Our large Under Twos Room is limited to eight children at any time and we choose to prioritise the effective development of our children with lots of space and high practitioner to child ratios. This does mean that our spaces are very limited and our waiting list is very long. While we would love to offer everyone a space, placements in this room are initially allocated to families already within the centre (Older siblings). This ensures we can offer a continuity of care for our children of all ages.
Our Under Two's space is focused on ensuring our children have the very best start we can offer. Our experienced and highly qualified practitioners, Kerryann Lee (Lead Practitioner) and Lisa Butterick (Play Assistant) have been working with babies for over 10 years each and are both currently completing their Bachelors Degree in Early Years at Pen Green Research Base. Both Kerryann and Lisa work within our Under Twos room everyday to ensure our children receive effective, consistent and individual care.
Our large double room has defined areas for sleeping, eating and messy play and then free play with our main focus of the room being our very large Play Gym. Developing our children's physical strength, coordination and control is our priority as all development at this age depends on successful physical development. Our children can very often climb stairs and slide down our slide themselves very quickly and the fun doesn't stop there.
All our play spaces within the Under Twos room are designed to be fully accessible by our children and they can learn to get themselves in and out of the ball pool, find a book to read and explore the sounds of our musical instruments. At first, all our children need continual support but as they become more mobile, our experienced practitioners support their growing independence to do as much for themselves as possible. This helps with our childrens development to make choices, solve problems and coordinate their movements to acheive their goal! Our practitioners are always on hand to clap and congratulate our childrens acheivements and settle down to play with them in whatever play they have choosen to access.
We think very carefully about the types of toys we include in our Under Twos space and we believe in always offering a wide range of choices so that our children can always find a new challenge rather than wait for it to be presented. We provide toys on a range of levels and a wide range of familar, popular toys alongside more natural and open ended play resources. This means that our money pigs sit next to wooden blocks which are alongside shape puzzles and old pots and pans! Mix that all up with some materials, cardboard tubes and boxes and a bit of imagination and you have endless play opportunities that can be extended as far as the child is able to go.
We design our spaces to allow our littlest children the space to play on their own, with a practitioner or alongside a playmate or even in a small group. This means that all our children can access play opportunities and spaces that meet their immediate learning needs. Sometimes we all need some quiet time and at the same time, some of us always love to be socialable and surrounded by others. Both are always possible in our Under Twos. Our children become very capable of expressing their choices too, either opting with their feet and just moving away or indicating by pointing or shuffling along to their favourite practitioner to communicate their needs and wants.
Our corner of imagination is where we prioritise our childrens need to explore the world around them and we have a variety of objects that will be common in their daily environment such as shopping baskets, crockery, food, babies and clothes. Even at a very early age our children enjoy exploring the common objects they see everyday and want to explore what they do and how they can understand them using all their senses. This is also a great space for our children who are exploring patterns in their world such as 'what fits in where' and 'how many things can I fit through this hole'!
Our spaces for our children to be supported through the activities in their daily routine such as breakfast, snack and lunch and their sleep times, have all been designed to enable all our children to gain independence and make choices during these times, while at the same time ensuring that they have a practitioner to support them at all times. This is where our children learn to recognise when they are tired, hungry and thristy and how to meet these needs and feel better. Our practitioners sit with our children to help them to feed themselves and support only as much as is necessary to help the children learn this important life-long skill. We try to encourage our children into a natural pattern of sleep alongside their home routine that enables them to fall to sleep easily and when ready. We do not wake our children as sleep is a vital part of brain development and children will not sleep more than they need and can get up as soon as they are ready. This time is as important to their development and ability to learn as shape puzzles and messy play, if not much more as without this 'downtime' their brains cannot assimilate the experiences they have had and create new connections in their brains! If a childs day time sleep is impacting their ability to sleep at night we will try to gently and slowly adjust the childs sleeping patterns to ensure that they are still maximising their sleep times during the day but that this is allowing a restful night too.