Our Daily Rhythm.
Our bodies and minds have their natural rhythm, so for us, it makes sense that our movements throughout our daily activities follow one too. We have our daily rhythms, incorporating our circle time with our welcome song to begin each of our days together, followed by stimulating activities (breathing in) and grounding, calm activities such as our yoga or mindfulness sessions (breathing out).
This is supported by the annual natural rhythm, observed by the children in and through the seasons, celebrated holidays etc.
For millions of years our planet has followed the same cycles, (daily, weekly, seasonally, annually) so why would we change them now? We believe it is most meaningful to learn in synchronicity with our Earth. We base the children's learning around this cycle, planning activities to coincide with the changes and occurrences in our environment.
Toddler and Preschooler friendly Yoga and Mindfulness sessions, both in and outdoors take place within every full day at Kindergarten. Our practitioners have completed age and developmentally appropriate training for these sessions designed for children in their Early years.
Our Manager and Owner at Faraway Tree kindergarten, Kristie Chesters is a fully qualified Forest School Leader. We incorporate the forest school philosophy as part of our continuous approach to learning and play opportunities.
Arrival: All children and families are welcomed and the morning handovers begin. Parents share any information to support the child's day, and practitioners spend time settling the children.
Morning session. This is generally an offsite session. We typically spend time on the village recreation ground, walking on footpaths crossing historic parkland, nature reserves, woodlands and open spaces in Much Hadham. We care for an allotment in the village, spend time in nearby Elsie's meadow, enjoying the local ford. The children see numerous dogs, birds of prey, garden birds, horses, donkeys, lambs, sheep, rams and mini beasts galore, they saw a heron and a stoat recently! The children enjoy as much of the green space around them as they are able to access. This session is where we use most of our 'in the moment planning'. We take basic kit* out with us, the items change to fit the weather / seasons and the needs and interests of the group. Our practitioners spend time observing the children in their play, identifying the 'teachable moments' and extending the learning as it happens 'in the moment'.
End of morning session and lunch time; children attending for the morning session only are collected at 12.00 and the children who attend for a full day/lunch time add-on sit together to eat their packed lunches.
Sleep, any children who have a midday sleep are put down for their rest. We sit with the children and read aloud until all are settled and calm. We encourage them to soothe themselves to sleep, we use classical music to support this calm, relaxed environment. The children 'camp' together in our cosy bell tent.
Any interventions for children requiring it, small group tasks and extension for the oldest / most able children takes place while the smallest children in our group are resting.
2.00 - 4.00
Afternoon session. This incorporates a second offsite outing, with some more adult led within it. For example, den building, allotment, pond dipping etc. Other times, it could be an indoor session. We complete art projects, we have sand / water / messy play / sensory play / light and shadow / tents and dens / role play. We follow the children's lead. Adults spend time observing, completing interventions, one to one and small group work, work on our 'floor books' the practitioners logs and reflections of what we get up to, recorded and presented for the parents to see and for the children to use to revisit their experiences.
Wind down and collection. Gather for circle time and a story to finish our day. We re-cap on our actions and learning. We tell the children stories, we might have song or dancing time. We talk about what we would like to do tomorrow. The children begin to get their shoes on and bags, items to take home, ready. Parents collection and afternoon handover.
* Kit - We have hammocks, a slack line and hanging equipment- ladder, trapeze swing, rings etc, various bubble wands and a bubble machine, parachutes, tarps, a wagon to pull our equipment and / or tired toddlers! Child-size tools and PPE for the allotment, an action camera. All of our indoor equipment can be (and are) taken outdoors. We take out books and musical instruments often.
** Toilet training children need often reminding that they may need to visit the toilet, especially if busy in their play. We ask the room if anyone needs to go several times a day, which usually prompts the children to think about whether they do or not.