Most children progress from the Toddler unit up to the preschool, although some enter straight into the preschool. Our staff carefully support and manage the children's transition into Pre-school.
Our basic hours are Sunday to Thursday, from 7:30am until 4:30pm, with the option of a 5:30 finish. Fridays from 8am until 1pm is also optional and is joint with our children from the baby, Toddler and Kindergarten units. Click here to see the full details, including prices. Our dedicated staff are early years trained and provide a 1:5 ratio, with additional staff available when required, such as during settling-in or transition periods.
First and foremost, we build our routines and approach around the children we have in the nursery, this means we are flexible and we do things differently the children's needs. Our planning is based around following the children's interests and planning for their next steps following on from our observations. Children learn through play, when they are able to explore and make meaning for themselves, this means that we value children’s free and uninterrupted play over everything. No child is forced to do anything at Rainbow. We wont interrupt children’s own play, in order to ask them to do something ‘we want’ them to do (for example; join another activity, do some singing, even to come and eat). These ideas have their root in democratic education. Children have ‘free run’ of our facilities, equipment, resources and space. The children flow inside and outside freely and as they wish, and even the very youngest children learn that they can pull out anything we have whenever they want! The spaces is theirs, not ours, we are here to facilitate their play, support their learning and provide a rich environment through which they can learn and develop. Our ethos, is not to ‘control’ what and when the children do things. That said, there is a structure and routine, but its fluid and flexible.
By the time children reach us in the pre-school, most children sleep for one to two hours after their lunch and some don't sleep at all! We are flexible, and support parents wishes, we don't 'force' our routines!. We transform one of our play rooms with small beds for each child. We facilitate sleeping by settling each child in their own sleep area (either a basket or mattress as you prefer) and sit with them whilst they sleep. There are a range of quieter activities for the children to do who don't sleep, and sometimes the older children go with our practitioners to a local play park whilst the others are sleeping.
We have structured eating times, throughout the day. However, these can be flexible for example if a child is not ready for snack because they are engrossed in play, or a child comes late and misses breakfast, or for whatever other reason, then in the Rainbow spirit, we are flexible and accommodating, we set food aside, or prepare some extra when we need to. We’re all about meeting the children’s needs.
Our usual food times are as follows:
7:30 - Breakfast (optional... if children bring things in, or are eating when they coming into the nursery)
11:30 – Lunch
2:15 - Afternoon snack
For children who stay late, we provide a dinner at 4:45
Toileting and nappies
Many of the children at preschool are already using the toilet, or are transitioning out of nappies and onto the potty or toilet. Our staff are well trained, and very experienced in supporting these toileting transitions, and we work with parents and children to move at your pace and follow your toileting preferences. Many of our parents are first-time parents, and haven't yet experienced the joys (and horrors) of supporting children out of nappies! We have done it hundreds of times... and we are here to help you!
When children first transition out of nappies, we have regular set times, where we take them to toilet, or to sit on the potty. However, as they get more experienced at self-toileting and become confident without nappies, they soon start to recognise when they need to go, and our job is to get them there - on time!
For children who still use nappies, we of course change nappies whenever the children need us to, if their nappies are very heavy, or if they have had a bowel movement. However, roughly every three hours, we have a set time, when we change all the nappies to make sure that they are always feeling comfortable and fresh. This is built into our daily routine.
We have a number of different ‘zoned’ areas in the nursery, which provide specific surfaces for play; these include mats, rugs, tables, shelves, the water tray and includes both inside and outside spaces. Each day we provide a planned ‘resource’ for each zoned area. These are changed TWICE a day where we provide a different planned resource in each space according to our weekly environment plan. Children can of course, put away (or indicate to us to) what we put out, and take anything else out that they wish. In addition to these ‘zoned’ areas, there are a number of other play spaces, with the same things that are offered each day (to provide continuity in the environment for the children). The zoned areas provide a rich and planned environment to support children’s learning and development, and reflect the seven areas of across the Early Years Foundation Stage. Staff interact with children whilst they use the zoned areas and support their play and provide a ‘scaffolding’ approach where necessary, staff are also trained to leave children to explore and play on their own, without unnecessary adult intervention, when this is what’s needed!
We have 4 focused activities each day, which are ‘adult led’. These are ‘offerings’ to the children, and whilst we encourage each child to join at some point, we never interrupt their own play to bring them into the activity, nor do we force them. The focused activities are delivered in such a way that they are adapted, so that all the children can access the activity is a way and level suitable to their own age and stage of development. These activities cover all areas of the early years foundation stage, over a monthly period. We also provide some focused activities each week, which are heavily targeted toward specific children and age groups to focus on a developmental area or skill.
In addition to the focused activities, which can be very varied in their content, we have a number of ‘routine’ adult led elements to the day, which happen in the same way on a daily basis.
Self registration – children are encouraged with the support of the staff to find their own name and picture on the board and move it to the “I’m Here” side to show that they have arrived.
Circle time – There are two circle times each day, one in Hebrew and one in English. The morning circle time provides an opportunity to sing our ‘good morning’ song and welcome each child to the setting. We also complete the date and weather board each morning at this time with the children.
Song sessions – of course we sing all day long! We have music playing (not all day, but for part of it), however, we have two set sessions per day specifically dedicated to songs and rhymes (one in Hebrew and one in English).
Story time - in both English and Hebrew. These are two set times each day, dedicated to reading and telling strories! (We do of course read to children on a 1:1 basis or in groups or pairs, whenever they want us to!).
We need to have some timings in place to help us with our routine, but these times are flexible, and can change according to what’s happening with the children each day. The zoned areas and fixed play activities are available all day, in addition to the carefully planned and focused adult initiated activities we provide.
Many children leave pre-school and head over to the statutory state provision (Gan Irya) and others head over to our Kindergarten unit - which is designed for older children. Our staff will discuss during the year with you which will be the best move for your child, and make appropriate arrangements to support you with the transition process.