At Cheddington Pre-school our curriculum follows the Early Years Foundation Stage programme, ensuring our children have a balanced curriculum based around the seven key areas of learning:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Within a nurturing environment, children are supported in developing confidence, independence and self-respect. They are encouraged to work and concentrate individually and also take part in the life of the group, sharing and co-operating with other children and adults.
The children are given lots of opportunity for “role play”, which helps to build self-confidence. They also are encouraged to tidy equipment away at the end of the session, learning to take responsibility for themselves.
Through activities, they learn acceptable ways to express their own feelings and to have respect for the feelings of others.
We observe the children and make plans for them so that their individual needs are being addressed. We operate a “key person” system, which means that staff have special responsibilities for particular children. This helps them get to know a child really well and are able to discuss any concerns you might have.
Communication and Language Development
In both small and large groups, children are encouraged to extend their vocabulary and fluency by talking / listening, and by hearing and responding to stories, songs and rhymes. In each session the children are actively encouraged to talk about their experiences and listen to others.
Staff make sure that children feel valued and included by using stories, pictures, puppets and signs throughout the session. We learn about the child’s interests and use this to plan activities to help them communicate with adults and other children.
We aim to provide children with a whole range of activities, which will promote the use of large and small muscles.
Small scale construction, puzzles, lacing, drawing, painting etc all help children to use their hands and fingers to gain control of their movements. There are many opportunities for physical play in our garden.
We are fortunate to be able to use the school hall for movement / PE sessions twice a week.
We encourage the children to develop awareness of their own bodies and of what keeps them healthy.
Children are helped to understand that written symbols carry meaning, to be aware of the purposes of writing and, when they are ready, to use drawn and written symbols for themselves.
We help children to recognise their names, by asking them to find them at the beginning of each session. We have a “word-bank” for the children, which has names and words that relate to particular themes.
A variety of “mark-making” tools are always available for the children to use, (paintbrushes, felt tip pens etc.) These activities help children to develop hand / eye co-ordination in readiness for writing. We use both letter names and sounds, which help the children make the connection between the letter symbol and the sound they make.
A well-stocked book corner gives every child the opportunity and encouragement to become familiar with books, able to handle them and aware of their uses, both for reference and as a source of stories and pictures.
By means of adult-supported practical experience, children become familiar with the sorting, matching, ordering and counting activities that form the basis for early mathematics. The children play with puzzles, beads and board games and are actively involved in sharing out equipment within the sessions.
The number symbols are reinforced through many things including games and matching activities.
Sand, water and dough are provided to help the children learn about volume, size and shape. The children make and complete patterns, which help them to think logically.
Songs, games and picture books help children become aware of number sequences and, when they are ready, to use simple mathematical operations such as adding.
Understanding of the World
This development area covers a wide range of skills in science, technology, history and geography.
A safe and stimulating environment allows children to observe and experiment with a range of natural and manufactured materials. They learn to recognise differences, patterns and similarities, and to share and record their findings.
We use a variety of materials to help children learn basic concepts such as “floating and sinking”. We provide different tools to help children select the most appropriate one, for a particular task i.e. different types of glue, different thickness of paper.
The children are encouraged to look after their environment, we look at plants, flowers and insects to see how they live and grow.
We talk to the children about the community they live in, as well as introducing ideas about people from other cultures.
We look at the past through the children’s own experiences, such as “when I was a baby”. The passing of time can also be observed by looking at height charts and watching how trees change in winter.
Expressive Art and Design
Children are encouraged to use a wide range of resources in order to express their own ideas and feelings.
Art equipment, including paint, glue, crayons and pencils as well as natural and discarded resources, provide for open-ended exploration of colour, shape and texture and the development of skills in painting, drawing and collage. The painting easel and drawing table are always available at every session for free choice activity.
Each day we have a singing lesson and often the use of percussion instruments are used to accompany our songs. Changing themes each half term in the “role-play” area stimulates the children’s imagination.