St Faith's Prep, Ash near Canterbury, Kent
St Faith's Prep, Ash near Canterbury, Kent

Sandcastles Nursery

Sandcastles Nursery is where your child will embark on their very first steps into a world of discovery and learning. Our nursery is divided into three rooms:

Dolphin Room and Turtle Room:

The Dolphin and Turtle Rooms provide a warm and nurturing environment for our two and rising three year olds to explore the world around them. Focus is placed on learning through play; socialising with others, learning to take turns and share whilst engaging in songs, stories, role play and outdoor learning. Emphasis on the three specific areas of Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language are vital at this age and our practitioners ensure that all children are exposed to a wide variety of purposeful activities that support this. Each day our activities are engaging, bringing new challenges, as well as providing familiarity. Active learning and the desire to be involved in new experiences is fostered and encouraged; we motivate children to try new things and enjoy different experiences, both of which support them to feel a sense of pride as well as the ability to keep on trying.

We recognise that our youngest children are really starting to find their feet and often want to feel independent as well as supported. Developing self-help skills such as being toilet trained, finding their own coat or pouring their own drink at snack time is our way of ensuring that each child is starting to prepare themselves with life skills.

Positive interactions and communication ensures that our children’s vocabulary and speech and listening skills are enhanced and encouraged. Conversations that are led by the child but enhanced by practitioners are a great way for children to learn new things. Looking at books, listening to stories, rhyme and rhythm also play an important part in enhancing early Literacy skills and our specialist music sessions provide opportunities to explore sounds, instruments and our voices!

The role play area is full of great opportunities; pots, pans and dressing up assist children to re-enact everyday experiences that are important to them. It may be going on a bus journey and using our early counting and mark making skills to create and hand out tickets, wrapping ourselves up in blankets to experience the life cycle of a butterfly or pretending to be a fireman and investigating the properties of ice and water; this level of play not only allows children to have great fun together but their learning is never ending.

Starfish Room

In the year before your child starts school he or she will take the next steps into the Starfish Room where children are supported to make the transition into Reception through both whole class and small group activities.

Within the Starfish room we continue to foster security, self-confidence, sociability and success. French, music and sport are specialist taught once a week alongside the opportunity to engage in after school hobbies such as ballet or gymnastics.

The early years staff introduce literacy using the Floppy’s Phonics programme; this is a child-centred and very effective approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics. The letters are taught in a specific order (not alphabetically,) which enables children to begin building words once they are comfortable and secure in this learning. Early writing skills are developed further through the use of activities such as Playdough, threading, water and paint brushes, outdoor mark making and opportunities to safely utilise a wide variety of tools and media.

Numeracy is taught through investigate play, games, songs and rhymes. Counting, numeral recognition, problem solving, shape work and the development of mathematical language is all part of our daily routine.

Our children are encouraged to understand more about the world around them by experimenting with technology such as the interactive whiteboard, iPads and cameras. Our ‘themed’ work supports the children to make sense of their surrounding environment and the wider community; these are often child-led and have included exploration of foods and cooking, the changing seasons, the seaside and fairy stories. Our ever changing investigation area provides endless opportunities to independently explore new concepts and further curiousity.

Art and craft is an important part of the curriculum which is used to extend and reinforce ‘themed’ work and to provide opportunities for imaginative self-expression. Paint, glue and mixed media are all part of our daily sessions in the early years, and of course you can never have enough glitter! Language, imagination, ideas and social skills continue to develop in the well-equipped role play area which magically transforms itself into an array of make believe such as Santa’s workshop, a construction site or a fairy tale castle.

Whatever the weather all of our early years children love being outside and every day there are plenty of opportunities to explore, investigate, run, splash, climb, balance and develop a fondness for physical exercise and the great outdoors. All three nursery rooms benefit from a designated outdoor space and we are also lucky enough to utilise the extensive school grounds and outdoor classroom. Both indoor and outdoor areas are planned and designed to give children confidence to explore a larger world; providing challenges within a safe and secure setting.

"My son is so happy here. He attends Sandcastles nursery which I couldn’t recommend highly enough. He is so excited to attend each session and the staff are just amazing." Current parent