Weaning and meal times:
At the Mulberry Bush the quality of food provided to children is of utmost importance. This starts with their very first experiences of solid food. All of our meals are freshly prepared in our kitchen using the very best ingredients. Please click on our Healthy Choices section for further information.
In Blueberries the babies are seated in low level seats for meal times, in small, sociable groups. Their meals are adapted to their stage of development.
Blueberries: 3 Months to 1 Year (approximately)
The Blueberries is a calm, intimate and welcoming space specifically designed for our very smallest babies, offering them a gentle start to life at the Mulberry Bush. With a minimum ratio of one adult to every three babies, there is always lots of support for each child whatever their needs. We invest in specifically selected toys and facilities that are ideal for encouraging the children of this age group to develop physically, mentally and socially. The spaces are designed with lots of natural light throughout. There are huge windows between the rooms not only allowing the natural day light to spread throughout the rooms but also to encourage and support a sense of openness throughout. There are 3 rooms for the under 2's (Blueberries and Strawberries) as well as their own sleep room and sensory room. This means that we are able to provide a range of activities and environments at all times enabling us to adapt the spaces to the children's different needs and interests.
Blueberries growing and developing:
We are constantly supporting the children in all areas of development. Working with the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (EYFS) we plan our space and activities accordingly. This includes laying down the foundations for effective communication and language by encouraging and modelling good language skills and enriching our environment with language wherever possible. We read stories and encourage even very small babies to share books with us. Physical development is a primary focus for the Blueberries as they start to become mobile. The children need and enjoy physical challenges so we invested in a range of excellent products to provide the children with different textures and levels to climb, crawl and toddle on. We help encourage and support them as they start to learn to crawl, stand and then to walk.
Blueberries in the garden:
The Blueberries and Strawberries have their own garden space, accessed directly from their rooms, specifically designed for even the smallest children so that they can have plenty of fresh air and their own outdoor experience in safety, even when the more mobile children are out at play. The babies garden is partially sheltered meaning they can have outdoor access whatever the weather. The outdoor space is full of interesting challenges for the children and they are encouraged to be confident to access this area independently during periods of free flow play. Of course the Blueberries are not restricted to this space and are encouraged to use the larger garden area whenever they would like, but here they have a space all to themselves.
Blueberries in the sensory room:
Another important resource for the Blueberries is the sensory room. The babies love the different sounds, sights and sensations that the sensory room presents to them and because we are lucky enough to have a dedicated sensory room for each age group the facilities are specifically designed to meet their interests and needs.
Blueberries transition to Strawberries:
The Blueberries and Strawberries have separate spaces but often combine the groups at appropriate times of the day. It is very important that the younger babies are given access to the older children and vice versa. The little babies emulate the older children and the older learn to be gentle and kind to the younger children. It is a vital part of their social development. It also means that the babies are used to mixing with the older children and being in the Strawberries environment. This makes their process of transition between the age groups as smooth and stress free as possible. The transition between Blueberries and Strawberries takes place at approximately 1 year but, as with all other elements of their care, it is very much dependent on each child’s needs and is something that will be discussed with you as the time approaches. We will not move a child on until they are absolutely ready to do so.
Settling In and the Key Person System:
We know that leaving your precious baby for the first time can be an anxious time. It is important for us to help you and your child to feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible throughout. We achieve this through a settling in process guided by your child’s key person. Please see our Inductions and Key Person section to learn more about this process.
The Blueberries and Strawberries have their own peaceful sleep room. This has air conditioning for the summer months. The staff keep a constant eye on the babies as they rest with very regular, recorded, checks and a sleep monitor. We provide fresh linen daily for each child although you are welcome to supplement that with any individual sleeping items, sleeping bags, comforters etc that are helpful for your child.