The pre-school unit aims to provide a broad and balanced curriculum in a positive atmosphere delivered by professional and experienced staff who are fundamental to a high standard of care and education. There are opportunities for children to share and form relationships, make choices, to discuss and experiment, to ask questions, to develop essential physical and manipulative skills, to learn through play and planned activities, to communicate and to concentrate and persevere.
Staff in our pre-school units work with small groups of children on specific learning goals. We always operate in excess of the required staff to child ratio of one to eight for three to four year olds.
Our pre-school children all take part in a high quality phonics programme called Letters and Sounds. This was published by the Department of Education and Skills in 2007. Phase one of this programme is followed in the early years and it continues throughout primary school, up to phase six. The programme is designed to promote and develop your child’s speaking and listening skills. It equips them with phonic knowledge and skills, paving the way to make a good start on reading and writing. The Letters and Sounds documentation is available to peruse at all of our nurseries.
Children in our pre-school units are taught basic words in a variety of languages which introduces children to the concepts of different languages as well as enabling any of our children who have a dual language to feel valued and feel welcome within the nursery.
The children are encouraged to grow and nurture vegetables and flowers in their garden. As well as being an integral part of the curriculum this teaches the children to become confident in their surroundings and show a responsibility towards the environment and respect the outdoors. It also engenders in them a greater interest in where our food comes from and in healthy eating.
The children in pre-school also take part in dance sessions daily, promoting a sense of spacial awareness, co-ordination, social skills and promoting a fun and active lifestyle.
The transition of children to school is an area where we work hard to ensure that we make this as smooth as possible. We invite the reception teachers from local schools to visit the children within the setting in the summer before they start in the September, and during those summer months we transform the home corner into a school room, to familiarise children with uniform and lunchboxes etc. We work very closely with schools and provide a transition to school report when children leave us. This whole process helps make the move to school less stressful for children and parents alike.
“Children make rapid progress as they play freely and spontaneously in the well-planned, vibrant environment. Staff respond positively to the information provided by parents and plan enthusiastically for individual learning needs and interests.”
Wendy Fitton, Ofsted inspector, Tottington Nursery, 04/08/11