Routines are an important part of the day for babies and very young children, and they can also be a source of learning, which is just as important as their exploration and investigation of play equipment and planned learning opportunities. Personal physical care routines which are necessary for young children who cannot yet take care of themselves, such as changing, cleaning, dressing and feeding provide comfort and reassurance for young children are a valuable learning opportunity. Also, daily routines such as arrival and leaving times, meals and snacks, rest or sleep times support young children’s understanding of what happens next, and reassures them and builds on their confidence.
Each each day will have its own unique flow. There will be periods of high energetic activity, such as a trip to the park, beach or music and movement, followed by periods of more sedate learning; creative work, one to one time, problem solving or story-time. The day is planned to ensure that the children are engaged and engrossed in learning and play that will inspire them, and ensure they are progressing towards their developmental milestones as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
When planning the day, play & learning experiences, the EYFS states that ‘practitioners must reflect on the different ways children learn, and then reflect these in their practice. It outlines three characteristics of effective teaching and learning’:
- Playing and exploring: children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
- Active learning: children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
- Creating and thinking critically: children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
So, whether one of the children comes in interested about fish because their granddad went fishing, we might go to the fishmonger, buy some fish & read stories about fish. Or a child is showing interest with the level crossing at the station they pass on their way to our setting, we may then incorporate trains and transport into our day by building cardboard trains, going on a train trip, and basing our learning for the day or week on the child’s interests. Most importantly, through working together with you, the parent (and primary educator) we will build upon your child’s interests to ensure your child’s learning and developmental needs are met.