The learning environment for our 3 and 4 year olds

Children meet the requirements of the Early Years’ Curriculum by accessing a range of child initiated and adult led activities and learning through play in our indoor and outdoor classroom spaces.

The indoor space is divided into different learning areas.  These areas are provided continuously so that children can develop their knowledge in areas that interest them.  The areas are enhanced throughout the term with activities and resources linked to current topics.

The outdoor play area is available for children to use when they are accessing continuous provision.  The activities mirror those taking place indoors on a larger, noisier and sometimes messier scale!

The children also take part in Forest School sessions within the school grounds where they are able to take risks and explore in a safe environment under the guidance of trained staff.  This improves their skills and confidence.

The learning environment for our 2 year olds

Our two year olds have their own room within the Early Years’ unit with age appropriate resources and furniture.  They also have access to all the other areas of our unit. They have their own outdoor area to safely enjoy.

At this age, children are at different stages with their toilet training.  We have excellent changing facilities for those still requiring them, access to potties and free access to their own toilets within their area.  Children are given plenty of verbal praise and encouragement to succeed.  We also have sleeping facilities for children who still require a nap during the day.

We have highly committed, experienced and friendly staff who care about all of our children, always going that extra mile.  We firmly believe that education is not just school based and that learning happens all the time, everywhere!  We aim work closely with parents and carers to build on their skills and promote lifelong learning both at school and at home.  We believe that children learn best when home and school work together so we aim to share this learning journey with you.

The Areas of Learning and Development

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape practice in the Early Years’ setting.  All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.  Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.

These three areas are called the prime areas.

Communication and language development 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 opportunities for children to be active and interactive and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and how 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, to form positive relationships and develop respect for others, to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings, to understand appropriate behaviour in groups and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Children are also supported in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.

Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and begin to read and write.  Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems and other written material) to ignite their interest.

Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understand and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and to describe shapes, spaces and measures.

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology.

How Children Learn

In our Early Years’ unit, a balance is created between adult led activities and child initiated activities to ensure that children meet their stages of development.

During child initiated time, children can choose to engage with activities in any area and are encouraged and supported to access the resources independently.  Adults model skills and extend learning as appropriate.  Activities are provided to engage, inspire and support children’s development.  These are age appropriate throughout our Early Years.

Adult led activities may include focused, small group work, one to one activities or activities within continuous provision which are age appropriate.  Some examples include phonics and mathematics sessions, fine motor activities sensory play, song time and topic sessions.

The Role of the Adults

Teachers and teaching assistants support, encourage and extend children’s learning.  Children are observed throughout their sessions and these observations are used to assess children and to help staff plan the next steps in their learning.

Assessment

All children are assessed upon entry into our Early Years against the Development Matters age-related statements and Early Learning Goals and these assessments are ongoing throughout their time in the Early Years’ Unit. 

Reception children are assessed using the Early Years’ Foundation Stage profile throughout the year to track and monitor their progress and learning styles.

When a child is aged between two and three, a progress check is carried out and a meeting is arranged with parents/carers to provide a short written summary of their child’s development in the prime areas.  This progress check identifies the child’s strengths and any areas where their progress is less than expected.  If there are significant emerging concerns, or an identified special educational need or disability, a targeted plan to support the child’s future learning and development is created.  This will be developed with parents/carers and other professionals as appropriate.

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