Early Years Foundation Stage
The broad and exciting Leweston Nursery curriculum focuses on the development of key learning skills and interaction with real experiences, ensuring that children have the competencies and knowledge they need to succeed at school.
The Nursery follows the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, which is based on three prime areas of learning and four specific areas.
Personal and Social Development
All children are encouraged to develop to the best of their own ability, be proud of their strengths and work to overcome difficulties. We aim to foster an attitude of caring for others and the environment, and much emphasis is placed upon the development of social skills. During the day they may work in small groups or independently, learning to share and take turns. Children are expected to be polite and considerate at all times.
Communication and Language
We encourage the development of speaking and listening skills through a variety of activities including circle time, adult interaction and show-and-tell. There are opportunities for children to develop vocabulary, expression and fluency through role play, story time and speech and drama.
Physical development is about improving co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement in both fine and gross motor activities. Our youngest children have a host of carefully planned activities with staff. The older children have a weekly PE session with a specialist teacher as well as daily walks and playtime on the climbing and balancing equipment. They also receive swimming tuition in our on-site swimming pool.
Within the classroom we provide a wide variety of experiences to develop fine motor skills like cutting, sticking, threading and pencil control, play dough, sand and water play.
Literacy – Reading
The Nursery is a literacy-rich environment with an ever-changing supply of books. Daily phonics teaching ensures that all children become familiar with letter sounds before they reach school age. Our staff work hard to pass on a passion and enthusiasm for stories and the written word. Each day is interspersed with story time which encourages the children to develop a positive view of literature and exposes them to language and storytelling. Children are taught to discuss and engage with books, think about what words mean, recall storylines and relate them to their own experiences.
Literacy – Writing
All children are encouraged to experiment with writing. In the early stages we explore different ways of making marks and slowly develop their ability to attribute meaning to them. They are taught how to hold a pencil, apply pressure to the page and develop neat handwriting. Marking letters in shaving foam and sand, drawing them in the air, sticking paper in the correct shape can all show just how fun writing can be!
We understand that mathematical confidence and a strong understanding of the way numbers work underpins a world of later learning. Children are exposed to the vocabulary of mathematics and encouraged to play with numbers throughout the school day. So many children develop a fear of Maths in later life, but with the skills of counting, number recognition and shape work/sorting introduced early we aim to avoid any such problems.
Understanding the world
Young children develop ideas by exploring their environment and the world around them. We use regularly changing themes to develop the children’s knowledge and understanding reflecting their current interests, by observing their themes in play, and asking them to consider the things that they would like to learn. Encouraging young children to take an active role in their learning ensures the highest levels of involvement in their activities. We give the children opportunities to talk about where they live, their environment, their families and events in their own lives. They have hands on experiences such as cooking, playing in the sand and water trays, going on school trips and visiting the Forest School area. Our gardening sessions are key, as are our daily discovery questions, which are identified in discussion with the children. We also have 4 rabbits, a tortoise and a guinea pig; learning to care for these animals is a crucial learning experience.
Expressive Arts and Design
This includes art, music, dance, role-play, imaginative play and drama. Each Nursery unit has a role play area, which is changed regularly with a wide selection of dressing up clothes, and flexible resources which the children can use as they wish. There is also provision for role-play in our outdoor area.
The children have Music sessions when they are encouraged to sing and dance, explore pitch, rhythm and sound, and they also have the opportunity to explore a variety of musical instruments.
The creative areas in the Nursery are exceptionally well resourced, with free access to art supplies, junk materials and a wide variety of crafts. The children are encouraged to express themselves creatively in their play, and tasks are designed to introduce them to new artistic techniques and mediums.
The Nursery children are all involved in the annual Christmas Nativity production, with one Nativity for the Babies and Toddlers and another for the Transition Class children along with some of the older Prep pupils.
The children have regular access to the classroom computers and interactive whiteboard, enabling them to develop simple ICT skills such as mouse control, using the keyboard and using simple graphics programs and games. They are also encouraged to operate the CD player and battery operated toys, use digital cameras and dictaphones.
We track all children against the National ‘Development Matters’ documents, ensuring that all areas of development are addressed and extended. This tracking is passed on when your child starts school to ensure that they make the smoothest possible transition into their formal schooling.