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Curriculum

Overview

“The term curriculum is used to describe everything children do, see, hear or feel in their setting, both planned and unplanned." - Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage. We operate fully within the Early Years Foundation Stage framework (EYFS April 2017)

 Aims    Our carefully planned curriculum is tailored to the needs of the individual child allowing every child to progress successfully through the EYFS and foster a love of learning. Through skilful observation and assessment, well planned activities and opportunities the staff encourage children to gain skills with the minimum of pressure and lots of fun.

A balance of child-initiated and adult-led activity encourages the children to be successful through play and exploration. We aim for children to be well prepared for their next stage and we support every child to make excellent progress in relation to their different starting points.

We aim to provide a challenging and enjoyable environment where staff support children’s learning and look for ways to extend their knowledge and interests by offering open-ended and curious resources to inspire children to engage deeply in their work.

We use open ended questioning to promote active learning and critical thinking, increasing the ability of children to offer appropriate responses and extend their own learning. The curriculum of the EYFS underpins all future learning by promoting and developing three prime and four specific areas.

 Prime areas:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development
  • Communication and Language

Specific areas:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive Arts and Design

Each child is allocated a key person who will assess children’s learning and development against the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and work closely with parents and carers, starting with a home visit before the child starts attending nursery. 

If a child is two years-old, during the first half-term key workers use their observations and knowledge of the children to complete a “two-year-old progress check”.  This covers the “prime areas of learning”, Personal, Social, Emotional Development, Language and Communication and  Physical Development.  This assessment is shared with parents and carers, who are invited to contribute their knowledge of their child, and is used to plan future learning opportunities, including any additional needs. Parents are encouraged to share their Health Visitor 2-year-old check at the same time.

If a child is three years-old, during the first half-term key workers use their observations and knowledge of the children to make baseline assessments across all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage.  This assessment is shared with parents and carers, who are invited to contribute their knowledge of their child, and is used to plan future learning opportunities, including any additional needs.

Children’s progress is reviewed every term, using the milestones in the Early Excellence assessment tracker, and the “Development matters” framework. Each key person also assess how children are developing their Characteristics of Effective Learning, and how they can be supported in becoming confident independent learners.  Regular parent meetings are planned where we share these assessments and plan for children’s next steps together.

The key person also completes “Learning Stories” which celebrate examples of significant learning. These are available as part of an online learning journal and are printed out as a keepsake when children leave Childhaven.  Parents are given unique access codes to access the stories when children have started and can also contribute learning from home quickly and conveniently.

In the last term before children move to Primary schools, we make the final assessment and complete a transition profile, which is shared with parents and carers before being passed to their new school.

In planning and guiding activities, we reflect on the different ways that children learn. 

Playing and exploring

We have a play-based curriculum where children are provided with opportunities to; find out their own interests, explore and try things out, make their own choices and decisions, play collaboratively with peers and adults, develop a 'can-do' attitude to learning and use what they know and experiment through play. We have stimulating resources which are accessible, open ended and can be used and combined in a variety of ways and are relevant to the children’s interests. We have space indoors and outdoors where children are given challenges that are appropriate to the development of the individual child.

 Active learning

Children are provided with opportunities for self-chosen and self-directed play. We get to know our children well and observe and reflect on a daily basis, both formally and informally, on what rouses the children’s curiosity, looking for signs of deep involvement. Therefore we can provide activities and experiences that are related to their interests and areas of enthusiasm.  We ensure children are given the time and freedom to become deeply involved in activities. Children are given verbal and emotional support to help them to persist and keep trying in order to achieve their aims. We give positive feedback to behaviour that shows children’s learning processes – such as concentrating, trying different approaches, persisting and having new ideas.

Creating and thinking critically

We establish boundaries in space, time, resources, choice and supportive relationships that children can explore within. We support children’s interests over time, remind them of previous approaches and encourage them to make connections between their experiences. We build in opportunities for children to play and explore with ideas and resources before or after a planned task. Adults also try to be sensitive conversational partners and co-thinkers to children’s problems, showing and talking about strategies and sometimes modelling the creative process. Children are encouraged to learn together and from each other. We try to foster a learning community which focuses on how, and not just what, we are learning.

Our School Curriculum