Tots Room: 2 – 3 years
Tots Room is a wonderful, stimulating environment in which we really see our Explorers thrive; they have a growing sense of self and the surrounding world, they know what they want and begin to explore and express this more. No two days are ever the same!
The Learning Environment: Inside
Divided into two distinct activity zones, Tots Room is an engaging environment in which our Explorers can continue to develop their understanding of self and the world around them.
In one half of the room, we have our story corner where we complete morning and afternoon registration, a well-stocked construction and small world area, and a cosy sleep space where our Tots can relax and rest.
In the second half of the room, we have a messy tray, which changes daily to encourage children to explore different sensory experiences and promote imaginary play. Beside this, we also have a creative station that is stocked with a range of open-ended resources: paint, chalk, playdough, junk modelling and loose parts. The creative station allows our Tots to express themselves, developing mark-making skills, fine and gross motor skills, whilst also providing an opportunity to use a rich range of vocabulary as children explore their ideas and create.
In this section of the room, we have a snack table where we encourage a rolling-snack and self-service to foster independence. We always keep a careful eye on our Tots, but we find that providing children with an opportunity to explore their independence then leads to so many more developments. We see our Tots helping one another, developing those vital social skills and building relationships; we see determination and perseverance as containers and cartons are opened and closed; and we see the huge impact that a feeling of achievement can have as our Tots show us what they can do!
The Learning Environment: Outside
As with all of the rooms at Explorers, Tots spend a significant amount of time each day in their dedicated garden. Here, children have access to a mud kitchen, mud pit, water station, sand pit, and a large easel for painting. There is a music wall that contains a range of items with which they can experiment to make different sounds.
Whilst outside we encourage risky play, providing planks and crates that not only challenge our children to work together as a team to build the most fantastic constructions and obstacle courses, but that also aid the development of balance and coordination.
NEW for 2022! We will be introducing a Tots Workshop to our outdoor environment! A new hut will house construction tools and resources to further challenge our children and spark their curiosity and imagination.
The Hidden Curriculum
In Tots, we have both morning and afternoon registration, a routine that begins to prepare children for the transition to Preschool. Registration time is a favourite amongst Tots and we pack a lot into it! After singing our Good Morning song, we practise our sign of the week using Makaton, read our story of the week and finish with the song bag.
As in all rooms at Explorers, we believe in an ‘in-the-moment’ approach to learning and development. Our skilled practitioners carry lanyards that detail each of our Tots’ targets, which enables us to integrate the relevant aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework into their play.
Prior to making the transition to Preschool, children in Tots begin to participate in group time, which helps prepare them for the move. During this time, we introduce a focused activity that is designed to promote speech, attention duration, interaction and confidence.
Beyond the Curriculum
In Tots, we are always looking for new and exciting ways to extend the range of experiences children have with us. We currently offer:
- Cookery lessons: recently, our cookery group have made scones, cakes and onion bhajis! Cooking with children is a great way to integrate literacy and numeracy skills, develop routines, and practise fine motor skills.
- Tots Adventures: each week a group of selected children are taken off-site to go on an exciting trip! Tots Adventures was originally set up with the intention of closing gaps and building cultural capital. Here’s just a selection of the places we have visited:
- Tynemouth Aquarium
- Hamsterley Forest
- The local library
- A fire station
- A soft play venue
- A swimming pool
- A local supermarket