Tag Archive for: preschool

New & Improved Dining at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham, Lancs.

New & Improved Dining at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham

Recent months have seen some positive new changes at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, which will improve the lives and experiences of children at the setting. One such change is the implementation of a new, self-contained dining room, designed specifically to recreate the feel of family mealtimes. Today’s post explains how we went about it, what form the new dining room takes and, most importantly, how this new space will benefit the children under our care. We also cover our approach to the children’s food menu, which has been updated as part of our Healthy Child Programme. Let us know if you have any feedback!

The New Great Oaks Dining Room

Attractive William Morris-style wallpaper was hung on a ‘feature’ wall.To make way for the new children’s dining room, an existing room at the setting was repurposed and totally revamped. Starting in Summer 2023, the contents of the existing room were sorted and relocated where needed, leaving a wonderful new space to use as the new ‘Great Oaks’ dining room. Walls, ceilings and skirting boards were prepared and freshened up with new paint. Attractive William Morris-style wallpaper was also hung on a ‘feature’ wall. Large canvas wall images were displayed to form interesting focal points and storage was added in the form of a large cabinet and a small cupboard. Large and small dining room tables and chairs were added for the different age groups along with high chairs, which will be close at hand whenever needed. All this sits on a durable floor with an attractive wood finish. All in all, the outcome is a pleasant home-from-home for children.

How the New Dining Room will Benefit Children

This new ‘Great Oaks’ dining room has been designed to benefit children in several specific ways…

  • The new dining space is designed to recreate family meals at home.As well as simply being a pleasant and highly functional place for children and staff to eat and drink, the new space is designed to recreate family meals at home. Eating meals here with peers and childcare practitioners will have a cosy, homely, feel, rather like being part of an extended family. The space lends itself to a convivial atmosphere where children can recharge and relax as well as eat and drink.
  • It’s a distraction-free environment too. When combined with the relaxed atmosphere, this allows free-flowing conversations and interactions to take place. Children can then discuss things like their interests, what they’ve been doing at home, what they have enjoyed at nursery, and so on.
  • This opens up natural communication pathways between our children and practitioners, allowing staff to learn much more about each child’s likes, dislikes, areas of challenge, model language, and so on. By discovering such feedback, practitioners are then able to follow each child’s lead and build appropriate content, resources and activities into their learning environment and bespoke learning plan.

The Menu Board

  • Our chalk menu board communicates which delicious meal combinations our in-house chef has lined up for the week.Another area of focus for one of the walls is the new chalk menu board. This is an attractive feature and one that communicates which delicious meal combinations our in-house chef has lined up for the week. Our practitioners talk children through the menu board each day to spark both interest and conversations with them. As well as being a great way to let them know what food to expect, the chalkboard menu is also another opportunity for little ones to begin to link letters to words and ultimately to real-life things that they’ll encounter.

The Menu Itself

  • Our talented in-house chef Kim ensures children receive healthy, nutritious, and balanced meals.As part of our Healthy Child Programme, our menus were thoughtfully reviewed back in the summer of 2023. Through Kim, our talented in-house chef, children receive delicious, home-made meals, which are freshly made with high-quality ingredients. Kim ensures children receive a healthy and nutritious balance between meat, fish, vegetables and pulses.

Our Approach to Serving

  • To encourage and continually promote independence, Chef Kim serves components of the meals separately. This gives the children the opportunity to choose and, for older children, self-serve how much they would like of each type of food. This is approached in an age- and stage-appropriate way. Our older Seedlings, for example, will be supported in holding the large serving spoon and the portioning out of their meals. For children from the Little Acorns Room, the serving bowl is passed around the table with nursery practitioners supporting children if they need help.
  • Small details such as the cupboards, mirror and wallpaper make the new space feel like a home-from-home.As well as promoting independence, this approach also encourages useful feedback from children in respect of any likes, dislikes or opinions that they may have about each meal.

Self-Care

  • We have also implemented a face washing station for the children. As well as promoting good hygiene, this encourages their development within the area of self-care, helps the children develop enhanced gross motor skills, and allows the children’s confidence to grow when faced with such new challenges.

Menu Examples

The menu at Little Acorns Nursery rotates on a 4-week basis. Here’s what’s on offer this term (Spring 2024):

  • Mixed Mediterranean vegetable pasta
  • Vegetable chilli with tortilla chips
  • Mac ‘n’ broccoli cheese
  • Spaghetti Bolognaise with garlic bread

All in all, the new dining experience at Little Acorns Nursery has been a huge success and it’s not just about how homely the newly refurbished room is. By allowing the children the freedom to serve themselves, we have noticed children are promoting good manners themselves, taking turns nicely, cooperating beautifully, and even helping other children who may require extra support. Above all, though, we have found that our children are now eating more at meal times — and that’s a wonderful outcome!

Little Acorns Nursery School, Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. Little Acorns is a wonderful nursery and preschool located in Padiham, Lancashire, also serving nearby families from Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. If you’d like your baby, toddler or preschooler to have the very best start in life, do get in touch to explore the possibility of them attending Little Acorns Nursery. We’ll make them feel right at home from the start and help to bring out the best in them. By helping them become the best version of themselves during their time with us, they’ll eventually leave us suitably prepared for school — and ready to thrive!

Get in touch today to discuss a nursery/preschool place for your child, arrange a guided tour of the setting, or ask any questions. We’re here to help and cannot wait to meet you and your little one!

World's Biggest Garden Wildlife Survey – & Children Can Play Their Part

The World's Biggest Garden Wildlife Survey – & Children Can Play Their Part

The Big Garden Birdwatch is organised by the RSPB each year.Children, adults, and whole families are gearing up to take part in the world’s biggest garden wildlife survey in early 2024. Organised by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), the Big Garden Birdwatch requires just one hour of your time during late January 2024. It’s free, hugely worthwhile, and will benefit nature, conservation, and children themselves. So, why not set a date for your diary and take part? Today’s post explains how to enrol, what to do, and how it will benefit all parties involved.

Why The Big Garden Birdwatch is So Important

Song thrushes have declined by 80% since the survey began.The Big Garden Birdwatch is designed to keep tabs on wild bird populations in the UK. It’s a survey that’s been undertaken across the UK every year since 1979 and allows the RSPB and conservationists to monitor whether any bird species are under threat. Sadly, survey findings in recent years have found this to be the case, with overall bird populations having declined by a staggering 38 million in the last 60 years. Song thrushes alone, for example, have declined by 80% and even the UK’s most populous bird species, House Sparrows, have declined by 57% since the survey began.

By continuing with the survey each year, insights will be gained as to whether populations are growing or shrinking over time. Only by watching such trends can conservationists decide what needs to be done to help reverse any decline and help birds thrive once again. Declines in bird populations may even be an indicator of wider problems within nature, for example, because of chemical use in crop farming or even  inappropriate Government environmental policy. So, this is important and every one of us can easily play our part.

More Reasons for Families & Children to Take Part

This activity is a great way to get children outdoors, close to nature, and to introduce them to the concept of nature conservation.The Big Garden Birdwatch is also a great way to get children outdoors, close to nature, and to introduce them to the concept of nature conservation. By taking part, children can contribute to bird conservation as well as directly benefit in a number of ways themselves. For example, they can learn to identify different types of birds, educate themselves about these wild creatures and the natural environment, enjoy the fresh air while escaping from electronic screens, and enjoy all the many benefits that nature holds for children. Nature and the Great Outdoors are hugely beneficial to children, whether physically, spiritually, cognitively, educationally, or simply in terms of improving overall well-being. Nature benefits children in an incredible number of ways and we’ll write a separate, in-depth post about it in the future.

How to Enrol in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2024

Once enrolled, you'll then be sent a free guide with visual reference of the birds to look out for during your survey.Enrolling your child or family into 2024’s Big Garden Birdwatch is easy and free. Simply register here and you’ll then be sent a free guide including visual reference of the birds you may see during your survey. Whether you receive a digital guide or a printed one will depend on your preferences selected when signing up. The guide will tell you/your child exactly what to do, but we also give you a brief flavour below.

How to Take Part in the Big Garden Birdwatch Survey

In brief, here’s what you, your child, or your family will need to do sometime during the period starting on Friday the 26th of January 2024 and ending on Sunday the 28th:

  1. Keep a tally of the maximum number of birds of each species that have actually landed at any one time on your survey patch.Decide on a natural spot where you’ll undertake your hour’s birdwatch. Your garden, local park or even a balcony will do fine.
  2. Taking care to stay unseen and unheard by visiting birds, keep a tally of the maximum number of birds of each species that have actually landed at any one time on your survey patch during the hour. Don’t count any that haven’t landed.
  3. Between the 26th of January and no later than the 18th of February 2024, you can report your findings online at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
    Alternatively, if you are using the physical survey form from the RSPB’s printed guide, post it to FREEPOST RSPB BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH by the 13th of February 2024.

By contributing to this crucial conservation project, children will be doing their bit for our little feathered friends – and the planet. What’s more, it’s great fun!

Learn more about how to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch survey here.

If your children enjoy the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, encourage them to download our free poster that identifies 40 different species.Enjoying Birdwatching?

If you find that your children enjoy the activity, please encourage them to download our own Bird Identifier poster, which features 40 British birds that they can look out for during the year. It’s free and more information about our free bird poster is available here.

Nature & Children Go Hand-in-Hand at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. We love nature at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham! Here, children can play outdoors in our wonderful garden, which features its own wild area, planting area and even a mud kitchen. We know how good nature and the outdoors are for children, particularly in their early years, so actively encourage them to take part and benefit from everything they offer.

To enrol your baby, toddler or preschooler at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, please get in touch using an option below. We look forward to receiving your call, nursery application, message or tour request whenever you’re ready.

We are a high-quality nursery and preschool in Padiham, Lancashire, BB12. As such, we may also suit families who require outstanding childcare services near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. We support various free childcare schemes too, making childcare services more affordable for eligible families.