Our Early Years staff work closely with families to encourage and develop the children’s interests and skills. This enables each child to have the best start to their education by supporting them to reach their full potential and prepare for school.
Our pre-school education is led by qualified teachers during school term-time, who have broad and deep experience and knowledge of teaching primary age and early years children. Our Early Years Practitioners hold a range of qualifications from apprenticeships to post graduate degrees, specialising in early years. During the school holidays the learning continues, and the nursery team continue the care for the children with a greater emphasis on play and exploration, led by our Go Beyond Manager and School Business Manager.
As children learn best from first-hand experience and by exploring through play, we have skilfully collaborated learning experiences to increase readiness for school. The well-resourced pre-school will help support holistic development and ensure happy and confident children move into Reception Year, whether at Hoddlesden St Paul's CE Primary or another School.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
The pre-school day is structured, with a strong emphasis on play, but also includes opportunities for children to develop their skills in numeracy and letters and sounds. Throughout their pre-school year, we provide the children with a diverse range of experiences and activities which will challenge and inspire them and prepare them for the transition to school.
Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Together good parenting and high quality early learning provides the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
There are four guiding principles in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Upon which the curriculum is based:-
- Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
- Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents/carers
- Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
There are seven areas of learning and development that are inter-connected.
The Prime areas are:
- Communication and Language
- Physical development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
These are particularly crucial for igniting your child’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
We also support your child in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
The Specific areas are:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
In the EYFS we reflect on the different ways that your child learns.
The three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
- Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
- Active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.
- Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
Learning within the Foundation Stage will be a mix of whole group sessions, independent learning and adult led tasks. We provide a diverse range of activities and experiences which are based on children’s current interests and will support and encourage their development in all 7 areas of the curriculum. We use online learning journals which your child’s key person will update regularly with photographs, videos and observations so that you can see your child’s progress first-hand.
Outdoors, children have lots of space to run, climb, balance, build and explore in the early years ‘outdoor classroom’. The Early Years foundation stage framework continues to be delivered through a variety of focused activities in the outdoor areas.
Children also have access to the school’s extensive playing fields, nature woodland play space, climbing frames and trim trails on site at dedicated times. The children take part in Forest School sessions to extend their opportunities for exploration and learning.
A Parent Guide to Outdoor Learning
Reading and Phonics
Most pre-school children are fascinated by books, sounds and letters and we are keen to support and encourage this. Children will begin their phonics journey in pre-school by reading lots of books, listening to all kind of sounds, making sounds and talking about sounds. Phase 1 is all about developing these pre-phonics skills that we will add into our everyday play and small group learning tasks.
Being aware of sounds all around us
Toy sounds- When your children are playing with toys we encourage them to make the right sounds. These include; farm animals, train sets, vehicles and dolls. We will help your child to notice these sounds around and about. E.g. Listening to the sounds that cars, trucks and fire engines make in the street. We will practise making these noises and then use them with car, truck and fire engine toys.
Listening ears- This is where we encourage the children to cup their hands around their ears and listen to sounds all around them. We talk about what sounds we can hear in pre-school, on our outdoor explores and beyond the pre-school environment. We discuss if the sounds are loud or quiet? Are they short or long? Can the children make a similar sound with their voice?
Experimenting with musical instruments
Shake it all about - We make simple shakers by filling plastic bottles or tubs with rice, pasta, pebbles. We then encourage the children to play with them and talk about the sounds that they make. Are the sounds soft, sharp, smooth, jiggly, scratchy?
Tap it out - We use the shakers above or use drums (pots and pans and wooden spoons are perfect) to play along with songs, rhymes and the radio. We support the children in trying to make the loudest sounds that they can make and then the quietest sounds that. The children are encouraged to tap out simple rhythms and repeat rhythms.
Interesting instruments- We talk about the sounds that instruments make that we see or hear in real life or online. Which instruments do you like the sound of best? Can you tell me why? Can you imitate the sound with your voice?
Making sounds with our bodies
Song time-We always sing songs and rhymes throughout the day at pre-school. We encourage the children to use their bodies to make sounds to go along with their singing stamping, clapping, patting knees etc.
Mark Making in the Early Years
The skill of writing begins with mark making. It is easy to dismiss the different lines and circles children create on paper as mere ‘scribbles’, but actually, children are mark making, the first step towards writing. As well as enabling a child to learn to write, making marks can benefit a child physically, and also help to develop their imagination and creative skills. In pre-school we use mark making as a way of sharing children's thoughts and feelings and enabling them to tell stories as they draw; offering an insight into what it represents. Holding a writing tool and controlling it with precision takes a lot of skill and involves hand-eye co-ordination and muscle control in our hands and fingers. Making marks enables children to develop their hand eye co-ordination and fine motor skills through practicing to hold a pencil, deciding what grip suits them best and which hand feels most natural when making small controlled movements using a writing tool.