Children learn best when they are motivated and engaged in what they are doing. They are born explorers and, particularly in the early years, we believe it is vital that children are given the space and freedom to investigate, to discover and to follow their own pathways, with guidance from trusted adults.
Play is at the very heart of our curriculum, yet the word ‘play’ is often misunderstood. At our Nursery, the challenge that excites us is how we make play motivating and engaging but, most crucially, progressive. As a teacher-led setting and as part of a wider school community, we do not see teaching as separate from play, nor do we infer teaching to mean one fixed view of how things should be done. To us, teaching encompasses all the different ways adults help children to learn and develop. We employ a range of approaches, strategies and techniques to ensure high-quality early years provision:
This is when children are given the freedom to explore the environment, both inside and out, and choose and direct their own activities, with guidance from our highly-skilled practitioners. Within each area of our provision, it would be our intention to stock it with a variety of interesting, stimulating resources that engage children and have the potential to extend their learning. Our approach takes into account ‘common play behaviours’ – essentially what children are likely to do in a certain area with a certain set of resources. We would then align this to their level of experience and stock the area with bespoke equipment designed to stimulate them and extend their learning.
Structured learning times
To supplement children’s ‘child-initiated’ learning, we also plan a daily programme of short, targeted teaching, where activities are pre-planned with, in the majority of cases, a specific outcome in mind. d