Healthy Lives At George Perkins Day Nursery
We take a holistic view of children’s development; creating an awareness that their cognitive development doesn’t happen in isolation from their physical growth and well-being and our mission is to help build healthy, happy and hope-full lives. Staff have been trained and upskilled to support the children, families and themselves in making healthy lifestyle choices and it is a thread that weaves through all that we do.
We incorporate the CMO’s guidance on 180 minutes of moderate physical activity each day and build into that our twice daily ‘exercise times’ which contribute to the 60 minutes of high intensity physical activity. Each Key Person takes responsibility for the wellbeing of their Key Children and supports them at meal and snack times to make healthy choices, using the Startwell characters such as 2 Snack Max, and Micky Me Size as role models, encouraging toothbrushing with Minty the Monkey and involving them in a range of physical activities. We have linked with a local dentist to help us promote oral health, recognising how this contributes to overall health and wellbeing. We have had workshops for parents on oral health and helped them understand the amounts of sugar contained in popular foods aimed at children and also offered support around ‘bin the bottle’ and successful weaning.
Each week one Key Group of older children prepares a tea time meal for all the children in nursery; they choose a healthy recipe and ‘write’ their shopping list, collect money to buy ingredients and walk to the local supermarket to get them. This is a great opportunity to talk about healthy food choices. Back at nursery they prepare the meal, learning skills for life such as using a sharp knife and how to weigh, measure and mix ingredients.
We are already taking our initiative beyond nursery and have linked with the Lenches Residential Home. Groups of children visit the residents and engage in their activity sessions such as quoits and carpet skittles. The children have taught the residents some great activity songs too! They, in return, are coming to nursery to help with our planting. We have 3 fabulous growing beds where the children grow a variety of fruit and veg, ranging from shallots to strawberries, but the highlight is harvesting the kiwi fruits and grapes from the vines.
Since last year we have had a focus on emotional health. We used some EYPP funding to work with an Educational Psychologist to deepen our understanding of children’s need for attachment and attuned interaction. From this we went on to learn about emotion coaching and how this is such a beneficial way to support children’s emotional regulation, their behaviour and sense of self-worth. We are so vested in this as being the right way to engage with children that we recently held a parents’ workshop on emotion coaching led by the Educational Psychologist; parents were so enthusiastic that we are looking for more ways to support them with this.