The Oak Tree Nursery
The Oak Tree Nursery is one of the first stepping stones a child will take in their journey through Devonshire House Preparatory School. Our sessions are combined, taking children on a part time and full time basis. By offering three sessions (morning, afternoon and full day) we hope that parents can find the best routine that suits both them and their child’s needs.
Children can attend Nursery once they are two years and six months old. Two intakes are offered within the Part Time session, welcoming children with birthdays from September to April in the Autumn Term, and children with birthdays from April to August at the beginning of the Spring Term. There is typically one intake for the Full Time session, in the Autumn Term, but subject to assessment, some children from the Part Time session who joined in September, can be moved throughout the year, usually in the Spring Term.
We offer a rolling snack throughout the afternoon and morning, empowering children to make their own choices of when to have a drink or eat snack. We offer a wide selection of fruits as well as biscuits, bread sticks and rice cakes. Lunch is prepared by the school’s catering team, delivering a delicious and varied menu. At Nursery, children’s allergies and dietary needs are considered with great thought and the school nurse ensures all children with requirements have special food placemats.
In the Autumn Term, children attending the Full Time session can have a sleep after Lunch. Bedding is provided by the Nursery, which we ask parents to take home every Friday to wash for the following week. Small foldable sleeping mats are used, also helping to give comfort to the children when resting. There is no sleep time provided for the Spring and Summer Terms, as we wish to prepare them for their transition into Pre Reception and also enable children make most of the activities on offer throughout the Nursery.
The number of children at one time is approximately 38 and we are staffed with 7 members of highly skilled and qualified Early Years Practitioners. We have one Head of Nursery, one Session Coordinator, one Session Group Leader and four Nursery Assistants. All staff are involved in the day to day running of the Nursery, playing an active role in observing, assessing and planning to meet the needs of the children.
At the Oak Tree Nursery we strive to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage, following all 7 areas of the curriculum; Communication and Language Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Literacy Development, Mathematical Development, Expressive Arts and Design Development and Understanding of the World Development.
All Nursery sessions are mixed, spending a substantial part of their day as one united group. Sessions are usually split when more focus is needed for a particular topic. Timings are all laid out in each Session’s timetable.
We follow a creative curriculum whereby we relate all areas of learning to a particular topic of interest. This helps to maintain children’s attention and enthusiasm whilst keeping the learning outcomes relative to what they are experiencing whilst at Nursery. Jolly Phonics is taught daily, whereby children encounter fun and imaginative activities helping them to acquire a greater understanding synthetic Phonics. Music is taught by an Early Years Music teacher once a week. French is delicately touched upon within the Nursery, by a French speaking teacher. The Nursery children have weekly PE lessons with a Games teacher, using a wide range of apparatus and equipment. The Long Hall is a space that children have access to once a week, helping to develop gross motor skills. Children also have sessions focusing on Religious Education, discussing different cultures and faiths as well as recognizing the importance of being a kind and considerate person. Each week, children also have a PSHEE session incorporated into their timetables, discussing a range of topics based on their understanding of Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education.
Children have access to the outdoor environment each day, making use of the Nursery Playground and Adventure Playground throughout the week.
Attachments made early on in life help children to build their levels of self-confidence and well-being, assisting them to be motivated to explore and investigate all learning opportunities. The Key Person approach is fundamental in our setting, allowing children to form close bonds with one special adult, helping the transition from home to nursery be as smooth as possible. The Key Person also has the responsibility of maintaining records on each child and feeding back any relevant information to the Head of Nursery.
Parental involvement is welcomed, and invitations are sent out throughout the year asking for voluntary participation, feedback and support.
Our overall aim at the Oak Tree Nursery is that children are looked after in a safe and stimulating environment where there is a range of opportunities for fun to be had, exploring, investigating and active learning. The children’s ‘voice’ is valued and we take great care in listening and watching children’s newest discoveries whilst sharing in and celebrating all achievements.