Squirrels – Approximately 26-36 months

AHN - CandidKids-80

Squirrels are based over two inside rooms, a terrace and have free flow access to the outdoor environment via a staircase. By the time children reach the Squirrel rooms they are typically learning through lots of active play and spend a lot of time problem solving and learning about the world around them.

The Squirrels have an array of open ended resources available to them within their environments, the day offers a morning and afternoon session of free flow play where adults spread across the space, playing with the children to support and teach them. The children pause their free flow for lunch / sleep and tea times but otherwise each day is very different depending on the children’s interests and ambitions. Squirrels have access to the outdoor environment nearly 100% of their play time which is incredibly important with this age group.

Squirrel children’s language is developing rapidly and many begin to put sentences together. Children learn from conversations with other children and adults. New ideas, new things, past, present and future are all concepts that they begin to explore. Self-help and independence in eating, toileting and dressing emerges with support from caring adults.

As Squirrels generally join us as terrific two year old’s, the children and adults spend a lot of time using conflict resolution (or sometimes called problem solving steps). There are 6 steps to conflict resolution that we use for conflicts between children, we also use these steps for helping children to identify emotions and creating solutions to problems. The conflict resolution steps are designed to teach the children problem solving skills that they can then use themselves in the future. We use the conflict resolution steps with all aged children but these skills really tend to develop within the Squirrels.

Developing physical skills mean that children are usually able to walk, run, climb and play with other children experimenting with equipment and participating in active play. Squirrel staff spend a lot of their time facilitating risky play within the environments, helping children to learn key risk assessing skills. The environments provide opportunities for physical and risky play both indoors and outdoors. We aim for 180 minutes per day of physical activity which is the UK Chief Medical Officers guidance for under 5’s.