The Caterpillar Room is led by our extremely talented and experienced Deputy Nursery Manager who is supported by a small team of well qualified, experienced and caring staff, most of whom have been at the nursery for many years. We are very fortunate that we retain staff for long periods of time; our longest standing member of staff in the Caterpillar Room has been at the nursery for 20 years! In the Caterpillar Room we have an adult:child ratio of at least 1:4. Our aim is to support families and their children to settle into nursery life and start their learning journey with us. This begins with a home visit and continues with an open door policy, where staff are always available to discuss concerns, achievements or just have a chat.
The room contains areas of continuous provision which are open ended, promote imaginative play and independence. The purpose of an effective continuous provision is to offer children a constant environment that is safe for them to explore whilst challenging their learning. It also allows children the freedom to explore and become independent in making choices. An important part of the EYFS is to support children in becoming active learners; continuous provision allows children to demonstrate this aspect and practitioners can closely observe this during their play.
It also supports children’s learning and development across all seven areas and, just as importantly, the characteristics of effective learning (how children learn). We aim to provide natural resources that are real to the children and are meaningful to them. For example, we often have real food in our home corner and open ended dressing up such as scarves, hats, bags and fabric.
Children in the Caterpillar Room have access to the outdoor area throughout their session, determined by how settled they are and the group’s needs. They have access to our spacious and well resourced garden which promotes active learning and plenty of physical challenges! Areas such as the mud kitchen, huge sandpit and loose parts are some of their favourites as they love to explore, transport and create.
We believe the journey to school begins from birth and that each phase of their early years is critical in setting them up to become confident, independent learners. We therefore promote independence within our Caterpillar Room, where children are trusted to use real resources such as china cups and plates in the role play area and they also serve themselves water from our dispensers and use real cutlery and china plates at meal times.
Many children show a readiness for toileting whilst in the Caterpillar Room and the staff are there to provide support and guidance, where necessary, and continue the routines families have established at home. We are fortunate to have purpose built toilets and sensor taps which are ideal for children beginning their toilet training journey and promote independence and confidence with our youngest children.
Our Caterpillar Room has a parent information board detailing upcoming events or supportive materials or guidance and we encourage our parents to check this and our chalkboard regularly to find out what is happening in the nursery. In our windows we also display the story the children have shared and the snack that they have enjoyed that day.
The Caterpillar Room staff pride themselves on the excellent relationships they build with our families as well as our children. They host regular meetings with parents in our Family Room to discuss children’s progress and development when they are a Focus Child and also a statutory 2 year check completed by the nursery.