Children begin their day with a wide range of play activities set out around the nursery, from which they freely choose. Parents can accompany their children into the classroom and can have a quick chat with the teacher if they wish. We aim for a friendly and unhurried start to the day. Staff offer continual support and encouragement, facilitating the children’s choices, and there is always a planned creative activity on offer.
When everyone is settled in we offer children the option of playing outdoors, and during the morning and afternoon sessions a range of additional activities are offered in the school garden, depending on the weather conditions. Mid-morning, we join Rainbow and Mountain Class for playtime in the front garden, followed by snack time. This is an important part of our day, and gives us an opportunity to introduce the children to mindful eating. Everyone sits down around a table together, listens to our mindfulness bell, and enjoys a moment of bringing awareness to the breath. We sing the Thankyou Song, and then share a healthy snack, such as a selection of fruit pieces, an oatcake or rice cake, with a drink of milk or water. This is followed by our puja (carpet time), when we share another whole group activity such as a story or game, chosen by the teacher to promote good listening, mindfulness and thoughtful interactions. This is followed by more free play, and the children are also encouraged to join in with specially planned adult-led activities, which might relate to the story we have shared at puja, or which aim to develop specific skills. The morning usually finishes with songs and rhymes on the carpet.
Children who stay for lunch eat together in the classroom, and then have outdoor play until 1.00pm. The afternoon begins with a quiet time for relaxation and reading, followed by more indoor and outdoor play activities. The afternoon draws to a close with snack time and outdoor play in the garden, ending with a story and the Goodbye Song.
On Monday mornings we have a dance and art session led by our school dance specialist, Johanna, and on Wednesdays Mei Mei leads a special session focusing on physical development, and including yoga and dance. We also like to take the children on local walks, and sometimes visit the playground at our local park. Occasionally we take children on outings in the school minibus.
“The intimate and nurturing environment drew us to the Dharma Nursery and our expectations have been totally exceeded. Our daughter has been allowed to develop her independence by being given the space to choose how she wishes to spend her day. She has developed a great love of singing and also really enjoys being able to help look after the younger members of the Nursery.”
– Sunflower parent, 2015