The Den

Welcome to The Den! Here we would like to explain a bit about The Den: the staff and room, our key themes, and some of the activities and experiences you can look forward to over the coming year.

The Den is a learning suite which has been developed this year in response to our nursery and reception children with specific learning needs. The children in The Den benefit from a high staff:child ratio, and have a structured routine in place to help them feel settled throughout the day. The staff consists of the Teacher – Kahla - and three other dedicated, highly trained Practitioners and Support Workers: Ammarah, Sarah and Naila.

Consistency is very important to help children settle and feel safe. Because of this we follow the same routine every day.  At 9 o’clock every morning, the children will get ready for an hour outside at the Forest School area. We have our morning snack at 10am the children are then taken to their Attention Autism group time, which covers curriculum topics such as Maths, Literacy, Phonics and PSED. At the end of this session the children go back to the Den for provision-based learning time. 

Our learning each term is based on the children’s individual weekly targets, and provision is adapted to fit the interests and needs of our children.  We do follow the same topics as our other learning suites, but this can look very different in The Den as we strive to cater to sensory and communication needs first and foremost.

Autumn 1 

This is the time of year when lots of new children may start at Nursery or move to The Den from other rooms. The theme for Autumn 1 is “Amazing Me” and our core stories are, ‘Goat goes to Playgroup’, ‘Owl Babies’ and ‘My World, Your World’.

In Autumn 1 we spend a lot of time helping children to settle into school and learn the routines. We focus on lots of activities to help your child build relationships with staff and other children in the room.

Autumn 2

During Autumn 2 our theme is ‘Transport’. Lots of children enjoy playing with cars and other small world vehicles and so we feel exploring this interest helps to encourage our children to engage within group times. During Autumn 2 we look at lots of different vehicles and ways our body can travel. Our core stories are, ‘Travelling By’, ‘Naughty Bus’, ‘Handa’s Surprise’ and then just before Christmas we explore ‘Dear Santa’.

In Autumn 2 our children are now more aware of the routine and expectations at Nursery. This term we spend a lot of time encouraging independence and nurturing confidence.

We also have many exciting events. Autumn 2 starts with a bang with our very own Bonfire Night, we invite all parents to bring their children to watch our firework display and provide food and drink. At the end of term we also have a special visit from Santa! 

Spring 1

Our main theme for Spring 1 is ‘Nursery Rhymes.’ We encourage all children to sing and sign along to well known songs and rhymes. The rhymes we focus on are, ‘Humpty Dumpty’, ‘1,2,3,4,5, Once I caught a fish alive’, ‘Incey Wincey Spider’, ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ and ‘The Wheels on the Bus’.

During Spring 1 we also start to look at living things and life cycles. We are very lucky to watch, in person, the process of eggs turning into ducklings. This is a great occasion for children to learn how and why we care for other living things. The children find this fascinating, and it creates lots of learning opportunities. This is a very memorable experience for both the children and staff.

Spring 2

Following on from Spring 1 we dive deeper into looking at living things. Our main theme for this term is ‘Minibeasts’. Our main texts for this half term include, ‘Tip Tap went the Crab’, ‘Driving my Tractor’, ‘Dear Zoo’, ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ and ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’.

Children thoroughly enjoy exploring ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and to further help children to understand the process each suite has their very own caterpillars to watch the process from caterpillar to chrysalis to beautiful butterfly. We then allow the children to set our butterflies free! 

Summer 1

As summer arrives, we start to look at ‘Traditional Tales’. The key stories we focus on include, ‘The Three Little Pigs’, ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’, ‘Goldilocks’ and ‘The Gingerbread Man’.

At Canterbury we like to offer our children extraordinary experiences. During Summer 1 we immerse ourselves with farm animals as the farm comes to visit us for a day! Children can meet and touch various farm animals, which really encourages their communication. At the end of term we also offer our children a visit from the ice-cream van.