assesses the child’s needs, liaising with parents / carers and the staff team with regard to daily and more long term issues. All staff have qualifications or relevant experience and are appropriately checked and cleared. Minihome is registered with OFSTED our registration number is EY248301.
All staff are offered on-going training opportunities to develop their knowledge, enhance their job satisfaction and improve their skills.
Food is prepared on the premises from fresh ingredients. The emphasis is on healthy vegetarian food plus some fish, incorporating multicultural provision and special diets. We use organic dairy products, fruit and vegetables as available.
On a personal note, the minihome company directors are Billie Chan and Maria Gandy who run yogahome. We hope that minihome will reflect the values you may already be familiar with at yogahome. Billie’s children have attended minihome and Maria’s daughter is there now. We are aim to build the nursery that we would want our children to go to.
Parents / carers are a crucial part of minihome, we look forward to getting to know you and your children and welcome any feedback or suggestions.
Learning at minihome
At minihome we are committed to learning in the broadest sense, for children and adults.
I believe that a child learns best and most deeply, by direct experience of the interactions with people around them, the routines, activities, situations, environments and objects, in fact all the stuff of life.
At minihome the practitioners are encouraged to consider the viewpoint of a child in order to provide most appropriately for them.
The role of the practitioner is in establishing an environment that supports learning through direct experience and through the sensitive and subtle extension of knowledge and understanding.
We are continuing to develop our ability as adults to stimulate discovery on the part of a child without limiting it to our own preconceived ideas. In support of this practitioners aim to support the processes a child becomes involved in above the production of any adult defined outcomes or products.
We aim to provide a balance of child led and adult led activities. We favour the following of a child’s interests, but recognise the important ways in which adults can stimulate new interests through novel activities, objects, interventions, discussions, books, pictures and outings.
We plan on a weekly basis for children as individuals and as part of the groups to which they belong. All our plans are flexible and respond to what actually happens each day. We observe each child to inform the plans that we make and invite every family to contribute to our understanding of their child by contributing to our records.
We use the Early Years Foundation Stage documents to inform our provision.
We engage in regular reflection on our practice and provision and evaluate this in terms of outcomes for children.
Practitioners continue to learn through in house training and support as well as external courses.
Outdoor activities or Music and movement / yoga / singing
Focus activities available plus free play, role play, exploration and problem solving, books, mark making, music, art and craft, construction, water, sand and malleable materials.
Adults encourage language, confidence and independence.
Outline of a daily routine in baby room
We follow the routine established by you and your baby and feedback any changes in your baby’s routine whilst at nursery.
Snacks and meals are served at particular times but can be kept for your child if necessary.
Activities are available on the floor for babies to explore on their own or with staff. Staff mediated focus activities and time outside happen as and when they fit in with babies routines each key worker plans activities for their key children and also provides focus activities for any interested babies.
8.00 – 9.00
Floor activities laid out.
Snack time, encourage self feeding as appropriate, and conversation
Activities for babies
Attention is given to the total experience, the key worker has a crucial role in providing a loving, secure environment. The schedule of feeding, sleeping and activity and quiet times will be arranged in consultation with the parents / carers.
Keyworkers engage in face to face interaction, eye contact and talk using simple language with a soothing voice.
Babies are held for bottle-feeding. Changing and feeding are used as opportunities for play, growth and development. They are carried out with love and attention, as needed by the child and not according to a pre determined schedule. These are times when babies can be helped to discover their own bodies and play with water and experience new tastes, smells and sensations.
Babies’ sounds are responded to and imitated.
Talking with, singing to and physical play with babies forms much of the activity for this group.
A variety of toys are introduced, soft and hard, noisy and silent, small to develop finger gripping and large for hugging. There are toys that respond to actions, things to push and pull and turn. Toys range in the level of visual stimulation and in the textures introduced. So that not all toys are brightly coloured.
Treasure baskets are introduced to this group and continued through to toddlers. These contain collections of everyday objects made of natural materials shiny metal, leather, straw, wood and fabrics.
There are a variety of different balls of different materials plus beanbags.
Books are read as well as used for feeling and looking at.
There are mirrors at floor level, and a variety of textured surfaces for babies to be placed on.
Babies are encouraged to discover their bodies through foot rattles, massage and assisted movements.
Music and other sounds are played in the room.
There will be time outside every day weather permitting.
The activities for this group are an extension from the pre-crawling group. Babies lead the way with their interests and are introduced to new experiences by key workers.
Toys are available within reach to allow babies to begin to make choices and have preferences.
The range of toys is broader and includes blocks and things to push or pull along. Items requiring finer manipulation are introduced.
Low steps and slopes and soft play blocks will be available to develop movement. There are different textured mats and cushions to feel and lie or sit on or play with.
There is time outside everyday, weather permitting, experiencing the different surfaces and babies are assisted to slide on the equipment.
There is sand and water play.
Activities for toddlers
Key workers support toddlers’ play to extend periods of interest and concentration.
Key workers model imaginative play and role-plays, such as “tea parties”.
The breadth of toys increases to include appropriate puzzles, different construction systems big and small, magnet boards, bead game boards and threading equipment, plus materials for role-play. There are collections of vehicles, animals, and other objects.
There are tabletop activities and floor based ones plus areas for role-play.
Reading, singing and actions are adapted for toddlers to be actively involved.
Instruments for banging, shaking and blowing are available.
There is movement to music.
Bags of objects are available for heuristic play.
As for crawlers, low steps and slopes and soft play blocks will be available to develop movement. There will be different textured mats and cushions to feel and lie or sit on or play with.
Mark making materials will be available also sticking equipment.
There will be time outside everyday experiencing the different surfaces and toddlers will be assisted to slide and play on the equipment.
There is sand and water play.
Practitioners aim to engage with toddlers through the provision of activities that stimulate a wide range of their senses and support active involvement on the part of the child.
Activities for 2 – 5 year olds
There is a weekly plan of what will be arranged in the nursery for this age group, it is play based. It includes scope for children to self select within a particular area as well as choosing which activities to get involved with over all.
We aim to meet the needs of individual children as well as small groups with similar interests or needs. The plans made draw on the staff knowledge of children as individuals and as part of small groups. They also draw on the guidance included in the Early Years Foundation Stage documents issued by the Government Department for Children, Schools and Families. There may occasionally be themes to our investigations and explorations which change through the year.
Provision for children aims to be broad and varied, with a balance of child led and adult focussed activities. Practitioners are encouraged to intervene sensitively to avoid disrupting cycles of deep, intense play, but to be available to extend the growth in each child’s knowledge and understanding.
There are library visits as well as trips to Hackney city farm, Clissold park and Abney Park cemetery for nature walks.
Cooking and exploring and tasting different cultural food is a regular part of the programme which we hope to involve parents in.
All our children are engaged in establishing the attitudes and dispositions to learning and reaching the early learning goals outlined in the EYFS. These are desirable abilities that we seek to cultivate in children through play. Six key areas of learning are outlined by OFSTED and weekly activity plans ensure that activities are arranged to develop children in all these areas. Our provision for this age group has been inspected by the Learning Trust and found to be appropriate so we are able to administer the Nursery Education Grant Funding for children from the term after their third birthday.
Our food policy is one of healthy eating, we do not serve meat but we are not strictly vegetarian, we serve fish. The weekly menus are multi-cultural and include a wide range of foods. Puddings are fruit or yoghurt and the occasional cake, scone or flapjack with the emphasis on natural fruit sugars. We add little or no salt to children’s food. We can cater for special diets in partnership with parents / carers. We aim to have organic dairy products and fruit and vegetables as they are available, our food is not all organic.
Meals aim to be like family occasions; staff sit with children in small groups and engage in conversation.
Breakfast is a choice of bio bix, puffed grain cereal, or Millet rice all with no added sugar. Alternatively there is wholemeal toast and dairy-free margarine.
Snacks are rice cakes, corn cakes or oatcakes and fruit or vegetable sticks.
Sample menu, weekly menus are displayed on the parents notice board opposite the office.
After lunch, all children in the 2+ rooms are helped to clean their teeth.
Formula milk will be given to babies as directed by parents and as babies indicate. This is prepared in the milk kitchen area in baby room. Weaning is undertaken in partnership with parents.
We are happy to support baby led weaning practices according to parental preferences. In general we would introduce finger foods to children as appropriate to their stage of weaning in addition to dishes pureed or mashed to a stage/age appropriate consistency.
We aim to encourage all children to drink water as their main source of fluids (in addition to their milk feeds). Children under one year are given boiled, cooled water.
Water cups are kept visible and offered regularly to all children. In the 2+ area, water cups are kept accessible for children and they are supported and encouraged to help themselves and others.
Food is prepared by our cook Ann. Ann has a Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene.
Outdoor Play Policy
To ensure that children have physical freedom and access to the outdoors.
To provide opportunities for each child to have access to the outdoors every day whatever the weather, in line with the EYFS curriculum.
To give children access to the distinct and broad experience offered by the outdoors in contrast to what is available indoors.
To support children in taking reasonable risks outdoors to gain confidence and develop skills.
Minihome has direct access to it’s own garden. This has been designed to be child-centred, with areas to hide, run and climb and experiment physically, in safety and security. Children from the 2+ area downstairs are given freedom and encouraged to make use of the outside space for large portions of the day.
Children from the Baby and Toddler Rooms have two outdoor sessions each per day that they can make use of.
To ensure daily access we need the support of parents in providing clothing for all weather conditions outdoors. Practitioners are aware of the need to respond to each child’s state of comfort given the weather and to ensure that they remain comfortable. For example non mobile babies might be out in cold weather for a short time only.
All children have access to sand, water, climbing equipment and the planned activities or materials of the day while outside. There are a variety of tricycles, scooters, trolleys and wheel barrows for children to use as well as large wooden ride on trucks and see saws. Children are supervised at all times while in the garden. Sometimes they are encouraged to join in with a group activity, but they are mainly supported and encouraged to make their own play choices. We encourage managed risk taking for children to help them gain confidence to explore their environment.
In addition, children are taken in small groups to the yogahome garden where there are opportunities for more adult led focus activities such as fire lighting, cooking on fires, wood working and den building. We have a weekly session which looks at growing food, so that children are involved in planting seeds, watering, weeding and tasting the foods that they grow. We encourage children to explore earth, insects and other mini beasts. There are chickens at yogahome and a pond with frogs, we look at life cycles with the children and have incubated eggs and watched chicks grow. Children are involved in raking leaves and composting.
Children are also taken on visits to local parks such as Butterfield Green and Clissold park where there is a greater variety of trees, plants and animals to observe and explore.
To provide for a child’s need to have a consistent carer.
To provide for a parent’s needs to have a familiar contact for communication about their child.
To have clear lines of responsibility regarding the observation, record keeping and activity planning for children.
A key worker is allocated prior to a child starting. Parents / carers are informed in writing. The key worker is chosen to balance workload through the week amongst staff.
The key worker will meet with the family in the family’s home during the settling in period to support the building of their relationship with the child and their parents in the familiarity of their own home. This is an opportunity to discuss expectations, ask questions and share an understanding of your child and nursery life.
The key worker’s role:
Providing significant care and special comfort, security and knowledge of the child.
Comforting, feeding, changing / toileting and being there for the child whenever possible.
Settling the child and family into the setting.
Verbal contact with parents.
Passing information to colleagues to relay to parents if unable to do this personally.
Ensuring appropriate activities planned.
Making written and photo observations and collecting these together.
Tracking the child’s developmental progress.
Meeting with parents to discuss their child’s progress.
Writing reports for children when they leave.
Key workers work as part of a team, they do not have sole responsibility for their key children.
All staff will:
Play with children
Observe and photograph children
Carry out focus activities.
When a key worker is absent we rely on the regular team and familiar cover staff to fulfil the responsibilities of the key worker.
When moving to a new room a new key worker is chosen according to the workload and child preference if this can be accommodated.
Key workers pass information to each other to ensure continuity of care and knowledge, they prepare a hand over sheet and attend a hand over meeting together to share information.
Key workers help their key child to settle in to their new room.