Children start to learn about the world around them from the moment they are born. The care and education provided by Collingham and District Pre-School helps children to continue this by providing all of the children with interesting activities that are right for their age and stage of development. Play is essential to all children as the medium through which they learn and develop. Within a structured framework there is opportunity for free play as well as planned activities that encourage and stimulate the children to further their development and their joy of learning.
The curriculum that we provide is set out in a document published by the Department of Education and is called The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. The Foundation Stage is a period of education and learning for the 3-5 age group preparing them for the National Curriculum, which begins in Year 1 at primary school. The guidance divides children’s learning and development into 3 prime areas:
For each area, the guidance sets our “Early Learning Goals”. These goals state what it is expected that children will know and be able to do by the end of the reception year of their education. For each Early Learning Goal, the guidance sets out development matters, which describe the stages through which children are likely to pass as they move to achievement of the goal. Collingham and District Pre-School uses the “Early Learning Goals” and their stepping stones to help staff trace each child’s progress and to enable them to provide the right programme of activities and the most suitable resources to help all of the children move towards achievement of the early learning goals.
PERSONAL, SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Children are supported, within a nurturing environment, to develop confidence, autonomy and self-respect. They are encouraged to work and concentrate independently and also to take part in the life of the group, sharing and co-operating with other children and adults. Through activities, conversation and practical example, they learn acceptable ways to express their own feelings and to have respect for the feelings of others. All children are given the opportunity, as appropriate, to take responsibility for themselves and also for the group, its members and its property.
COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGE
As a prime area of learning and development, Communication and Language is split into three aspects: 1) Listening and Attention - Children are encouraged to listen carefully and respond to others in a range of situations, including listening to stories, during conversations and discussions, while playing games and during focussed activities. 2) Understanding - Children’s understanding is assessed through their response to adults and other children and future activities are planned for individual children in order to develop their language and communication skills. 3) Speaking - Staff interact carefully with children to ensure that their conversation, ideas and feelings are valued. They make sure that there are plenty of opportunities for children to talk and communicate with adults and each other, both one to one and in small and large groups. All the above aspects are supported by a language rich environment, which includes a well stocked book corner, puppets, role-play areas, topic tables and displays. Topic threads allow us to introduce new vocabulary and develop vocabulary associated with enquiry and questioning.
Outdoor activities contribute towards children’s health, their physical development and their knowledge of the world around them. The children have the opportunity – and are encouraged – to take part in outdoor child-chosen and adult-led activities, as well as those provided in the indoor playroom. A range of equipment and opportunities, both in and outdoors, allow children to develop confidence and enjoyment in the use and development of their own body skills. They have opportunities for practising the large movements they can make with their arms, legs and bodies so that they can run, jump, hop, skip, roll. climb, balance and lift.
A very high level of adult supervision enables children to safely create and meet physical challenges, developing increasing skill and control in moving, climbing and balancing. At the same time, children are helped to develop the fine motor skills they will need to use tools,including pens and pencils, and to handle small objects with increasing control and precision. They are also encouraged to develop awareness of their own bodies and of what keeps them healthy.
UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD
We make good use of our local environment to help children explore the natural world, learn about people and places and become familiar with their immediate surroundings. Children are assisted in exploring and understanding their environment both within the group and also in the wider community. They learn to respect other people and expect to be respected themselves. A safe and stimulating environment allows children to observe and experiment with a range of natural and manufactured materials. They learn to recognise differences, patterns and similarities, and to share and discuss their findings. A range of safe and well maintained equipment enables children to extend their technological understanding, using simple tools and techniques as appropriate to achieve their intentions and to solve problems.
Children are helped to understand that written symbols carry meaning, to be aware of the purposes of writing and, when they are ready, to use drawn and written symbols for themselves. Opportunities are provided for mark making and writing during role play and other activities. Fun activities and games help to develop phonic awareness.
By means of adult-supported and child initiated practical experiences children become familiar with the sorting, matching, ordering, sequencing and counting activities that form the basis for early mathematics. As they use their developing mathematical understanding to solve practical problems, children are assisted to learn and use the vocabulary of mathematics, identifying objects by shape, position, size, volume and number. Songs, games and picture books help children become aware of number sequences and, when they are ready, to use simple mathematical operations such as adding.
EXPRESSIVE ARTS & DESIGN
Children are encouraged to use a wide range of resources in order to express their own ideas and feelings and to construct their individual response to experiences in two and three dimensions. Art equipment, including paint, glue, crayons and pencils as well as natural and discarded resources, provide for open-ended exploration of colour, shape and texture and the development of skills in painting, drawing and collage. Children join in with and respond to music and stories and there are many opportunities for imaginative role play, both individually and as part of a group.
ACTIVITIES & RESOURCES
To meet the Early Learning Goals we provide a range of stimulating and enjoyable activities and resources. Sometimes the children decide independently how they will use the activity or resource and at other times an adult may take the lead. Activities and resources include:
RECORDS OF PROGRESS
The pre-school keeps a record of progress for each child. Staff and parents working together on their children’s records of achievement is one of the ways in which the pre-school and parents work in partnership. Your child’s record of achievement helps us to celebrate together his/her achievements and to work together to provide what your child needs for his/her well-being and to make progress. Your child’s key person will work with you to keep this record. To do this you and she/he will collect information about your child’s needs, activities, interests and achievements. This information will enable the key person to identify your child’s stage of progress. You and the key person will then decide on how to help your child to move on to the next stage. Each key person keeps records of their children’s achievements and areas for development and progress, based on continuous observation by all staff members. These records are readily available for you to read and form the basis for regular informal discussions about your child’s progress. These records are linked to the 7 areas of learning as set by government (see section on curriculum). These records are confidential. When your child leaves pre-school the records will be given to you. If you wish, they can be sent to your chosen school to give them an indication of your child’s progress towards the “early learning goals”.
PROGRESS CHECK AT AGE 2When your child begins attending Collingham and District Pre School, if this setting is the first she/ he has attended or if it is where the most time is spent, then it is mandatory for a two year check to be carried out. This progress check will include a short summary of your child’s development in the three prime areas. If there are any significant concerns, then with full parental consent and involvement, other professionals, such as the Health Visitor will