Our approach to teaching
Our Curriculum is inspired by the Montessori approach to learning where play is an essential element of every session. We cover every aspect of the EYFS Curriculum. We have developed our Curriculum using a mix of Montessori and traditional teaching methods.
We do not teach based on age or developmental stage. Every child is different, they develop and learn in different ways, at different rates. Activities and experiences are tailored to each child taking into account their individual needs. During free play time children have free access to quality learning materials with teachers on hand to observe, support and guide them.
One to one teaching sessions provide more structured learning experiences. Group sessions allow children to collaborate and learn from one another.
We specifically chose learning materials that stimulate interest and encourage investigation in a safe, caring atmosphere.
Children get to practice again and again existing skills and build on these skills to acquire new ones.
We wholeheartedly support our little ones to learn and succeed at their own pace without restriction or criticism.
We are mindful to follow the four outcomes set out in ‘Every Child Matters’:
- helping the child to be healthy
- protecting children from harm or neglect and helping them stay safe
- helping children enjoy and achieve
- helping children make a positive contribution to the provision of the wider community
The areas of learning and development
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. 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 desire to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social and emotional development
We also support children in the four specific areas; through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
Communication and language
At Schoolroom Two we understand that using books and stories provide an ideal opportunity for children to find their own ways to represent and develop their ideas. If you want a child to discover something for themselves a book can give them a glimpse of things they can know and learn.
As practitioners we aim to promote a love of books and stories in every child we care for.
We understand the development of a child’s language and how early experiences underpin vital skills for language development, thinking and literacy.
The phrase “learning to talk and talking to learn” brilliantly sums up the role of communication and language in children’s learning. In order to support this vital area of development we must foster close, caring, relationships where feelings, thoughts, ideas and emotions are expressed and understood and where opportunities to enrich children’s play enables them to reach their full potential.
A quote from Albert Einstein on the power of stories “if you want brilliant children, read them fairy stories. And if you want them to be more brilliant read them more fairy stories”.
As practitioners we ensure that children are given the opportunity to engage in all physical activities both inside and out. Free access to outdoor spaces and resources both indoors and outdoors is vital.
The opportunities for physical activities are balanced with the opportunities for rest, quiet and refueling, with regular drinks and healthy snacks.
We offer children the opportunity to engage with, explore and find out about the natural world (supporting all areas of learning) and to talk about what they are doing.
We promote good health and hygiene.
Children are free to seek challenges to be motivated and encouraged to get the excitement involved in facing the challenges, finding new ways of doing things or testing ideas.
As children play and explore they are investigating their environment, testing out newly found skills and abilities and experiencing new things.
We provide many opportunities and resources that enable children to be ‘active’ and interactive, to develop coordination, control and movement.
There are also many opportunities to use fine motor skills, gross motor skills across a broad range of activities and experiences.
Personal, social and emotional development
Making relationships, self-confidence and self-awareness, managing feelings and behaviour.
At Schoolroom Two it is important for us to help children develop strong self-esteem and gain confidence. Through this children develop a positive sense of themselves and others.
We celebrate the uniqueness of the child by getting to know them individually, what they like, what they need and what they already do.
In the Development Matters Guidance one of the central themes is the role of a Key Worker in supporting personal, social and emotional development.
Schoolroom Two has always followed a strong Key Worker approach and we believe this helps our nursery feel like home for home. Our staff at Schoolroom Two allow children to self select appropriate resources and help them to feel part of the activities, allowing their interests to be developed and their needs met.
We recognise that parents also play an important role in supporting, showing affection, celebrating achievements that give children confidence to continually extend their learning. The Key Worker encourages active parental engagement by providing a friendly, supportive, non-judgmental environment. We ensure that the child is fully supported in their learning and development both in the school and at home.
We ensure the settling in and induction establishes the important Key Worker-parent relationship. From the outset we encourage parents to get involved.
We implement a consistent settling in procedure, which will ensure a smooth transition and minimise separation anxiety and distress.
We recognise it is important that maths is introduced to young children as something fun, accessible and part of everyday life.
Children learn through exploration and discovery. They find out about objects, what they do, how they work and the problems they pose for solving in logical and imaginative ways.
We take every opportunity to use mathematical language: words like more or less, shapes, sizes and prepositions are all regularly used to support children’s learning.
At Schoolroom Two we have created a mathematical environment, number lines, number displays, counting cups for snack time, tape measures, rules and dice.
We understand that outdoor learning is as important and we address this by adding number activities etc. As always staff model good practice of math, counting how many steps on a slide and how many jumps to cross a path, we discuss shapes of balls and hoops.
We strive to keep maths play based on providing varied, fun and exciting experiences both indoors and outdoors to develop and stimulate interest in all things maths fun and interesting.
Being literate is essential in almost every aspect of adult life whether we are planning a holiday, selecting a DVD or delivering a parcel.
Literacy is often thought of as the ability to read and write but it also includes beings able to speak and listen.
At Schoolroom Two we understand the way the spoken language works and how words can be broken into sounds and how sounds are put together to make words as part of the process. Children have the opportunity to play with language development over a period of time.
Ultimately we believe it involves reading with understanding through applying phonic knowledge to words, which can be sounded phonetically, and learning to read other words through familiarisation.
Reading is based on building a wide vocabulary through listening and talking: the more words a child understands the better they will be able to make sense of what they need.
Writing can seem deceptively simple to competent writers but it is highly complex because it involves many skills including physical, cognitive and linguistic skills.
We begin with talking and listening and mark making and this all develops over time as children require an understanding that spoken words can be repeated in signs and symbols. Through learning about sounds and how these can be represented in writing children become aware of phoneme, grapheme, correspondences and the skills of forming graphemes to write words and sentences, which can be read.
Understanding the world
This area is about how children get to know about other people, the place where they live and all about aspects of their environment.
We know children love to explore and investigate how and why things work and to test their ideas about what happens if they do a particular thing. We hopefully give them the freedom and encouragement to do this.
Technology has become common place for many families and children often see and use it naturally when they activate a toy such as a police car to make a siren sound.
Recognising the role of technology at home or in a setting is important because this helps children to identify the different types of technology and what they are used for.
People and communities
As children learn about the world around them they find out about the past through talking to parents, grand parents and friends. They develop an interest in their own story as well as stories in their family – this is the beginning of them developing an understanding of the past and helps them to learn about how other people are different from them, yet share some of the same characteristics and ideas.
We help children develop their understanding of the world by encouraging them to take notice of everything around them including places and all the things within them such as trees in the natural environment and roads and traffic in the built environment.
Finding out about places begins when a child learns about heir own home and the things nearby, such as noticing things on a journey to and from school, such as the sequence of traffic lights and the names of streets or street signs.
This aspect focuses on learning about cause and effect and is developed through having conversations with adults and children about things they observe.
Expressive arts and design
We encourage children’s exploration into the world of pretend, building on their experiences of the real world and transforming them into something new, whether through role play, music, pretend play, block play or small world play or a range of other areas.
We believe that helping children to be creative is as much about encouraging attitudes of curiosity and questioning as about skills or techniques.
Children notice everything and closely observe the most ordinary things that adults take for granted. Building on children’s interest can lead them to creating amazing inventions or making marks on paper that represent for them an experience or something they have seen.
We like to encourage children to chose and use materials and resources in an open ended way which helps them to make choices and to have confidence in their own ideas. Just expressing an interest in the process a child has gone through is often enough or asking open ended questions such as ‘can you tell me about it?’, ‘that looks interesting’ may be all that is required to help a child hold on to their remarkable creativity.
Progress check at two years
The Early Years Foundation Stage requires that when a child is aged between 24 – 36 months we supply parents and carers with a review of their progress. The Key Worker is responsible for completing the check and providing the parents with a short summary of their child’s development in the three prime areas of learning and development; personal, social and emotional, physical and communication and language. The Key Worker will use information from ongoing observational assessments carried out as part of our everyday practice, taking account of the views and contributions of parents.
The child’s strengths will be identified along with any areas where the child’s progress is less than expected. A plan to support the child’s future learning and development might be needed if concerns are identified, together with the involvement of other professionals.