Before children go to school, they learn essential skills in the best way: through play, interaction, and discussion. Nursery plays a key role in facilitating opportunities for learning and development.
To develop reasoning and problem solving (i.e. cognitive skills), make use of activities, structured and free play, and games that encourage curiosity. Infants learn by playing, listening, watching, asking questions, and doing. Try practising the alphabet or counting, sorting shapes and colours, jigsaws, singing, and playing with interesting toys and objects.
Social development will happen every day. Use structured group play to encourage positive and respectful relationships.
For example, saying “I understand it’s hard for you to stop drawing because you are enjoying it so much, but it’s time to come for dinner now.”
Other methods of developing emotional intelligence include accepting expressions of emotion (rather than shh-ing or scolding) and listening. When a temper tantrum comes your way, encourage them to calm down and explain to you why they are reacting like this.
Defining boundaries teaches children vital cognitive skills about what behaviours are and aren’t acceptable. These are crucial skills for social integration, respect for rules, and for school and work.
You can use your policy as a selling point; it demonstrates your commitment to the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and to child development. This document sells your values, ethics, and principles to parents wanting to find excellent childcare.
There’s a little trick you can do to figure out all your expectations. Sit down with a pen and paper or your laptop or even a video recorder and think about a normal day at work. You might also want to think about behaviour expectations for trips. Imagine a day at work where you take the children in your care to the park or a museum. In this scenario, what are your expectations, and how do they differ from a day at nursery or at your home?
In your charter, policy or contracts consider your behaviours and responsibilities too. This creates a sense of cooperation between parents, children, and staff.
Now that you’ve completed that task, sit down to write your expectations up. Here are 6 tips for thinking about and implementing your expectations:
Once you’ve designed your charter, discuss these expectations with parents and children and be prepared for cooperation and negotiation. Then, ask children and parents to sign the charter.
Finally, make sure it’s visible at all times.