Early Explorers and Happy Hearts Curriculum
We understand that for many of our children, this will be the first experience of being away from home. We work carefully with parents and carers to ensure they feel supported and that their children feel safe and secure in our care. Our trained and experienced Early Years staff work hard to build relationships and make the transition as smooth as possible.
In the Early Years, children learn through a wide variety of approaches. This includes:
Children in the Early Years need a balanced curriculum which includes teaching which has been carefully planned according to their developing needs and interests, as well as allowing plenty of time for spontaneous child-initiated learning. They need organised, adult-guided learning to bring new ideas and experiences into their lives and for the direct teaching of new skills and concepts. These will deepen or consolidate their learning over time.
In Happy Hears and Early Explorers, we offer:
Carefully considered enhancements or learning opportunities are added to the environment and adapted regularly. These are planned to support children’s next steps in learning and provide challenge, based on staff observations of the children. We encourage all areas of learning and we plan activities for both the indoor and outdoor environment. Activities include (but are not limited too) painting, mark making, music and movement, role play, cookery, arts and crafts, sand and water play, construction, games, maths, iPad and sensory play.
In Happy Hearts and Early Explorers, short and interactive Phase 1 phonic activities are provided to support the development of pre-phonic skills. These skills are: Environmental Sound Discrimination; Instrumental Sound Discrimination; Body Percussion Sound Discrimination; Rhythm and Rhyme; Alliteration; Voice Sounds; and Oral Segmenting and Blending. Activities can include listening walks, nursery rhyme time and exploring making sounds with our voices. We also use the BookWings Alphabet Rhyme Time book to encourage phonemic awareness and focus on Rhythm, Rhyme and Alliteration, and children will continue and develop this further in Reception.
Daily Squiggle While You Wiggle and Dough Disco sessions develop children’s fine and gross motor skills, which are important to establish before beginning early writing. In order for children to have good handwriting and pencil grip later, they need to develop strong hand, arm and core muscles first, which these activities aim to do.
Storytime sessions each day aim to develop a love of reading, as well as exposing children to new vocabulary. A wide variety of books are chosen which capture children’s interests or link to our overarching topic.
Maths is strategically planned and sequenced across the year to build on children’s prior knowledge and introduce new skills in small steps. Maths sessions are interactive and practical, encouraging children to explore and problem-solve. Short, adult-led sessions which explicitly model and teach a new skill are then supported through enhancements in the environment which encourage children to revisit what they have previously learnt and apply it with increasing skill.
There is a specific PE lesson once a week which teaches children a variety of physical skills such as running, balancing, throwing and turn taking. Physical activity is also promoted within our environments, with dedicated fine motor skills area in each classroom and a carefully developed outdoor area which offers opportunities for digging, bike riding and building amongst many others.
Forest School is offered to all children weekly, with morning and afternoon sessions running on the same day. Children are able to experience wearing waterproofs and wellies and attempting to dress themselves, splash in puddles, hunt for mini-beasts and climb trees. Forest School is led by Mrs Newman who is a trained and experienced Forest School Leader.
A variety of trips and experiences are offered to children throughout the year.
Home learning in Happy Hearts and Early Explorers includes:
· Picture books sent home weekly for children to explore
· Engaging with Seesaw
· Knowledge Organisers outlining our topic with suggestions of things to do at home to support children’s learning (Coming soon!)
· Stay and Play sessions and Workshops