It is widely recognised that a child’s experiences between birth and the age of five have a major impact on their life which is why we ensure each child is offered a secure and happy environment where they feel special and safe. All our children are encouraged to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow within the Loseley Fields family, ensuring they develop the confidence and self-belief to become strong, decisive and unique individuals.
Our Early Years children learn about themselves and the world around them through concrete first hand experiences which are based on carefully structured play activities. Children are encouraged to use language as a tool for thinking, exploring and expressing ideas. Activities are planned to promote curiosity and foster independence in our youngest learners. The provision is expertly tailored to meet the needs of individual children and often links to their specific interests. Each child will have a ‘Key Person’ to give them the reassurance to feel safe and cared for and act as a point of contact for parents.
The Early Years curriculum is built around 3 characteristics of effective learning. Focusing on not just what children learn but how they learn!
1. Active Learning- Children concentrate and keep trying if they encounter difficulties.
2. Creating and Thinking Critically- Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.
3. Playing and Exploring- Children investigate things and have a go.
There are 7 areas of learning that must shape all activities and experiences for children in early years settings. All 7 areas are important and inter-connected; however, 3 areas have been highlighted as particularly crucial for igniting children's curiosity, enthusiasm and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. There are 3 prime areas (communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development), most essential for children’s healthy development.
Communication and Language involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Physical development involves providing young children with opportunities to be active an interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others, and to form relationships and develop respect for others, to develop social skills and know how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour.
Children will also be supported in the following areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
Literacy involves providing children with a wide range of reading and writing opportunities to develop their skills. We have a wide range of books children are read to daily and can also access during independent learning. Phonics is taught daily using the Letters and Sounds scheme, using the jolly phonics actions to support. Lessons are interactive and engaging for the children, helping to support their decoding ability which is a crucial element in reading success. The children are also given many opportunities to develop their mark making and writing during class inputs and independent learning which are based on our topics and their interests using a range of media.
Mathematics involves supporting children to develop their sense of number and solve problems such as halving, sharing and doubling. All activities are practical and based on the children’s interests using a wide range of mathematical resources. The children also learn about shape, space and measure to develop their mathematical language and how to solve problems.
Understanding the world involves developing children’s knowledge and skills about people and communities, the world and technology. The children get the opportunity to have first hand experiences involving the outside environment and view the changes that take place.
Expressive arts and design involves providing children with the chance to use a wide range of media and materials and their imagination, with opportunities focusing on dance, story-telling, role-play, art, design and technology.
During independent learning, a range of well planned, purposeful and appealing topic related inside and outside activities are focused on the children’s interests. The activities are tailored for children of all abilities. The children learn by leading their own play and by taking part in play which is guided by adults. Play is essential for building children’s confidence as they learn to explore, think about problems and relate to. During this time some activities will be adult led, whilst others provide opportunities for objective led planning, where children are supported to meet their personalised next steps. The children are grouped in each area of the curriculum upon what they already know and what their next steps are. The adults then support the children in achieving their next steps during the child’s chosen activity during independent learning (e.g. if a child’s next step is to form their letters correctly and they are playing in the sandpit an adult will support them in forming their letters in the sand) so that their play is uninterrupted.
To record and assess the children’s learning we use the 2simple program which provides observations of what each child has learnt and the progress they are making. Parents/carers will be updated every half-term with a copy of the observations and can comment on their child’s learning.
In Little Bears and Little Lions each child is given a key person at the start of the year to help them settle. The key people have special responsibilities for working with a small number of children in Little Bears and Little Lions, giving them reassurance to feel safe and cared for and building relationships with their parents. We have Key Person Time twice week which gives the children an opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feeling.
The children have Funky Fingers session twice a week to develop fine motor skills, finger strength and coordination, which helps improve their pencil grip and letter formation. Music is played and children stand during activities to help improve their core strength. Targeted children may have additional Funky Fingers sessions.
ICT: Children will be taught ICT once a week in the ICT suite in addition to the variety of activities, computers and the interactive whiteboard available daily during independent learning.
PE is taught twice a week, one session of which is assisted by a specialist teacher. There are also daily opportunities to develop gross motor skills, balance and coordination during independent learning.
The Little Bears and Little Lions will learn about a range of topic throughout the year which are steered towards the children’s interests. For example, we have previously learnt about People who help us, dinosaurs, superheros, Space.
A typical day in Reception:
• Register and wake and shake
• Independent Learning (inside/outside)
• Break time
• Funky fingers
• Independent Learning (inside/outside)
• Adult and child led activities linked to different areas of learning.