Our Early Years eco-classroom is a warm and inviting place for the children to begin their journey through education.
We have our own safe and secure outdoor space in a natural environment for the children to explore. The trees provide shade in the summer and lots of crunchy leaves for stomping around on in the Autumn! We have many birds and insects visiting the outdoor area which the children love to see. We also have our own changing facilities and toilets.
The children learn through play both indoors and out, using a ‘continuous provision’ approach. This provides them with the freedom to explore in a constant, safe and familiar environment but it also challenges them with new opportunities for learning within that environment. Children are encouraged to become independent in making choices, and we provide them with the tools they need to communicate those choices, be it through speech, sign, gesture, symbols or pictures.
As well as learning through play, the children will be provided with adult-led learning opportunities both as a group and individually. We make learning fun through topics such as ‘Under the Sea’ or ‘On the Farm’. Each day has a structure, signposted by songs and routine which helps the children feel safe and secure, understanding what is happening next. The children have weekly opportunities to swim in our warm hydrotherapy pool and to experience exciting and interactive new worlds in our immersive classroom.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
This underpins all of the learning opportunities that we provide.
The Seven Areas of Learning outlined in this Curriculum are all vital to helping children grow and learn.
We employ a ‘total communication’ approach, meaning that the children will have the opportunity to find the best and most suitable way of communicating for them. We help children to use signs or picture symbols to make choices and convey their wants and needs if they are not yet ready to speak. We use role-play, songs, story telling, and intensive interaction to encourage communication and to help the children develop their vocabulary.
All children will have the opportunity to develop a strong key person relationship. This will help them to feel secure and cared for, giving them the confidence and emotional support, they need to thrive. Children will be supported to understand and find ways to cope with their emotions – even the very big ones! We will also help them to understand that other people have their own feelings and emotions too. We will encourage all children to build relationships with adults and with other children too.
Being physically healthy is vital for children to be happy and active. We are always on the go and provide the children with opportunities to exercise and practise those big gross motor skills. Our outdoor area offers ides lots of opportunities for climbing, sliding, crawling, riding and running. We also swim once a week and provide opportunities for horse riding towards the end of the year. We also plan a lot of activities to build hand strength and develop fine motor skills. We have a weekly ‘dough disco’ and lots of construction, threading and messy play activities.
We love books in Early Years! We are always looking at new stories both as a group and individually. Story time is a sensory and interactive experience which is fun for everybody involved. The children benefit from simple stories and repetition to help them engage and learn. Mark making is very important and we do this in lots of ways. Yes, we use pens and pencils but we also love getting our hands messy by writing and drawing in sand, salt or lentils! We use paint sticks, chunky chalks, Aquadoodles and Magnadoodles to get the children excited about making their marks.
We use and talk about number and practise counting throughout the day whilst we are building towers, counting worms or tidying up. We focus on numbers 1 – 10 but do go beyond when appropriate. We investigate length, weight and size with hands-on, practical activities.
We encourage the children’s natural curiosity by providing opportunities to investigate and explore the physical world around them, helping them make sense of their surroundings. We talk about and find out about the people who help us, both in school and in the local community. We use dressing up and role play to deepen understanding. We love to plant seeds and watch them grow as well as observing animals and insects to find out what they need to survive.
We provide a range of opportunities for the children to develop their imagination and creativity. We love to sing songs, make music, dance, play with colours, textures and art supplies. It can get very messy but it is always fun! We are lucky enough to have a weekly session with our specialist music teacher, who adds another dynamic to our lessons with group singing, movement and signing.