Children begin their day with a wide range of play activities set out around the nursery, from which they freely choose. Parents accompany their children into the classroom and are welcome to stay as long as they wish when settling their child in. We aim for a friendly and unhurried start to the day. Adults 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 choice of playing outdoors if they wish, and usually have wheeled toys and a range of other activities set out. Mid-morning we have snack time, when everyone sits down around a table together, sings the snack song, and then shares fruit, a biscuit, milk or water. This is followed by our puja (carpet time), when we share a chant and another whole group activity, 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 adult-led activities, which often relate to the story we have shared at puja, or aim to develop specific skills.
The morning usually finishes with songs and rhymes on the carpet. Children who stay for lunch eat in the classroom with the other Early Years children, and then have outdoor play until 1.00pm. The afternoon session follows a similar rhythm of indoor and outdoor play activities.
“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