We aim to create a caring and stimulating environment in which all children can learn while feeling happy and secure, and to provide a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum which takes into account the individual needs of each child. We follow The Early Years curriculum which recognises the importance of structured play and open ended activities as well as class, group and individual adult led activities. We base our planning on the Development Matters document and the Early Learning Goals which explain the skills that most children are expected to have achieved by the end of the Foundation stage.
Characteristics of Effective learning
Children should develop a range of skills to prepare them for the next step in their learning journey and make a smooth transition into school.
Critical thinking, playing and exploring and active learning are all important parts of children’s early learning. These skills are developed through seven areas of learning that combine to provide a comprehensive learning experience for your child.
The ‘Prime Areas’
The Early Years curriculum recognises the importance of personal, social and emotional development, physical development and speaking and listening skills. These are known as the prime areas.
Personal Social Emotional Development
Children are encouraged to become confident, have strong self-esteem and make positive relationships with peers and adults.
We support your child to be cooperative, independent and enjoy learning; we hope to develop an understanding of what is right and wrong, and that people and the environment should be treated with respect.
Large movements, known as gross motor skills, are developed in the outdoor area. Of equal importance are fine motor skills that are developed through a range of activities such as scissor skills, malleable manipulation, painting, drawing and mark making. Health and well-being are an important part of physical development. Children discuss healthy eating, exercise, rest and play as important factors in positive health.
Speaking and Listening
In order to learn, children have to develop listening skills and be confident to talk about experiences and to ask and answer questions. Children are encouraged to talk throughout the day in all situations, and specific listening activities develop this skill.
The ‘Specific Areas’
The curriculum has four specific areas that are developed throughout the Early Years.
Children will be encouraged to enjoy books, handle them carefully and understand that words have meaning and letters have sounds. Reading skills are taught progressively.
Children’s mark making is valued; from random mark making to letter and word representation and sentence building.
Activities such as sand, water and role play develop children’s understanding of mathematical concepts, language and problem solving. Number resources such as jigsaws, dice, magnetic numbers, lotto and computer games all help develop number knowledge, while blocks, Lego, and construction activities along with shape matching, rhymes and songs develop shape recognition.
Understanding the World
Information and Communication Technology is now an integral part of our world and children are encouraged to access a range of resources to develop their understanding and use of technology. As well as the computers and Interactive Whiteboard the children use talking tins, Bee Bots and pretend mobile phones,
Exploring and experimenting through daily activities such as sand, water and role play helps children to understand and make sense of the world. Exploring the outdoor environment develops understanding of time, the seasons and change over time. Themes such as “celebrations” or “the world and people in it” develop children’s knowledge of their environment, cultures and values. Cooking, playing with ‘gloop’, and sensory materials provide opportunities for learning and developing knowledge and understanding of how the world around us works.
Expressive art and design
Children have daily access to creative art activities such as painting, playdough and cutting and gluing. Imaginative play is developed through role play, small world activities, music and dance. Dressing up clothes and resources are available for children to use to develop their imaginations. Children are encouraged to experiment with musical instruments as well as learning rhymes and songs.
Assessment and observation
Every child is formally observed several times during their first six weeks of settling into Nursery or Reception. This helps us provide activities that are relevant and appropriate to each child’s needs.
Ongoing observations are then made regularly to assess children’s interests and developing skills.
Parents’ consultations are held twice a year and a written report is provided at the end of the summer term in both Nursery and Reception. We are always happy to speak to parents at the end of sessions and throughout the year we have a number of open days and information evenings.
We value the partnership between home and school and this begins with the home visit. We welcome parents and carers in class as helpers as they can prove to be a valuable addition to a session, often enabling extra activities to be undertaken and we always look forward to having parents and carers helping with educational visits.
Each child has a Home School Communication Book with spaces for comments from parents and carers. Each half term we put together a Home Learning Grid with a variety of activities that you and your child can enjoy together. We aim to suggest a range of ideas so that everyone can find something to try together.