Teaching and Learning
We aim to ensure that each child:
Is in a safe and stimulating environment
Is given generous care and attention
Has the chance to join in with other children and adults to play, work and learn together
Is able to take forward his/her learning and development by being helped to build on what he/she already knows and can do.
Learning Through Play
Play helps young children to learn and develop through doing and talking, which research has shown to be the means by which young children learn to think.
At Little Acorns we use the ‘Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage’ (DMEYFS) guidance to plan and provide a range of play activities, which help children to make progress in each of the areas of learning and development. In some cases, children decide how they will use the activity and in others an adult takes the lead in helping the children to take part in the activity.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
This refers to the ways in which children engage with other people and their environment.
The DMEYFS guidance describes the characteristics of effective learning as:
Playing and exploring
Creating and thinking critically
Through observing how a child is learning, we aim to be clear about what we can do and provide in order to support each child to remain an effective and motivated learner.
The provision for children’s development and learning is guided by the Early Years Foundation
Stage (DfE 2012). Full details can be found at http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/early-yearsfoundation-stage-2012.
Our provision reflects the four overarching principles of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage:
A Unique Child
Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners, parents and carers.
Learning and Development
Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
EYFS Areas of Learning and Development
Children start to learn about the world around them from the moment they are born. The care and education we offer helps children to continue to do this by providing interesting activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.
The Areas of Development and Learning comprise:
*Personal, social and emotional development.
*Communication and language.
*Understanding the world.
*Expressive arts and design.
For each area, the level of progress that children are expected to have attained by the end of the EYFS is defined by the Early Learning Goals. These goals state what it is expected that children will know, and be able to do, by the end of the reception year of their education.
The Development Matters guidance sets out the likely stages of progress a child makes along their learning journey towards the Early Learning Goals. Our setting has regard to these matters when we assess children and plan for their learning.
This programme supports children to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need for:
EYFS: Areas of Development and Learning
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
*Self confidence and self awareness
*Managing feelings and behaviour
*Moving and handling
*Health and self-care
Communication and Language
*Listening and attention
*Shape, space and measure
Expressive Arts and Design
*Exploring and using media and materials
Understanding the World
*People and communities
At Little Acorns we use a key person approach. This means that each member of staff has a group of children for whom she/he is particularly responsible. We believe that children settle best when they have a key person to relate to, who knows them and their parents well, and who can meet their individual needs. It encourages secure relationships which support children to thrive, give parents confidence and make the setting a happy place to attend or work in. Your child’s key person will be the person who works with you to make sure that the childcare that we provide is right for your child’s particular needs and interests. When your child first starts at Little Acorns they will be monitored and observed by our Manager and Deputy, who will help your child to settle. Once settled, your child will be allocated a key person based on their attendance pattern and attachments formed in the setting. Throughout your child’s time at Little Acorns, their key person will help your child to benefit from the setting’s activities. We want children to feel safe, stimulated and happy in the setting and to feel secure and comfortable with our staff. We also want parents to have confidence in both their children’s well-being and their role as active partners within our setting. These procedures set out a model for developing a key person approach that promotes effective and positive relationships for children.
The key person is responsible for:
*Offering unconditional regard for the child and being non-judgemental.
*Working with the parents to plan and deliver a personalised plan for the child’s well-being, care and learning
*Acting as the key contact for the parents.
*Developmental records and for sharing information on a regular basis with the child’s parents to keep those records up to date, reflecting the full picture of the child in our setting and at home.
*Encouraging positive relationships between children in her/his key group, spending time with them as a group each day.
*We promote the role of the key person as the child’s primary carer in our setting, and as the basis for establishing relationships with other adults and children.
*Before a child starts to attend our setting, we use a variety of ways to provide his/her parents with information. These include written information (including our essential information and policies) *During the half-term before a child is enrolled, we provide opportunities for the child
and his/her parents to visit the setting. The child’s registration records are completed by the parent/carer and returned to us before the child starts at Pre-School.
*We have an expectation that the parent, carer or close relative, may stay for part of the session during the first week, gradually taking time away from their child; increasing this time as and when the child is able to cope.
*Younger children will take longer to settle in, as will children who have not previously spent time away from home. Children who have had a period of absence may also need their parent to be on hand to re- settle them.
*We recognise that some children will settle more readily than others.
*We do not believe that leaving a child to cry will help them to settle any quicker. We believe
that a child’s distress will prevent them from learning and gaining the best from the setting.
If a child continues to be distressed once the parent/carer has left we will, where appropriate, contact the parent/carer to discuss what action to take in the best interest of the child. This may mean delaying entry to the setting until the child is more able to cope.
*Within the first four to six weeks of starting, we undertake a ‘settling in observation’. This is a ten minute snapshot of what the child is doing. We do not interact with the child during this time (unless the child wishes us to) but simply observe and note what they do and say. This allows us to gauge how the child is settling in and learning to interact with peers.
*The key person and other staff members will make written observations during daily activities to be recorded within our Tapestry Online Journal. These observations are used to identify achievements made in line with the EYFS seven areas of development and Characteristics of Effective Learning. We can also identify areas within the child’s learning which may require further attention to develop.
*We will provide a Review of Progress Report each term. We encourage parents to work with us to help each child reach their full potential.
We assess how young children are learning and developing by observing them frequently. We use information that we gain from observations, as well as from photographs or videos of the children, to document their progress and where this may be leading them. We believe that parents/carers know their children best and we ask you to contribute to assessment by sharing information about what your children like to do at home and how you are supporting their development.
The Progress Check at Age Two
When a child is aged between 24 – 36 months, the Early Years Foundation Stage requires that we supply parents/carers with a short written summary of their child’s development in the three prime areas of learning and development:
*Personal, social and emotional development
*Communication and language
Your child’s key person will be responsible for completing the progress check at age two using information from ongoing observational assessments carried out as part of our everyday practice.
The progress check aims to review the child’s development and ensures that parents have a clear picture of their child’s development. Within the progress check, the key person will note areas where the child is progressing well and identify areas where progress is less than expected. The progress check will describe the actions that will be taken by us to address any developmental concerns (including working with other professionals where appropriate) as agreed with the parent(s). The key person will liaise with the Pre-School Leader and Deputy to plan activities to meet the child’s needs within the setting and will support parents to understand the child’s needs in order to enhance their development at home.
At Little Acorns we recognise parents and carers as the first and most important educators of their children. We see ourselves as partners with you in providing care and education for your children, and believe that all parents/carers have a right to be:
Valued and respected
Involved and included at all levels
You can support us by:
*Exchanging knowledge about your children’s needs, activities, interests and progress with the staff.
*Keeping an open dialogue with us regarding any concerns you may have.
*Providing us with a current email address for billing and general communication, and ensuring that you inform us of any changes to emergency contact information.
Parents are always welcome to drop into the setting to speak with the staff. We also update the blog weekly to communicate any special activities/themes or events happening at Little Acorns, along with other leaflets and posters for events and services that may be of interest.