babies | 6 months | Chatter Matters | Key workers | reflective and evaluative at Nature Trails
Cawston: 01788 815445 Crescent: 01788 813666
Babies returning from a walk in the woods
Dandelion clock
Water play in the garden
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Acorns

Babies begin their Nature Trails experience in our welcoming and homely "Acorns" unit. The children in this room normally join us from around 6 months old. They move on to Saplings unit once they are assessed to be developmentally ready for a toddler room environment (usually at around 20 months). Ratios of staff to children in Acorns often exceed one adult to three children, especially at times when more adults are needed to help settle new children into the nursery environment.

Acorns unit has separate rooms for meal times, group activities, messy play and sleeping. These different spaces enable us to supervise children in smaller groups and to offer more structured activities where appropriate. As we have access to a suite of rooms in this unit we are also able to allow children to withdraw into a quiet space when they need it. Our sleep room provides a calm atmosphere to aid peaceful sleep. Individual bed linen is freshly washed at nursery.

Simply structured ‘group times' are held regularly throughout each day when we sing songs and perform action rhymes. This encourages babies to begin to take notice of each other and to express themselves. We are a “Sing and Sign” affiliated nursery; an approach proven to enhance aspects of language development that relate to attention, listening and confidence in communication. "Singing and Signing" is facilitated by a specialist peripatetic teacher who comes to the nursery to assist in the teaching of children and to support staff that have all undertaken the sing and sign training. 

Babies enjoy the outdoor environment during daily walks down a largely traffic free gated farm lane into the local woodland. Our gardens are spacious and interesting with equipment that is designed to safely challenge and support developing physical skills. Even babies that are not yet walking enjoy crawling around on their hands and knees in an especially assigned Astro-Turf garden. A shade sail ensures protection from the sun in the heat of the day so that babies who are not yet unable to move can also benefit from playing outdoors with the support of their key persons.

Key persons regularly observe children in order to plan age and stage appropriate activities that enable children to learn at their own pace and in a non-pressurised manner. Parents are asked to share ideas from their own knowledge of their child to support their child's development and learning at nursery. Most importantly, at this stage of development, love and cuddles are also readily available at all times from our dedicated and caring staff members, fostering feelings of emotional security and social confidence.

In this first room, staff work hard to build up caring and loving relationships with the youngest babies allowing them to feel safe and secure within the setting. Activities are planned in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage and are tailored to suit individual children's emotional needs, as well as to promote emerging language and mobility as these areas of learning are of primary importance at this stage in development. A specialist Yoga teacher visits weekly, introducing babies to activities that promote exploration using senses, fostering a sense of inner calm and improving flexibility and control. Key persons continue to promote the benefits of “baby yoga” activities daily throughout the week.

At this age, learning occurs naturally through play and exploring with the senses. We have many resources and activities that encourage sensory exploration and that inspire in babies an eagerness to absorb information from the world around them.