One of the key principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage is that children need an enabling environment in which to thrive. At Little Caterpillars we have worked really hard to make the physical environment one which the children enjoy spending time in and have opportunities to develop skills in all seven areas of learning and development. We live in a modest 3 bedroomed semi-detached house in a community area of Doncaster but we are confident that we provide a high quality environment and this is borne out by the outcomes that the children in our care achieve.
A key area of concern for many childminders is how 'nurseryified' their setting should be and that somehow if your setting looks and feels like a home then it is of an inferior quality to a nursery. I did away with the laminated sheets stuck up all round the walls a long time ago and have made a deliberate attempt to keep the setting as natural and homely as possible.
We must get over the misconception that private nurseries and school based nurseries offer something different than childminders do. We all follow the EYFS and therefore all work towards the same goals for children. The number and ages of children that we care for may differ, the building from which we practice may differ and of course, across all settings the quality of the teaching and learning will differ but fundamentally we are all Early Years Practitioners with a unique offering.
'Unique' is the key word here and it is important that we all bring something different in order to accommodate the uniqueness of each child and their family. I am happy to share our environment and why we have created it in this way but it is not something that could be or should be emulated elsewhere. Use your knowledge and understanding of the Early Years to guide you but remain true to the ethos of your own setting, your own values and the children and families that you work with.