A typical day at Torphins Playgroup will involve lots of free-play with a huge variety of resources, a circle-time where we will sing songs and share our ideas and opinions, regular participation in music and movement games, preparing and eating a health snack, going outside in the garden for some outdoor fun and then finishing up the session with an altogether storytime. The themes we make our educational plans around tend to be led by the children’s ideas and interests so nothing is set in stone and we only plan a week or so ahead.
Curriculum for Excellence
At Torphins Playgroup, when planning our activities and providing experiences for the children, we follow the guidelines set out in the Scottish Government’s education policy documents Curriculum for Excellence and Pre-Birth to Three.
The children will arrive at 9.15, say goodbye to you after they have settled in, and are then free to explore what’s on offer to them that day. Once everyone has arrived we will have circle time so that everyone knows who’s in that day and what exciting things we have in store for them to do or help with. It’s also the time to share our ‘news’ and very likely sing some songs. The children can then disperse again to the room of their choice to do whatever it is they decide to do.
In the ‘big’ room we generally have an “Imaginative Play” area that will vary according to the theme we are running with at the time. It may be a home corner, an igloo, a tent in the forest, a castle, a shop, a boat… the list is endless! We will also have a variety of construction toys available so that the children can improve their manual dexterity and get involved in problem solving. There is a puzzle table in here too which will help teach them about patterns, shapes, numbers, size, and colours. Daily craft will be available in here where the children will have free access to all our craft materials and so can express themselves freely as they develop their fine motor skills and aesthetic senses.
Our ‘middle’ room is where the children can get messy! There are plenty of aprons at hand so they can play with sand, water, snow, compost, rice etc without a care in the world! With these activities the children will be learning about concepts like volume, texture, the way things move, float or sink. They are also given the chance to manipulate play doh, run their hands through “gloop”, shaving foam or cold spaghetti thus experiencing sensory play to develop all areas of their senses. It also challenges their linguistic skills and usually makes them feel very calm and relaxed. Paint is available in this room to which is renowned for being very popular. They can get as creative as they like with these resources and there are no limits to where it will take their imaginations!
In the ‘back’ room we have a listening corner set up with a CD player so that the children can listen to stories on CD with earphones. There is also a snuggly sofa next to a bright array of frequently changing books if some quiet time is what they are after. The room contains the computer too and a 2nd large craft table and resources.
The children are offered a healthy snack every day whilst they are at playgroup. They will learn how to wash their hands properly, to help prepare snack, to pour their own drinks and to clear up after themselves. Good manners and socialising are all encouraged and promoted though out every session, however the snack experience will allow them to practise these skills and build their confidence in a small group situation.
Most days we will explore the garden outside and get some fresh air at the same time. Our amazing garden has a wendy house, a digging patch, swing and slide set, a vegetable plot and a wild area. We also have a variety of bikes and balls we can bring out which only adds to the fun! When the weather is kind we may choose to extend our water play out doors ……. or whatever else take the children’s fancy!
The highlight for many of the children is our mud-kitchen. They enjoy acting out their own small scenarios and have even been heard inviting each other back for tea! However, if your child is more into digging than cooking, then we have a very special area of the garden set aside for that too with spades and ride-on diggers.
We plant our own flowers and vegetables too (we have been winners at the Torphins Agricultural Show!) and recycle our waste into the compost bin. Recently, we have watched frog-spawn develop into frogs and spent a lot of time searching the garden for bugs and beasties. Who knew there were so many things living in OUR garden!
Around midday, the children will settle down to enjoy a packed lunch which will be provided from home and stored responsibly in our kitchen fridge. As with snack time, the children will again be encouraged to socialise and to chat together and to discuss and share their thoughts on the foods they have brought with them that day. They will also have the opportunity to keep practising those all so important life long skills such as feeding themselves independently, making choices and decisions for themselves and being responsible for their own personal hygiene through handwashing etc.
At the end of the session we will have a story time with the children and will re-cap on what they have done that day. When you pick your child up at 12.45pm they will be invariably happy although probably a little tired from all of their hard work at playgroup. They may not be quite as clean as when they arrived either so we will apologise for this in advance! However, they will have had a fabulous time ‘playing’ with their friends but will have actually been learning important life-long skills without even realising it! Learning though play is where it all begins…..but it’s where they will take it that excites us most!