Teaching and Learning
The Nursery School’s ethos strongly promotes that each child is unique. The provision across all areas is meticulously planned based on regularly updated, precise assessments of the children to meet the changing needs for inclusive practice. Through careful observations and planning, the children enjoy free access to a rich, varied and resource-filled environment that is stimulating, motivating, safe, secure, challenging, and age appropriate, combined with secure attachments with their Key Person and a ‘Buddy’ system (the second Key Person).
Experienced and knowledgeable practitioners use their expertise to guide, support and encourage the children to work at their own pace to achieve their full potential in all areas of learning and development.
The children are actively engaged and involved in decision-making, turn-taking, sharing and collaboration. The children in the pre-school classrooms use self-registers and choose where and what they want to engage with and explore. They choose their own resources and explore various activities throughout the day, both indoors and outdoors. The prepared environment, including provision for continuous play, provides free play, child-initiated, adult led and group activities.
Our practitioners have high expectations for the learning and development of all the children and this is underpinned by the themes and principles of the EYFS and the Montessori Method of education to achieve the learning outcomes. Teaching is of consistently high quality and responsive to the children’s needs. The prepared environment and the Key Person and ‘Buddy’ provide a secure base for the children to develop bonds, build positive relationships with adults and peers, and develop self-confidence, self-esteem and social skills, for example sharing and turn-taking through play.
The children play and learn in a rich language environment where the practitioners are role models and use their vast experience to encourage, support and focus on helping to develop in the prime areas of learning and development, enabling the children to reach their full potential.
As an Ofsted-registered early years setting, we follow the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage). Through games and play, the children will be learning the seven EYFS learning areas: communication and language; physical development; personal, social and emotional development; literacy; mathematics; understanding the world; expressive arts and design.
The prepared environment provides for age appropriate free play. Practitioners track the children’s interests and will encourage and support the child to explore at their own pace and level of interest, take risks and talk about their experiences and learning. This leads to developing children’s self-esteem, self-knowledge and confidence in their abilities. The practitioners use their skills and knowledge to make high quality observations and accurate assessments, monitoring the child’s learning and identifying their characteristics of learning by using the Early Years Outcomes as guideline. This helps practitioners use their expert knowledge and deep understanding of how children learn to plan activities that follow the children’s interests and lead on to the next development stage. These records are documented in the child’s Early Years Foundation Stage Profile folder and shared with parents. The practitioners and Management Team are involved in tracking and reviewing every child’s progress regularly to provide support and help promote learning and development in all areas of the curriculum.
My Montessori Child
Each child is unique and all planning is based on the children’s interests, individual needs and the precise assessments of their achievements. Practitioners support and lead the children to the next development stage. Spontaneous significant observations, daily parent and parents’ evening feedback, weekly focused child and home learning observations are contributed through the ‘My Montessori Child‘ and used to effectively plan suitable highly challenging activities for each individual child’s learning plan.
The children’s home language is supported by the Nursery School’s multicultural staff and resources, for example, songs, storybooks and artefacts from cultural resource bags. This forms a strong foundation for supporting the children’s home languages wherever possible. For example, greetings are made in the child’s and practitioner’s home languages. They participate in activities like music and movement and storytelling sessions at the Nursery School that are conducted by the librarian from the local library to gain confidence in communication and language. The children expand their learning through rhythm and rhyme with a variety of programmes including music, visits to the local library for reading sessions and trips to the theatre and to musical concerts. The children are continuously learning from the wider community through visits to the Nursery School from the fire brigade, lollipop people, dentist, and the police service.
The children show great interest and actively participate in the Nursery School’s celebrations of festivals and events learning to greet each other in different languages, and this helps to create awareness of the similarities and differences between different cultures. The practitioners are confident, and with support from the Cultural and Diversity officer provide an exceptional range of resources and activities that reflect and value the diversity of children’s experiences in line with British Values.
The children enjoy eating a variety of meals from different cultures and enjoy regular cooking sessions with our chef, who shares her expertise. The children gain in-depth knowledge of food, hygiene and healthy eating, growing their own vegetables, fruits and herbs and using them in their meal preparations. These sessions foster a positive attitude towards food, diversity and hygiene.
Parents are supported through the child’s learning from the initial home visit through to the settling in period and then by ongoing review meetings held with their child’s Key Person. During the settling in period, the Key Person/’Buddy’ and parent share information about the child’s routine, interests, needs, likes and dislikes. This initial information and the Key Person’s observations help establish the child’s starting point and nurture the positive relationship between Key Person/’Buddy’, parent and child. This observation record is shared with the parents at the settling in review meeting and contributes to initial assessments to discuss and plan the next steps.
Transitions, both within the Nursery School and to new settings, are a process involving the parents, child and both the current and new Key Person. Visits are organised before the child is settled into their new room and the parents have an induction meeting with the new Key Person.
Children’s progress is tracked from the time they start at the Nursery School until they leave, to monitor progress and development. These records are shared with the new school or next setting during the transition. The practitioners prepare the children for ‘big school’ after completing the ‘Going to big school questionnaire’ with parents, organising visits to their new school for settling in or welcoming staff from the schools to visit the children at the Nursery School.