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Snugboro Playschool has been providing a quality child-centred, inclusive playschool experience since 1999. In partnership with parents our mission is to offer a service where children can be happy, confident, independent and curious learners. The service offers a play-based curriculum which is shaped by Aistear - The Early Childhood Curriculum Framework and Siolta - The National Quality Frame-work for Early Childhood Education and activities are both child and adult-led. We recognise that in order to pursue a continuous quality improvement to our service that on going professional development of staff is important. For example, one staff member has recently completed FETAC 6 in Equality and Diversity and this has led to a full Equality and Diversity audit of our service. This is evidenced, for example, in our comprehensive family wall. We promote a love of the outdoors and the importance of physical exercise. Our rural location offers the children a rare opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, smells and textures of a natural environ-ment.
One of the most positive aspects of Snugboro Playschool is our substantial indoor space where the children can display their gymnastic, running and dancing skills. We felt, however, that our outdoor facilities, although large, needed upgrading. We applied for funding in 2013 under the Capital Funding Scheme announced by Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Department of Children and Youth Affairs and were delighted to learn that our application for funding to develop a natural outdoor space was successful. We believe in the holistic approach to child development and feel outdoor activity plays a crucial role in the overall well being and learning of the child.
Our outdoor area has been greatly enhanced by the addition of the following features:-A large sand and water feature which is soothing, sensory and tactile and affords our children the opportunity for open-ended and messy play.
• The inclusion of a tunnel using recycled tyres as well as a large climbing frame offers challenge, risk, adventure and a sense of accomplishment. The climbing frame also doubles up as a but which encourages imaginary and role play and is a castle etc. In this way the children incor porate the environment into their play in a way that is meaningful to them and reflects their Identity and Belonging.
• The pebbled area with its wooden logs and balancing beam offers the children the opportunity to develop co-ordination and balance
• The raised wooden planting boxes inform children how to grow vegetable and plants and the impor tance of caring for what we grow. It connects the children to nature by exploring and thinking about the environment.
Literacy and Numeracy Skills
In line with the Department of Education and Skills 2012-2020 Literacy and Numeracy Strategy another important aspect of our playschool is the emphasis we place on our approach in supporting parents in the further development of their children's pre-literacy, including oral language, and pre- numeracy skills. Children are visual learners and we pride our-selves on our setting being visually stimulating for the children. To that end we have posters, pictures and words displayed all around the setting as well as having a rich array of books both fiction and non-fic-tion in our library. Story time develops their listen-ing and concentration skills. We regularly update our library resources and have now included our equality and diversity approach when selecting books.
Children's oral language is enhanced through drama where we also introduce children to non-verbal com-munication such as mime and sign language. Drama increases a child's confidence and his/her overall sense of well being. We encourage a knowledge of sound, repetition and pattern through the medium of music, song and rhyme. Development of numeracy skills are through the early mathematical concepts of matching, shape, pattern, classifying, difference, comparing. Each child in the setting has a 'Doodle Book' to develop their pre-writing skills and their words are transcribed into our 'Learning Story' Book all of which are accessible to parents.