In both Lower and Upper Nursery we follow the EYFS curriculum , adopting a cross curricular, topic-based approach, which continues throughout our school. There is a balance of both child initiated activities and adult led activities. This is supported by non-statutory guidance set out in a document called Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
There are four themes that underpin all the guidance in the EYFS:
A Unique Child, Positive Relationships, Enabling Environments =Learning and Development
We provide an environment and an education that encourages the development of the Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL), which thread through all areas of learning and support children to be effective and motivated learners. They are:
• Playing and exploring – engagement
Finding out and exploring
Playing with what they know
Being willing to ‘have a go’
• Active learning – motivation
Being involved and concentrating
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
• Creating and thinking critically – thinking
Having their own ideas
Choosing ways to do things
Learning in the EYFS framework is defined into seven areas, three prime areas and four specific areas. In Lower Nursery we start by focusing on developing the children's skills in the prime areas first, and then in Upper Nursery this continues moving on to a greater focus on the Specific Areas.
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development includes developing an awareness of self and others. The children are encouraged to share, take turns and take on board other children’s ideas and listen to responses. Developing independence and confidence is encouraged at every stage, through daily activities such as putting on their own coats, selecting resources independently and having their own thoughts and opinions. The children help prepare the healthy snacks and share this with their friends.
• Communication and Language includes encouraging the children to become confident users of spoken language and promoting conversation skills. We work on listening and attention, understanding, and speaking. Children listen to a wide range of books and from different genres, exposing them to new vocabulary on a daily basis. The adults use open ended questions to encourage children to develop their language skills.
• Physical Development The children are presented with physical activities that challenge them to develop a wide range of gross motor skills from accessing our outdoor space, taking part in gym lessons and dance as well as the weekly swimming sessions when the children join Upper Nursery. Fine motor skills are promoted through a variety of activities and using equipment such as pens, paintbrushes, pipettes, tweezers and scissors.
• Literacy: At Dallington we want the children to develop a love for reading from an early age. In both Lower and Upper Nursery the children hear a range of stories on a daily basis on a one to one basis, in small groups and as part of the whole class. Lower Nursery children are encouraged to begin to look at print in the environment and begin to understand the reason for learning letters of the alphabet. Use of rhyme and rhythm encourages the ability to hear difference in sounds at the beginning of words and the children begin to gain an awareness of the purpose behind learning phonics through a multi-sensory approach. They are encouraged to develop an understanding of storytelling through using pictures, puppets and storytelling props. We encourage parents to read with their children at home as much as possible. As the children move to Upper Nursery the foundations for early reading continue and we teach the children to read using synthetic phonics and use Jolly Phonics as a resource. The children take home reading books on a weekly basis and there is a home/school reading record book to record progress and so we can work in partnership with parents to support this journey.
• Mathematics provides the children with a range of opportunities to become competent in counting, sorting, matching, patterns, working with numbers, shape, space and measures and developing mathematical thinking. Children are encouraged to develop the use of mathematical language and the children are taught to organise their ideas and explain what they have done. A range of activities such as cooking and block play encourage maths in a hands on, practical way.
• Understanding the World includes ‘People and Communities’; we explore the local environment and cultures from around the world. We talk about past and present events, relive the past through role play, and find out about the children’s own lives. Our curriculum explores cultures and traditions from around the world. Parents are invited to share their experiences with the group, for example reading to the children in different language or leading a cooking activity or helping celebrate a religious event. In ‘The World’ we discover living things and explore, investigate and solve problems. In ‘Technology’ we teach computer skills and use other technology to support our learning.
• Expressive Arts and Design includes Art, Music, Dance, role-play and imaginative play. Children’s creativity is celebrated through a variety of activities. Children are provided with activities where their imagination is encouraged.
The early year’s team plan activities carefully based on ongoing observations of the children. Through careful planning we ensure that the children have a wide range of challenging and stimulating experiences and play opportunities, which will excite their curiosity, interest and motivation.
We look at the children’s individual needs, background, previous experiences and stages of development. In Lower Nursery the children begin weekly music sessions with our music teacher and this continues in Upper Nursery.
In Upper Nursery, the children are then introduced to Swimming, Dance, French and Sport. We gradually introduce technology from an early age, using computers, iPads and programmable toys as well as digital photography.