About The Ark
The Ark is much more than just a childminding setting. We are very lucky to have the opportunity to use our local church halls (Timperley Methodist Church, Cheshire) to extend our children’s experiences. We have access to the halls for 4 mornings each term time week where The Ark Team run two early year sessions; The Ark Toddler Group and The Ark Play Group.
The Ark Toddler Group
The Ark Toddler Group is a well-established group that has been running for many years. It is open on Monday’s and Thursday 9:45-11:30am. Janice and I volunteered to run the group when our children attended in 2004 and have continued ever since. The group offers children an environment based on free play with a variety of different resources. There are regular craft activities, sensory activities, story-telling and song and movement time. It provides our childminded children with the opportunity to socialise, learn to share and follow a simple routine. It promotes independence and supports all areas of children’s learning and development. The children have a real sense of ‘ownership’ of the group and become confident and able explorers. The group is also a great opportunity for sharing good practice between fellow professionals and we have regular helpers who bring different ideas and crafts to the group.
The Ark Play Group
The Ark Play Group is open on Wednesday’s and Friday’s 10:05am-12:00pm. It was established by Sally and Janice in 2006. The group is aimed at children aged 2 years and over, although all The Ark childminded children also have the opportunity to attend (regardless of age). The children who have started at the Play Group from an earlier age (as young as 9months) have all become effective and confident learners who thrive from the setting and routine.
At play group the children begin to have more structure incorporated into their learning journey. Children have the opportunity to work in small groups and try new activities. The session is based on a more detailed educational approach with a mixture of free play using specific relevant and developmentally appropriate resources. The session runs for 1hour and 55minuites and follows a routine which has structured adult led activities such as ‘carpet time’ ‘discussion time’ and ‘snack time’. During the adult led times we teach the children about all aspects of keeping themselves safe such as with road safety, stranger danger, fire safety and much more. We incorporate early mathematics and phonics during the sessions as we begin to prepare the children for their next steps in learning.
The children are encouraged to explore their creativity in a way which is often more about the process rather than the outcome (so don’t expect your child to come home with a perfectly presented piece of art from Play Group, it is usually a splodge or splatter and often ‘nothing at all’ as the process has been tried, tested and discarded during the session!) We use lots of small group activities to promote a sense of ‘working together’ and explore endless opportunities for sensory play using our tuff trays. This group helps the children to become independent, self-assured and confident learners.
Click below to read what renowned Early Years Consultant; Alistair Bryce-Clegg from ABC Does says about The Ark
The Ark Childminding Children attending The Ark Groups
All early years child minded children within our care have the opportunity to attend all sessions. Parents are invited to come and visit the groups to see what their children will be involved in and many of our childminding parents have come to play group or toddle group as helpers in their own time! We feel the opportunities and experiences the children get from these groups are invaluable to their education. The groups give structure, routine and focus to the day and enable us as early year’s educators to set aside time each day to work closely with the children in a large space with access to lovely resources and equipment.
Find out more about The Ark Groups
We do a ‘daily report’ on the sessions for parents to see what activities their children have experienced and also to share good practice with fellow professionals. You can follow The Ark Play Group and The Ark Toddle Group sessions on our Facebook page by clicking on the link below.
Please note: Outside of The Ark Childminding, all Toddle Group and Play Group places are allocated via a waiting list system.
For more information please email