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The Windmill Preschool

Bolford Street Hall, Thaxted, CM6 2PY

"The quality of teaching is very good ... Children clearly enjoy learning through play, eagerly choosing what they wish to do from the varied range of resources offered."

OFSTED, 2014

01371 831457 (session times only)

Routine and activities

The sessions are split into periods of:

 

● free play, which encourages children to get along with their peers, develop skills in playing co-operatively, to share and to make their own choices

large group activities, when the children learn to sit when appropriate and listen, i.e. register time, circle times and story time, and to join in with group activities or games

small group activities, when children are invited to take part in adult-led activities (often with their own key person), in a quiet place, where they can listen and contribute their ideas and thoughts without distractions or interruptions.

 

At midmorning a snack is made available (see below). A range of physical activities are offered.  Children love accessing our outdoor play area, with our fantastic range of equipment, allowing us to offer all learning opportunities outside. The morning ends with singing and a story.   When children stay until 2.00pm, we take the children to the Windmill or nearby field. On Fridays we often visit Clarance House gardens, or occasionally the library, or even a wander around the Church.

 

Activities

A broad range of activities are offered, both indoors and outdoors, covering all aspects of the curriculum. Sessions may also be planned loosely around a theme or topic. Children’s interests are monitored, and activities offered accordingly. These are some of the activities on offer for children to freely access:

Playdough: helps develop imaginative play and builds hand strength. Cutters, rolling pins, tools and other objects of interest such as number or letter stamps.

Puzzles: a wide range of puzzles are available, varying in difficulty, to promote hand-eye co-ordination and dexterity.

Mark-making: coloured pens, wax crayons, chalks, whiteboards, blackboards, pencils, objects to draw around, stencils, a range of paper and colouring sheets.

Floor toys: children love the train sets, cars, duplo, fire engine and doll's house.

Library: children select their own books to look at, learning how a book works and to handle books carefully.  A range of fact or fiction books.

Painting activities: palette paints, bottle paints, painting with different objects (potatoes, shapes, feathers, etc). Children are often encouraged to express themselves without intervention from an adult so the work becomes their own masterpiece.

Creative area: this might be creating collages from a range of textured items, junk modelling or simply letting glue drip onto paper. Also supervised scissor work. Helps develop fine motor control as well as imaginative creation.

Role-play area: helps develop imaginative play based on real experiences: could be a kitchen area, a restaurant, doctors, vets, puppets, dressing up, or just big boxes or dens to play in which could become a car or boat.

Outside play area: children can play with our fantastic sand/mud kitchen, water play, zooming cars and balls down the wall mounted guttering system, musical instruments, cars, the Wendy house, table top and floor activities, etc etc.

Physical play: allows children to develop gross motor skills, become aware of their bodies, and let off steam!  This could be music & movement, ball play, tri-cycles, climbing frame, obstacle course.

Other activities that may be on offer: investigating flubber, shaving foam or clay, baking/cooking, co-operative sculpture, exploring the "science box", accessing games and age-appropriate activities on the laptops.

 

Snack 

Children access snack when they wish, and are encouraged by an adult if they need help. They can choose from a range of healthy foods - toast, crackers, wholemeal bread, fruit, vegetables and cheese. This snack is provided free of charge. Children are encouraged to wash hands, self-register, safely spread and pour their own drinks (milk or water) independently, to develop self-help skills.

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