Early Childhood Centre

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Early Childhood Centre

Our Early Childhood Centre incorporates our 0-5 year old award winning day nursery … but its way more than just a nursery to us at Sleepy Hollow.  We follow our own unique curriculum which is a Reggio Emilia Inspired Approach, follow the playwork principles and are partaking in the Curiosity Approach Accreditation so we are unique in Northern Ireland to the service we offer.  We also have an Eager and Able to Learn 2-3 year old programme which runs four mornings per week and that curriculum is based on Queens Univeristy Belfast based research.  We have an indoor fully plumbed wet room, an Art Atelier for art and craft projects, a Music Room and Reading Library, a sensory/curiosity room and a mixed age dining room where the children all come together at meal times.  We use proper crockery and glasses, white linen table cloths and place a great emphasis on our meal times being a social occasion and something we take time to enjoy.

Early Childhood Centre

Our Early Childhood Centre incorporates our 0-5 year old award winning day nursery … but its way more than just a nursery to us at Sleepy Hollow.  We follow our own unique curriculum which is a Reggio Emilia Inspired Approach, follow the playwork principles and are partaking in the Curiosity Approach Accreditation so we are unique in Northern Ireland to the service we offer.  We also have an Eager and Able to Learn 2-3 year old programme which runs four mornings per week and that curriculum is based on Queens Univeristy Belfast based research.  We have an indoor fully plumbed wet room, an Art Atelier for art and craft projects, a Music Room and Reading Library, a sensory/curiosity room and a mixed age dining room where the children all come together at meal times.  We use proper crockery and glasses, white linen table cloths and place a great emphasis on our meal times being a social occasion and something we take time to enjoy.

  • We have three rooms for the under 2’s
  • Staff to child ratio 1:3
  • Mimmo room open for children usually under 8 months
  • Bambini and Polpetto rooms 8 months to 2 years
  • Following Reggio Emilia pedagogy we in using every part of the child’s experience including their environment to learn and grow through curiosity and discovery Children follow their own routines and we work closely in partnership with parents to ensure that we are following parental requests
  • Plenty of natural light, space, wooden toys, loose parts and access to open ended play resources
  • Flexible settling in policy – as many visits as necessary with parent or carer.
  • Families will be asked to complete enrolment forms and information sheets to help us all to get to know what you and your little ones preferences are.
  • Once children join the Piccolo Room they begin to use our dining room for lunch and high tea
  • We use My Nursery Pal as an on line, real time diary system to communicate with parents and let you know what your child has been doing in nursery and giving written updates as well as daily photographs.
  • We operate a shared responsibility and no hierarchy in the staff in our rooms so don’t have key workers. We want all staff to have equal responsibility for children in their room whether they attend full time or part time with us.  Some of our staff also job share so its important that all staff develop and establish good relationsships with parents and children.  This is also key for children when they transition to the next room that they aren’t more attached to one member of staff which can be problematic for some chidren when they move rooms.
  • Emphasis on partnership with parents and home through our ‘camera project’ which feeds into our weekly planning and next steps for children
  • We use a digital app to record all childrens milestones, learning and next steps for children in all rooms.
  • Our younger children enjoy as much outdoor time as their routine allows. We have an outdoor covered classroom which we use during wet weather.
  • Only use natural or ‘real life’ toys, objects and loose parts in all rooms in nursery with the exception of some plastic dolls, cars and animals.
  • Staff to child ratio 1:4
  • Most children go through potty training in this room. Our aim is to ensure children feel no pressure whilst learning this new skill and we work closely with parents.
  • Start to follow a more structured routine
  • Circle time
  • Story Time
  • Lots of emphasis on learning through mark making, art, clay, collages through group activities which encourages sharing, turn taking and appreciation of working together to achieve things
  • Nursery Rhymes and songs
  • Outdoor play and games built into daily routine.
  • Use of outdoor classroom during wet weather.
  • Emphasis on partnership with parents and home through our ‘camera project’ which feeds into our weekly planning and next steps for children
  • Use of light boxes, digital microsopes, overhead projectors, data projectors in the play environment to enhance play experiences.
  • We use a digital app to record all childrens milestones, learning and next steps for children in all rooms.
  • Only use natural or ‘real life’ toys, objects and loose parts in all rooms in nursery with the exception of some plastic dolls, cars and animals.
  • We follow a pre school curriculum based on EYFS
  • We do facilitate nursery school drop off and pick ups from local schools
  • Forest time weekly – days are alternated each week and we either visit Antrim Castle Gardens or Cumlin Glen
  • Summer scheme programme during July and August
  • Trips to the Library
  • Focus on learning through mark making, art, clay and group projects.
  • Emphasis on beautiful environment and setting up meaningful and purposeful invitations to play.
  • Meal times are social part of the day. We use dining room for all meals and snacks.  Childrne use propery crockery and we have white linen table cloths at lunch time to show the importance of the social aspect and care taken at meal times.
  • Child led curriculum where we follow the childrens interests.
  • Emphasis on partnership with parents and home through our ‘camera project’ which feeds into our weekly planning and next steps for children
  • Use of light boxes, digital microsopes, overhead projectors, data projectors in the play environment to enhance play experiences.
  • Emphasis on partnership with parents and home through our ‘camera project’ which feeds into our weekly planning and next steps for children
  • We use a digital app to record all childrens milestones, learning and next steps for children in all rooms.
  • Outdoor play at least once a day and we are able to use our outdoor covered classroom during wet weather.
  • Only use natural or ‘real life’ toys, objects and loose parts in all rooms in nursery with the exception of some plastic dolls, cars and animals.
  • Curiosity Room – with traditional music area.

This replaces a traditional sensory room.  The room has soft lighting behind voile curtains. We use light and shadows with shiny and sensory objects.  This has a much more calming effect than bright primary colours and PVC soft play areas.  We also have a small reading area in the room for children.

We also have music corner and piano in this room for dedicated music time.  We only use real (ie non plastic) instruments in this room.

  • Art Atelier – with dough and clay stations.

We place a great emphasis on creating beautiful environments for children as in following the Reggio Emilia ethos the environment is the  third educator.  Each play room has an atelier area but we have an additional room set up as an art studio for larger projects or work in progress!   Children use real artist materials ie. Natural brushes, clay, proper paint as well as lots of loose parts to creat their own masterpieces.

  • Wet Room

We have our own indoor wet room for water and sand play.  The water troughs are all plumbed and at varying heights.  This allows a dedicated area for the children to enjoy sand and water play and more room in our playrooms for other types of play.

  • Dining Room

We have a dining area adjacent to our kitchen for the children to join together to join mealtimes as a social occasion.  We take great care in setting the table and using proper crockery, cutlery and glasses as soon as children no longer use sippy cups.  We use linen table clothes and children serve themselves when they are ready and able to do so.  We have an extensive and healthy menu including

Breakfast – served until 8.30am

Morning snack – light mid morning snack

Lunch followed by pudding

High Tea – mid to late afternoon

 

We serve milk with breakfast and morning snack and water with lunch and high tea.  We can cater for all allergies or specific dietary needs and work with parents to adapt a tailored menu for children in these circumstances.

Children help with setting and clearning the tables as well as putting dishes in the dishwasher from 2 year old room upwards.

 

  • We are surrounded by fields and animals around our nursery in our wonderful rural setting. Dennis the donkey is in the field at the back of our gardens and outdoor play spaces so the groups all take turns to care for and to feed Dennis.  Cows, calves, sheep and lambs live in the field to the side of our nursery and we have a large orchard to the back.  So wonderful playspaces surrounding our setting which is just on the outskirts of Crumlin village en route to the International Airport and Antrim.
  • We have three distinct play areas :-
  • Sensory garden : outdoor classroom, planting stations, water play and water troughs, house tunnel, mud kitchen, real oven, dishwasher, microwave and fridge. We also have a eau de toilette/perfume station, a bug hotel and music wall in this very purposeful play space.
  • Playground : Free play area tarmacked for using trikes, prams and for playground games. We also have an outdoor car play track and a toddlers playhouse on the small garden to the back of this outdoor playspace.
  • Climbing frame and construction playground. We have a large wooden climbing frame swing and slide set.  We have a herb garden which is our dinosaur play area.  We have a fairy garden and a construction area in this playarea.  We also have marking making tables, art tables and an outdoor bench for lunch, snacks or outdoor play.

The development of your child during those early years is so important, and at Sleepy Hollow we firmly believe that ‘good beginnings last a lifetime’.   We offer a wonderful unique brand of childcare at our day nursery based on a Reggio Emilia inspired curriculum whilst also offering a taste of playwork and ‘curiosity’ – we refer to our curriculum brand as Sleepy Hollow Inspired.

Our nursery offers a beautiful environment – after all we see the environment as being the third educator as is stated in the Reggio Emilia ethos. We also use lots of natural materials as you will see and we place great emphasis on process over product in all that we do.  We take our time over projects and you will see lots of photographs and story boards of us actually participating in activities which are often much more meaningful for parents and children.  Of course you will gets lots of finished treasures and pictures over the years for you to cherish too.

Our nurseries offer a friendly and homely environment, with Fresh and Nutritious Meals made at the setting. We enjoy the social aspect of mealtimes and see this as an important part of our day.  We have a dining areas for the children to come together and we ‘set the table’ each day using table clothes, proper crockery and glasses.  Again this fits in beautifully with our Reggio Curriculum in creating beautiful and meaningful spaces for children.  We find the children really enjoy this social aspect of nursery.

Expert trained staff will care for and nurture your child through their stimulating day with us.  When you leave your child at our setting you can have complete peace of mind knowing your child is safe with loving and caring staff; that will treat your child as an individual.

We will keep you informed during the day via My Nursery Pal app. We also use Tapestry as our recording programme for childrens observations and milestones. Other ways of keeping up with what we are doing can be found primarily on our website via newsletters, on facebook, twitter, instragram, snapchat and we even have our own youtube channel.   (see link below for private parent login in section for all sorts of information including our policies and procedures and menus)

 

Awards & Recognition