What we do
We believe that children are born ready and programmed to learn given the right support through their environment and the adults around them. Young children learn through play, practicing the skills they will need to be a part of the society in which they live. We use a system of ‘in the moment planning’ which allows children the agency to decide what they want to do and use today, with skilled practitioners suggesting possible inspiration, resources, challenges, and support for your child and finding the most appropriate opportunities to teach them. These steps are all done ‘in the moment’ using our knowledge of the child and taking our ideas from them.
The Early Years Foundation Stage underpins everything that we do. The 7 areas of learning and development within the EYFS are:
The prime areas of Communication and language, Physical development & Personal, social, and emotional development, which form the essential foundations for healthy development and future learning.
Once a solid start has formed within the prime areas we continue to build upon these skills, opening to explore more learning opportunities within
The specific areas of Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the world and Expressive arts and design.
These 7 areas are the basis for our curriculum. We give careful consideration to our enabling environments (indoors and outdoors), to provide resources, activities and learning opportunities to meet each child’s unique requirements. Our curriculum is very flexible and responsive to children’s interests and gives children the opportunity to experience new things, building on the experiences they have outside of pre-school.
This flexibility also allows us to take advantage of spontaneous learning opportunities that sometimes come out of the blue, such as when it snows, etc!
Activities available during our sessions
We have a wide range of resources available, both indoors and outside, for children to self select during all our sessions. Both areas are available for children to access freely during their session (with the exception of meal times, when we remain indoors)
Our resources evolve slowly, based around the needs of the group. This allows children to get used to what is available, allowing them the time to fully explore the resources and use them in ever increasingly imaginative ways, often returning to a previous activity to add a new element to their play. Children are available to move resources around the setting for example taking loose parts to combine with the playdough, or a clipboard to their construction to make signs or labels.
We always have:
Sand, water (and other pour-able materials) to encourage co-operation, sharing and imaginative play, give opportunities for chatting. Encourage mark making and strengthen fingers and hands ready for writing. They encourage children to experiment with the changing properties of substances, for example when wet or dry and develop understanding of mathematical concepts.
Our creative area provides equipment and opportunity for painting, writing, craft and woodwork to allow children to choose and experiment with resources and materials to write, paint and construct. We have wood, paper, boxes (and other materials), tape and glue to support the development of imagination, planning and the physical skills needed for construction along with allowing for experimentation with colours and textures.
Playdough and malleable play to develop co-operation and sharing skills, fine muscle control and language. Supports the learning of shapes, colours, imagination and creativity.
Toys with buttons, flaps and cogs, along with real life or replica items to develop children's knowledge of different types of technology and how to use them. We use programmable toys and those with remote controls to explore cause and effect or programming. We have setting tablets which the children can use (with an adult), to take pictures or look up information about something that interests them to extend their play.
Exploration area with magnets, sand, liquid and digital timers, magnifying glasses, binoculars and other lenses, mirrors, bug viewers and information books on subjects such as insects, animals, our world and space. These resources allow children to explore their world and find out about the things they can't see. There are also jigsaws, mathematical equipment such as scales and weights and loose parts to develop all aspects of numeracy and problem solving.
Our role play area has a kitchen, book case and dressing up, along with other props such as puppets and dolls. These items promote imaginative role play, which supports social skills, cooperation sharing and taking turns. In this area there is also a range of stories and factual books with comfy cushions to sit and read or be read to.
Small world and construction play equipment includes a range of figures (including people, animals and fairy tale characters), vehicles and props, along with a wide variety of construction materials to extend the imagination, develop small muscles and encourage playing together while developing language, hand to eye co-ordination and muscle control.
We use a wide range of physical equipment to develop fine and gross motor skills. Large physical equipment includes climbing frames, slides, tunnels, balance bars and wobble boards, balls and hoops, large construction blocks, tyres, trolleys, cars, skates, scooters and bikes which all help to develop co-operation and sharing skills as well as balance and strength. Running, jumping and dancing (often with music or ribbons) also develops muscle strength, increases confidence and improves health. Smaller physical equipment to develop find motor control includes tweezers, containers for opening and closing, filling and emptying, tools for working with malleable materials and mark making.
We aim to follow the child in their learning as much as possible. We listen to children during their time here and are continually adding to our repertoire of activities following suggestions and ideas from children. If they want to give it a go, we're usually willing to try!
Adult led activities:
While the vast majority of our session is child led, we have some different types of adult led activities, both in small and larger groups. At the end of each session, we hold several group activities, for children to choose between. These cover a huge range of activities and subjects, sometimes a musical activity or a listening or physical game. We usually have a story or a discussion around some props to support understanding of subjects such as emotional literacy or friendships. We may act out a story, authored by a child and scribed with an adult or do an activity like the surprise box.
During our sessions, we often spontaneously come together in a group to play physical games such as parachute games, or organised games such as egg and spoon races or hide and seek. During some sessions we may also have a bucket activity, which is led by an adult on a particular chosen subject to meet the needs of the group.
Breakfast Club 08:30-09:15
We serve a healthy breakfast of savoury cereals, fruit and toast with savoury spreads, with milk or water to drink. Children are free to choose from the breakfast options available, or to forego breakfast, if they have already eaten. Our usual range of resources are available for free play, table and floor based activities and children are are able to play with whatever they choose, interacting with each other and the adults in the setting in their play.
Morning Session 09:15-12:15
When children come into the setting for the session, we ask them to self register with their name, before supporting them to put their own belongings onto their peg. Children are then free to choose what they would like to use, from the table and floor based resources available. Throughout the session, children are are able to play with whatever they choose, inside or outside, interacting with each other and the adults in the setting in their play. During this time the adults will use their knowledge of the children to appropriately interact with them. This interaction can take many forms such as suggesting ideas, explaining concepts, encouraging or supporting them physically. These interactions support children to extend their learning and develop skills. For some of the session, a snack will be available and children are encouraged and supported to self select something healthy to eat and drink.
Towards the end of the session, we tidy up together, then have group time before the end of the session, either in the reading room, or in a smaller group in the hall. This group time may be musical, singing songs or dancing, verbal where we talk about things we've seen, or heard or based around a story, often with props, puppets or other resources.
For those who are going home, towards the end of the group time, children are supported to find their own peg and get their belongings, helped where needed to put on their coats and taken outside to meet their parents at the gate.
Afternoon Session 12:15pm - 3:15pm
At the beginning of our afternoon session, those children arriving, come into the setting for the session, self register with their name, and putting their own belongings onto their peg. We then all wash our hands and sit together for lunch. Children are supported to get their own packed lunches out and choose somewhere to sit, for this sociable meal time. Several practitioners join the children eating, while others are available to offer physical support children such as by opening packets or containers.
Our afternoon session is very similar to the morning session with the exception of starting with lunch and forgoing snack time. Throughout the session, children are are able to play with whatever they choose, inside or outside, interacting with each other and the adults in the setting in their play. During this time the adults will use their knowledge of the children to appropriately interact with them. This interaction can take many forms such as suggesting ideas, explaining concepts, encouraging or supporting them physically. These interactions support children to extend their learning and develop skills.
Again, towards the end of the session, we tidy up together, then have group time together. This group time varies greatly, it may be musical, singing songs or dancing, verbal where we talk about things we've seen, or heard, We usually have a story, often with props, puppets or other resources or we may act out a story that has been written by a child during the session.
When it is time to go home, children are supported to find their own peg and get their belongings, helped where needed to put on their coats and taken outside to meet their parents at the gate.