The Early Years Foundation Stage Principles and the Montessori philosophy provides a framework that informs the way we organise and care for our children. The nursery day is carefully balanced so that children have time to be active, time to play and be noisy, time to be quiet, time to listen, time to concentrate, and time to rest. The curriculum is child led and the key person will meet the needs of each unique child through careful observation and planning.
Elm Park Nursery recognises the importance of early language awareness and staff members aim to provide the conditions necessary for children to develop and extend their language skills. Early stimulation and good quality care are essential for children to develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially.
When working with the babies and toddlers, independence, confidence and mobility are encouraged through a variety of activities using a strong sensory approach. Treasure baskets, heuristic play, cooking, singing songs and music times, outdoor play and co-ordination activities are included in the weekly time-table.
We recognise the importance of the role of the Early Years practitioner in setting the foundations for learning. Our curriculum is planned using the Montessori philosophy and principles guided by the statutory requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
The EYFS covers children from birth to 31st August following their fifth birthday. It aims to help young children achieve the five ‘Every Child Matters (ECM)’ outcomes, which are: Staying Safe; Being Healthy; Enjoying and Achieving; Making a Positive Contribution; and Achieving Economic Well Being.
The EYFS framework also incorporates seven broad areas of learning, which are:
• Personal, Social, and Emotional Development
• Communication and Language development
• Literacy skills
• Mathematical Development
• Understanding the World
• Physical Development
• Expressive arts and design
To find out more about the EYFS see www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/eyfs.
In our curriculum there is a focus on conceptual development. Young children learn best by doing and by being involved, so the nursery possesses a wide range of manipulative equipment designed to promote effective and enjoyable learning. Social and physical development too, is not over-looked.
We place emphasis on developing an ‘inquiring mind’ and ‘love of learning’ through sustained shared thinking, and set the foundations for the more academic skills in Arithmetic and Language, which will dovetail into the National Curriculum at ‘big school’.
Some of the things we aim for the children to be able to know and do by the time they leave us include:
• Recognise and write their names, know the names and sounds of letters of the alphabet and start to read.
• Familiarity with a range of songs and nursery rhymes, and classic and modern children’s stories.
• Recognise and count numerals up to 20, and beyond, understand that all numerals have a value, carry out simple addition and subtraction operations (by demonstrating this practically).
• Simple scientific concepts (including hot/cold, air, magnetism, seasonal changes, life cycles, growth & change)
• Geographical concepts (including continents and their names, oceans/seas and their names, places such as their neighbourhood, town, country).
The educational work at Elm Park Nursery is guided by a rich blend of educational philosophies, including Montessori, which we find particularly appropriate with the plentiful supply of excellent manipulative equipment.