Our overarching aim in Early Years is to instil a love of learning with enthusiastic, motivated, happy and engaged learners who accept challenges, are able to cope with making mistakes and have high aspirations. Our continuous provision and adults offer a knowledge-rich, vocabulary driven, skills-based learning environment which is enhanced and adult led/linked to enable all children to achieve. The curriculum and learning environment is ever evolving and adjusted to reflect the needs of our children, their interests and next steps in learning so that all children can
‘Live life in all its fullness.’(John 10:10)
Learning and Development
Our practice and pedagogy is research-driven and we have taken elements from early years educational pioneers such as Maria Montessori (curiosity and open ended resources), Reggio approach (seeing the environment as the third teacher) and Steiner (holistic, hands-on sensory learning) and used what works for our children in a modern day approach. Our teaching and learning is empowering, nurturing and offers hands-on learning where children are independent, accessing open ended, authentic resources and are confident and engaged learners. We offer a balance of child and adult initiated play which is responsive to the children and their developing needs and we value play as a vehicle for learning. High quality, skills based continuous provision provides a mastery approach to learning where children can rehearse, practice and embed new learning and our provision is enhanced to link to the children’s next steps and interests.
In the Nursery, our recently revamped learning environment offers distinct areas reflecting the seven areas of learning and the children have ownership over the class, access high quality resources and learn new skills and knowledge in a safe, familiar, stimulating and inspiring learning environment. The Nursery outdoor area offers a hill for the children to climb, roll, crawl up enabling them to develop their overall body strength. The addition of a wooden castle, mud kitchen, crates, planks, water play, large sandpit and wooden boat encourages imaginary, creative, collaborative and language play where the children share many adventures. The Nursery children also have a weekly session in the gym hall using the soft play and climbing apparatus enabling opportunities for climbing, crawling, sliding, balancing, rolling and tummy time. Early literacy skills are taught through stories, songs, rhymes and environmental sounds and stories are an important and daily part of nursery life. Children are also immersed in language evolving from back and forth conversations, children’s interests, stories and topics. Our adults are skilled in scaffolding, facilitating and extending children’s language and share life and its adventures together both in indoor and outdoor play and share magical adventures in our forest schools area. The children also enjoy weekly P.E. sessions climbing, crawling, sliding, balancing, rolling and exploring the large apparatus and soft play equipment.
In Reception, children have access to open-ended, authentic resources and the continuous provision allows new skills to be learnt. Targeted, key, rich vocabulary is planned for and modelled by all adults and the children’s acquisition of new vocabulary is promoted through stories, rhymes, songs, historical events, experiences and planned visits and visitors to the class. The small world, domestic area, workshop and block play areas are places in the class that are rich in conversations and creative and critical thinking. Adults share thinking and carefully question the children to extend their knowledge, make links and embed new vocabulary. Milk and snack time is also a lovely time for conversations and having recently introduced real china tea pots and tea cups, children relish in the sense of importance and worth.
Our early reading and phonics is taught through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds scheme of work and children are exposed to cultural diversity through high quality chosen books and texts. Maths is taught through the Power Maths scheme of work which supports the acquisition of the five principles of counting, 1:1, stable order, cardinality, abstraction and order irrelevance and composition and subitising. Over the course of the year, enrichment opportunities through visits and visitors are planned to expand on our children’s life experiences. Our children have enjoyed visits to the local library, learnt fire safety with the fire fighters, understand the importance of oral hygiene from the local dentists, sponsored a guide dog, learnt basic first aid and were wowed at the circus. Children enjoy two P.E. sessions each week focusing on their gymnastics, dance and games skills and weekly forest school sessions provide experiences of climbing, rope swings, den building, nature art, hot chocolate and cookies and the chance to be at one with nature, exploring the world hands on, whatever the weather. Our organic garden offers digging, planting and an understanding of plant growth and our enclosed outdoor area, provides a safe place where children can be themselves, try out new skills on the rope swings, persevere to reach the top of the climbing wall, play collaboratively and imaginatively in the role play castle.