FENNIES BLOG

For Parents

Kerri Savage

Kerri Savage

Oxted Nursery Manager

A day at Fennies

fennies nursery and preschool Walton interior

Fennies is a world of adventure just waiting to be explored! No two days are alike, one day the children can be inspired by a family trip to Cornwall, using their imagination to bring seaside activities to life or be inspired by a butterfly that they’ve found in the garden. 

Kerri Savage, our Oxted manager gives us a little peek inside the flow of a day inside a Fennies nursery. 

We’re often asked “what’s a typical day at Fennies is like?” and if you have a small child yourself, you’ll know that each day keeps you on your toes and with a nursery full of children it’s no different. The children inspire our days, we let them take the lead with their learning and what may interest them at any particular time. Although we focus on child-led learning, we do keep many elements of your child’s day consistent to create a sense of routine during their time at nursery. 

Early Club 7:00-7:45am

We add flexibility where possible for our parents and our early club is a great example of this. Running from 7 am – 7:45 am children ease into the day with some quieter activates. We tend to fill this time with storytime or small group activities or even some much-loved one to one time between your child and their key person. These types of activities are known to help children build strong bonds with staff members and their peers in a more relaxed environment.  

Drop off 7:45am

At 7:45 the real fun begins, drop off time! Our team do their best to welcome each parent making themselves available to answer any questions or listen to any information you may have about your child that might bnecessary for the day aheadWe know that this point of the day can sometimes be a bit overwhelming for parent and child so we do our best to ensure a smooth hand over and use this opportunity to check in with our parents   

When the children arrive in their room, we encourage them to register themselves, depending on their age, this can include them finding picture of themselves or writing their name on a board. This creates an element of consistency each morning and improves their independence skills.   

child eating breakfast at nursery

Breakfast- From 7:45am

Now for the best part of the morning…Breakfast! Our Chefs prepare breakfast fresh each morning and we offer a selection of delicious cereals, fruit and toast. In all our rooms, breakfast is set up and ready for children as they walk through the door, however, there are also engaging learning activities ready to go giving them the freedom to choose whether they would like to eat or play.

Our rolling breakfast structure means that once your child decideto eat, it’s already available. By allowing them to have this choice, they can develop their independence and self-care routines from an early age which supports a positive attitude towards food for the rest of their lives.  

Morning activities- 9.00am

Our practitioners create innovative learning activities that stem from the children’s existing interests, these are set up the day before ready for the morning. Recently some of the children at my nursery had visited a farm at the weekend with their families which sparked lots of conversation the following week, about animals and how they live. The next day, the practitioners set up a sensory tray including straw, soil and toy animals so that they could explore this interest further. 

Similarly, the preschool room has been fascinated by plants and flowers in their gardens at home, so our practitioners decided to plant some sunflowers with the children in our growing beds at the nursery. This allowed the children to learn about the process of planting and what sunflowers need to grow healthy and strong 

outdoor nursery mud kitchen

At Fennies, we always follow the children’s interests to challenge and stretch their learning whether these interests last for an hour, a day, or a month. This is because when children’s learning is centered around something they are already intrigued by, they are more motivated to engage and interact for longer periods of time, therefore, creating more learning opportunities.

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As well as activities based around interests, we have continuous provisions set up in each room which embeds a level of consistency, these areas include a role play area, loose part stations, and play dough activities. These are then adapted in line with children’s learning goals, interests or even the seasons. Recently at Oxted, we had some children who recently welcomed new younger siblings so we added dolls to the role play area so that they could practice washing and caring for them. 

Lunchtime 11:30 am

Not only are all our dishes prepared fresh daily by our on-site Chefs, but our menus are also created in collaboration with Registered Nutritionists. Also, as part of our partnership with the EYNP (Early Years Nutrition Partnership), we make sure that all mealtime routines support a positive relationship with food. This includes serving balanced freshly prepared meals within a routine which will then set children up for a positive relationship with food. We encourage our Creators and Inventors children to get involved by serving themselves at lunchtimes, this includes unwrapping and chopping their own food to support school readiness.   

Our practitioners and Lunchtime Assistants speak to the children about where their food comes from so that they develop a positive relationship towards food. Many of our Chefs also love growing their own fruit and vegetables with the children and children often have the opportunity to see their food from planting, preparing to plate! 

chef and child growing vegetables at Horley nursery

Nap or Quiet time -12:30pm

After lunch, it’s nap timeTo prepare for this, we introduce quiet time activities bringing down the energy in the room to create a peaceful and calm space. We play classical music and white noise, introduce sensory lighting and comforters from home. We work closely with each parent to mirror children’s home nap time routines, to ensure a relaxing sleep. 

Discover the Fennies Sensory Experience

For those children who don’t usually nap, they are able to take part in quiet time activities such as storytime and small group activities in the garden. Practitioners often use this time to check in and talk about their current emotions and ask how they are feeling that day. 

Afternoon Snack- 1:30pm

All that napping is hungry work! At this time, children are offered a small snack such as fruit, humous and pitta or vegetable sticks to give them an energy boost for a fun-filled afternoon. 

Afternoon Activities- 1:30pm onwards

Garden Time

Children have the opportunity to play outside every single day and we use this as a time to expand on their indoor learning, making it bigger and more exciting. For example, recently, some of the children have been interested in markmaking so we replicated this on a larger scale with a big sheet of paper laid out in the garden and let the children’s imaginations run wild! Outdoor learning is a great time where we can build connections that encourage their next learning goals based on what they already enjoy.

outdoor garden at Eltham nursery

It’s important that the children have access to the outdoors throughout the day, which is why many of our rooms offer free flow access. This gives children the independence to choose where they want to be. Not to mention the health benefits of going outside; it refreshes their minds, offers an energetic outlet, it’s important for physical development. 

Sports Sessions

The Preschool children will receive PE lessons from our Sports Coaches that are specifically designed to introduce children to a variety of different sports, help support their physical, emotional and social development and lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle.

Recently our PE coaches Anthony and Nasim have been creating some exciting activities to keep our children active with an obstacle course inspired by the book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ and some football sessions. 

Our football sessions focus on turn taking, dribbling, stopping the ball and shooting. We also had fun with the children experimenting with being goalkeepers trying to save their friends’ shots. This is good not only for physical development, but socially too with elements of turn taking, communication and language and co-ordination and motor skills. The bear hunt relied on the children's wonderful imagination. We read the book together and the children were faced by different obstacles, such as hurdles for the “stumble trip” forest, tall cones for the “long wavy grass” and water trays for the muddy puddles. Again this focussed on communication and language, maths, and physical development (moving in different ways and negotiating spaces). The children love running away from the bear who was one of their friends!

child kicking football at walton nursery

Language Lessons

Our Linguistics Coaches visit our nurseries weekly to deliver French and Spanish lessons. Learning a second language under the age of 5 is incredibly beneficial and our coaches use catchy rhyming, songs, and exciting stories to help build on children’s learning. 

“Language is the basis and foundation for our children’s learning and development, it underpins children’s ability to communicate their needs and emotions, develop listening and understanding and build relationships. It is also the basis for literacy skills; therefore, it is vital that we provide a language rich environment for the children in our settings.”

Ruth Mottram, Education Advisor Tweet
French teacher holding puppet at nursery

Our extracurricular sessions aren’t just limited to preschool children, both our Sports and Language Coaches share their lessons with our Nursery Managers, who then adapt their lesson plans for younger children within the nursery to enjoy.

No matter what’s going on, every day I make sure that the management team are present in the nursery rooms throughout the day. Not only do we complete audits to ensure that staff planning is effective, but this is a great opportunity for me to speak to staff about the activities taking place and suggest my own ideas to make sure our practitioners are constantly improving and inspiring children’s educational success.  

child with fennies rucksack and bottle

Collection Time- 6:00pm

Parents have the freedom to collect children from the nursery at whatever time suits them best, but this is typically around 6 pm.   When your child is collected, their key person will share a ‘wow moment’ of the day. This can be anything from their child making a new friend, counting to 10 or even taking their first step. We also take a moment to check in with our parents and ask how their day went. 

Late Club until 7pm

For children who join our late club, we make sure lots of calming activities are available to prepare them for their nighttime routine at home. This can include quiet story times, soothing sensory trays and some simple one on one time with their key person.  

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