Communication and Language
This encompasses listening and attention, understanding and speaking. Language development is very important as it is the basis for all learning. Extending their vocabulary provides children with a tool to express themselves.
This covers moving and handling as well as health and self care. Large equipment and toys to encourage the physical development of young children are used outside. The young child should have the opportunity to run freely, climb, skip, jump and learn to balance on equipment.
This helps to develop self-confidence and self-awareness. Small P.E. equipment hoops, bats, balls, bean bags encourage co-ordination and skill acquisition. Fine manipulative skills are developed with construction toys, jigsaws, threading, use of small tools e.g. scissors. Children need to be able to manipulate and control small items to enable them to use a pencil and therefore make shapes and later, letters and numbers.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
This area has a focus on making relationships, developing self-confidence and self-awareness, and managing feelings and behaviour. This is an important area of learning, particularly in the first term, and influences how the child learns i.e. they are encouraged to become independent learners.
Children need to be confident in making choices, doing a variety of activities and concentrating on their task. It is also concerned with how your child interacts with other children and adults, learning to share, and play co-operatively in small groups and occasionally larger ones. They need to be able to express and control their emotions, to develop respect and consideration for other people’s needs. It is also about your child’s ability to look after themselves i.e. going to the toilet, putting on coats etc.
This covers reading and writing. A selection of books are available throughout the nursery. We don’t teach reading directly as children are at different stages, but we may introduce letters and sounds, which are a pre-requisite to learning to read. Pre-writing skills are encouraged in many areas of the nursery. Children make marks with crayons, paint, pencils and other tools perhaps in the sand, soil, dough and clay.
Children need to go through these stages before they are able to control a pencil well enough to ‘write’ a letter/number (so even if it looks like scribble, it is part of a process).
When you show your child ‘writing’, make sure it is predominantly “lower case” letters e.g. a, b, c, d, e, f, g etc. not capitals.
This encompasses number, shape, space and measures. We provide opportunities for mathematical experiences in number, shape, measurement and size, matching and sorting. These activities may be in the life area, sand, water, construction or book area, in fact most areas in the nursery. Rote counting means nothing unless children can match 1 : 1 i.e. 1 = 1 object, 2 = 2 objects.
They need lots of first hand experiences of handling equipment to grasp mathematical concepts, and also of using language to support this. Mathematics is happening all the time in young children’s lives, e.g. out shopping, in the car, at home, in the cafe. Make if fun for them.
Understanding the World
This looks at people and communities, the world and technology. Children have opportunities to experiment and investigate through the natural environment interest tables, e.g. magnets, mirrors, colours, natural objects.
Other areas in the nursery may have scientific aims.
Children have the opportunity to bake and help in the making of the snack, e.g. cakes, toast, crackers, sandwiches, cut up fruit.
Children have access to computers and use programs which are designed for young children and offer an introduction to Information Technology and the basic skills required. We have a selection of ICT equipment. ICT is about learning to control equipment as well as using computers.
Children will have the opportunity to use a wide range, including microphones, recorders and robotic toys.
Sense of time and place – We use the immediate environment as well as further afield; we discuss weather, countries, maps etc. Children can discuss their past and what they remember – we use artefacts and resources to show history in a simple way.
Expressive Arts and Design
This encourages children to explore and use media and materials, and to use their imagination. We offer opportunities to paint, write, draw and make models, a range of experiences are offered using different materials and tools e.g. crayons, pencils, paint, glue, paper, scissors, pens, clay, junk boxes.
Children can explore and create something which is unique to them. This is a very satisfying experience.
It is the process that is important and will not always result in a recognisable finished product. Ask them about it and they will explain their ideas! It is important they use their own imagination in their pictures, designs and models.
Music/Drama involves listening to different sounds, making sounds, singing rhymes and songs. Most children enjoy role play and we also use music, rhymes, stories and puppets to stimulate children to act out roles in the life area which may be a cafe, shop, hospital, garage or vets.
Outside play is planned for and can provide exciting opportunities to develop most areas of learning and the learning goals within these. The children are encouraged to use the garden and resources with a high level of independence.
We see outdoors as a classroom in itself and will take the children out in all types of weather. Please make sure they have a coat and outdoor footwear.
We have introduced gardening activities. We have two beds where we grow vegetables and planters and beds for flowers. Out next project is a pop bottle greenhouse. We have a large area of garden which has been seeded with wild flowers and where children can investigate a natural environment. There is a bird hide, specific shrubs ie. lavender, buddleia (butterfly bush), wild flowers/grasses, logs, bird tables etc.
This ‘natural’ garden contrasts with the more cultivated garden, with flowerbeds which the children help plant. The area is currently being developed further to develop our woodland learning programme.
Why is outdoor play so important?
During your child’s time in nursery you may notice that we take the children outside as often as possible. We feel this is an important part of their nursery experience for the following reasons:
- Many children prefer playing outside and as a result they show greater levels of involvement and motivation when learning new skills and concepts across the whole curriculum.
- Young children learn by being physically active and the outside environment allows greater space and freedom to do this.
- Changing society prevents regular opportunities for children to play outdoors.
- There is a substantial increase in child obesity and asthma nationally.
What does ‘The Early Years Foundation Stage’ say about outdoor play?
“Children must have opportunities to play indoors and outdoors. All early years providers must have access to an outdoor play area which can benefit the children.”
“Providing well-planned experiences based upon children’s spontaneous play, both indoors and outdoors, is an important way in which practitioners support young children to learn with enjoyment and challenge.”
“Wherever possible, there should be access to an outdoor play area, and this is the expected norm for providers”
What can you do to help?
We will endeavour to take the children outdoors as often as possible and in all types of weather. It would be of great assistance if you could make sure that your child comes to nursery dressed suitably for weather conditions each day. We also ask that they wear sensible footwear and clothing that can withstand the rigours of outdoor activities such as climbing, scrambling, gardening etc.