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. Our setting uses the Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage 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 of these activities, 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. In all activities, information from 'Development Matters' the Early Years Foundation Stage has been used to decide what equipment to provide and how to provide it.
Characteristics of effective learning
We understand that all children engage with other people and their environment through the characteristics of effective learning that are described in the Development Matters the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance as:
- playing and exploring - engagement;
- active learning - motivation; and
- creating and thinking critically - thinking.
We aim to provide for the characteristics of effective learning by observing how a child is learning and being clear about what we can do and provide in order to support each child to remain an effective and motivated learner.
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 of the children, to document their progress and where this may be leading them. We believe that parents know their children best and we ask them to contribute to assessment by sharing information about what their children like to do at home and how they, as parents, are supporting development.
The setting keeps a record of achievement for each child. Your child's record of achievement helps us to celebrate together her/his achievements and to work together to provide what your child needs for her/his well-being and to make progress.
Your child's key person will work in partnership with you to keep this record. To do this you and she/he will collect information about your child's needs, activities, interests and achievements. This information will enable the key person to identify your child's stage of progress. You and the key person will then decide on how to help your child to move on to the next stage.
The progress check at aged 2
The Early Years Foundation Stage requires that we supply parents and 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; physical development; and communication and language; when a child is aged between 24 - 36 months. The key person is responsible for completing the check using information from ongoing observational assessments carried out as part of our everyday practice, taking account of the views and contributions of parents and other professionals.
For more information on the EYFS please visit the DfE website
How parents take part in the setting
Our setting recognises parents as the first and most important educators of their children. All of the staff see themselves as partners with parents in providing care and education for their children. There are many ways in which parents take part in making the setting a welcoming and stimulating place for children and parents, such as:
- exchanging knowledge about their children's needs, activities, interests and progress with the staff;
- contributing to the progress check at age two;
- helping at sessions of the setting;
- sharing their own special interests with the children;
- helping to provide and look after the equipment and materials used in the children's play activities;
- being part of the management of the setting where appropriate;
- taking part in events and informal discussions about the activities and curriculum provided by the setting;
- joining in community activities, in which the setting takes part; and
- building friendships with other parents in the setting.
We welcome parents to drop into the setting to see it at work or to speak with the staff.
Key person and your child
Our setting uses a key person approach. This means that each member of staff has a group of children for whom she/he is particularly responsible. 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 the setting, she/he will help your child to settle and throughout your child's time at the setting, she/he will help your child to benefit from the setting's activities.
Learning opportunities for adults
As well as gaining childcare qualifications, our staff take part in further training to help them to keep up-to date with thinking about early years care and education. The setting also keeps itself up-to-date with best practice, as a member of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, through Under 5 magazine and other publications produced by the Alliance. The current copy of Under 5 is available for you to read.
The management of our setting
A parent management committee - whose members are elected by the parents of the children who attend the setting - manages the setting. The elections take place at our Annual General Meeting. The committee is responsible for:
- managing the setting's finances;
- employing and managing the staff;
- making sure that the setting has, and works to, policies that help it to provide a high quality service; and
- making sure that the setting works in partnership with the children's parents.
The Annual General Meeting is open to the parents of all of the children who attend the setting. It is our shared forum for looking back over the previous year's activities and shaping the coming year's plan.