We believe that children learn best from first hand experiences and through play. We offer our children a carefully planned range of experiences and opportunities, starting with their interests and existing knowledge. Children are most engaged when they are undertaking activities that are child initiated and based on their current interests. We follow the children’s interest when we plan our themes.
Children experience learning in seven areas which are broken into Prime Areas and Specific Areas:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Art and Design
Communication and language
Communication and Language supports children to develop their understanding and expressive language. A language rich environment is provided and differentiated to meet each child's individual needs. Developing communication skills linked to speaking and listening is a key part of the work we do.
Physical Development helps children to learn by being active. This helps children to gain confidence, develop their coordination and movement. Children are supported to make healthy choices about the food they eat.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Personal, Social and Emotional Development helps children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others. We aim to support children to be confident and as independent as possible. Activities support children to develop their social skills, a respect for others and the curiosity to want to explore and learn.
We provide many activities to support the development of reading and writing skills. We have a wide range of books and other reading materials which children can access independently and with others. The development of writing skills is supported not only via traditional writing activities but creatively through, for example finger gym and messy activities.
Children are provided with a wide range of activities to help them to develop an understanding of number, using number and shape, space and measures. We provide a wide range of activities, both inside and out, which the children can access independently that support the learning of maths.
Understanding of the World
Understanding of the World provides children with the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world. To help children to do this we enable them to use a range of tools and technology safely. We provide opportunities for them to encounter creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments and in real life situations. Children are supported to participate in practical 'experiments' and to explore a wide range of materials.
Expressive Arts and Design
Expressive Arts and Design enables children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. Children are also provided with opportunities and support to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance imaginative and role play activities, design and technology.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
We support children to develop their Characteristics of Effective Learning as we believe they play a central role in a child's learning and are essential in building an effective learner. We follow children's interests to ensure they are engaged and motivated to enable them to develop their creative and critical thinking. The characteristics of effective learning run through and underpin all the 7 areas of learning and development. They represent processes rather than outcomes.
Playing and exploring – engagement
‘Finding out and exploring’ is concerned with the child’s open-ended hands-on experiences which result from innate curiosity. These experiences provide raw sensory material from which the child builds concepts, tests ideas and finds out. ‘Using what they know in their play’ describes how children use play to bring together their current understandings, combining, refining and exploring their ideas in imaginative ways. Representing experiences through imaginative play supports the development of narrative thought, the ability to see from other perspectives, and symbolic thinking.
‘Being willing to have a go’ refers to the child:
- finding an interest
- initiating activities
- seeking challenge
- having a ‘can do’ attitude
- being willing to take a risk in new experiences
- developing the view that failures are opportunities to learn
Active learning – motivation
‘Being involved and concentrating’ describes the intensity of attention that arises from children engaged in following a line of interest in their activities.
'Keeping on trying’ refers to:
- the importance of persistence even in the face of challenge or difficulties
- an element of purposeful control which supports resilience
‘Enjoying achieving what they set out to do’ builds on the intrinsic motivation which supports long-term success. It refers to the reward of meeting one’s own goals, rather than relying on the approval of others.
Creating and thinking critically
‘Having their own ideas’ covers the critical area of creativity - generating new ideas and approaches in all areas of endeavour. Being inventive allows children to find new problems as they seek challenge, and to explore ways of solving these.
‘Using what they already know to learn new things’ refers to the way children use narrative and scientific modes of thought to:
- develop and link concepts
- find meaning in sequence, cause and effect
- find meaning in the intentions of others
‘Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways’ involves children in:
- approaching goal-directed activity in organised ways
- making choices and decisions about how to approach tasks
- planning and monitoring what to do and being able to change strategies