Gorillas/Preschool and helping the children get ready for school


Our exciting new preschool is a lively, fun filled hub of the nursery. Located on the second floor and overlooking our fantastic garden, the preschool spans the whole length of the nursery and every inch of this spacious room is maximized to create a truly inspiring environment for the children.

Our Gorilla (3-5) room has been very carefully designed to allow each and every child to get the absolute most out of their time and reach their full potential. The large open plan room is split into zones allocated for each type of play: writing, creative, water, small world, role-play, construction, investigation and listening, quiet time and books and problem solving and numeracy. These areas are in accordance with the EYFS with clearly labelled toys, displays and signs for each zone, enabling children to know exactly where to find their favourite toys and equipment.

Each area of learning is fantastically well resourced at child level with new and exciting toys and activities. Every week the room is beautifully set out to an environment plan which is based on the children’s individual interests and development. A great deal of time and care is taken into making the preschool a continuously stimulating and magical environment for children to play, learn and enjoy time spent there. Of course, it is all about independence too – so the children can always choose, in addition to planned experiences, what to have out.

The preschool structure emphasizes children’s independence and ability to care for themselves and their environment. As such, children help to make their own snack, set up and clear away activities and generally take much more control throughout their daily routine. Of course, this has been a gradual build up throughout the nursery, but in this room, it really does blossom. Everything is at child height so children can use the sinks to pour water and clear away messy play. There are toileting facilities they can use, with or without adult support. They are encouraged to be more aware of waste so the pre-schoolers recycle paper, check taps and lights are off when not in use, doors are closed etc. We help the children to understand and respect their environment and they love the responsibility of making sure that our Eco principles are met.

The preschool has a maximum of 24 children per day, with 4 fantastic staff, exceeding the legal ratio. We do this so that the children can receive 1-1 attention in the lead up to school. We have a qualified preschool teacher [Level 6], two Level 3 practitioners, one of whom is our Senior SENCO representative, and a Level 2 practitioner working towards Level 3. Our very qualified and experienced staff work well together, ensuring the children are inspired and challenged throughout their day at the nursery.

Throughout each day at nursery the emphasis is on free choice, independence and learning through play. With the help of our teacher, we ensure that there are always engaging and challenging activities on offer for all children in keeping with their particular interests. The children take part, with our qualified teacher, in what we call ‘Extended Learning’. The purpose of this is to make sure our children are prepared for school in every possible way. On top of their Development Files, our preschool teacher keeps a separate file telling her exactly where each child is in every aspect of development. She uses this to plan an extended learning activity, 1-1 (or in very small groups if appropriate), for each child every week. Parents are kept informed of what has been done and ideas are given for ways to extend this further at home, or even just repeat the activity if it was enjoyed and/or will be beneficial. This is a great thing for all the children and we ensure that we have enough staff in the preschool for this individual attention for each child. Parents/carers can rest assured that their child is being prepared for the next big step in their lives and the communication lines are open so they know what is happening every step of the way. Extended learning time is ALWAYS made a fun experience as our staff incorporate the children’s current interests and passions.

Twice a day the children are encouraged to join together in the quiet area for a special Group time. These are lovely times where, as well having fun with songs and games, the staff subtly introduce topics based on the world we live in and encourage conversation and sharing. We also learn weekly phonics, numbers, colours, shapes and all sorts of relevant but exciting things in a warm and relaxed group environment. The children are encouraged to sit together, take turns and listen to each other to prepare them for the typical school day routine. There is lots of praise when they do and they quickly become very proud of themselves for being so grown up.

The preschool is saturated with words, letters and numbers. Everything is labelled – chairs, windows, computers, noticeboards – literally everything! Though we do this throughout the nursery, it is more prevalent here as they are learning to recognise and write letters. As they progress, many of the pre-schoolers leave the nursery able to recognise their names and simple words, linking them to objects and places in their environment.

They self register in the preschool. They have their own pictures (made into astronaughts) that they take off when they arrive and put onto the registration board.

The preschool is all about warmly supporting the children to become independent. The group size is purposefully larger than the other groups as they will soon be entering a class of probably 30 and we want them to be prepared.

We have had many comments from families who have left stating that their children were really comfortable with the transition from nursery to school because of the attention given to the move by Young Friends nursery. We make sure they are fully prepared and excited by school in all aspects of their development – both social and academic. We do this through activities and experiences but also from contact with the schools that the children will attend. Once we find out where they are going we get in touch and recieve pictures of reception classes, teachers etc. Sometimes teachers have come to visit us or we have taken the children to the schools. This Christmas we are going to watch a play at a local school. All these things get them comfortable with their future environments, and even if it is not their school – to school environment which we think is very important. Schools can be scary places for little people and we want to make it as enjoyable and exciting as possible for them.

Before the actual transition our children are given a very detailed and comprehensive report. This is used as information for their new school in order to make sure they can be welcomed and greeted by teachers that know who they are, what they can do and what their interests are.

Gorilla Routine


8:00-9:45 9:45-10.00 10.00-10:30 10:30-11:10 11.10-11:50 11:50-12.00
Children arrive to Free play and Breakfast in Gorilla room Group time split into younger and older groups for differentiation Snack time altogether Group is split into half in garden and half focused activities inside Group swaps round and other half either outside or focused activity inside Story time and prepare for lunch
12:00-12:30 12:30-12:40 12:40-1:00 1:00-2.20 2.20-2:30 2:30-3.00
Lunch Time altogether Wash hands and faces/toilet time Quiet Time for everyone Either sleep or rest or garden time, depending on child Wake up time and back inside for those in garden
one to one teaching time
Show and Tell Time:
Praise tree, star of the day and game to recap the phonic of day
3:00-3:30 3:30-4:00 4:00-4.40 4.40-5:00 5:00-5:45 5:45-6:00
Afternoon Snack time Garden Time Hometime for some and free play for the rest Tea time Quiet structured activities Pick up time and closing duties

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