At BritAcademy we believe that every child should be valued and respected and deserves the very best possible start in life and support to fulfill their potential.
We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage’s (EYFS) principled approach to guide the work we do with children. This principled approach is built on four guiding themes:
• A Unique Child – every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
• Positive Relationships – children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and their key person.
• Enabling Environments – the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.
• Learning and Development – children develop and learn in different ways and at different times.
When applying the above four principles, we look carefully at the children, consider their needs, their interests and their stages of development and use all this information to help plan a challenging and enjoyable experience across all areas of Learning and Development. There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years’ settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. The three areas that are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive are known as prime areas:
• Communication and Language
• Physical Development
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
These prime areas are then supported and strengthened through the following four specific areas:
• Understanding the World
• Expressive Arts and Design
They are equally important and depend on each other to support a rounded approach to child development. All areas are delivered through planned, purposeful play, with a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems and relate to others. Children are encouraged and supported through play which reflects their wide ranging and varied interests and pre-occupations. We believe that in their play children learn at their highest level and that play with peers is important for children’s development. Children are also encouraged to be active in their learning as they learn best through physical and metal challenges which are achievable. This means that their learning needs to involve other people, objects, ideas and events and engage/involve them for sustained periods.
As practitioners, we support children to enhance their ability to think critically and ask questions by providing opportunities to play with ideas in different situations and with a variety of resources which encourage them to discover and make connections.
Parents are children’s first and most enduring educators and so we endeavour to ensure to work in close partnership with parents as this has a positive impact on children’s development and learning.
In order to provide children with a secure foundation for future learning in school and beyond and by being sensitive to individual children’s needs. We operate a key person system. Every child has an identified key person with special responsibility for a small group of children. They ensure that the activities / experiences offered on a daily basis are suitable for the stage the children have reached and enable learning to be fun and enjoyable.
For this to happen, key persons:
• Follow a consistent and appropriate daily routine, which is displayed in every room for staff, parents, students and visitors to refer to.
• Carry out on-going observational assessments to inform planning for each child’s continuing development through play based activities / experiences. Encourage parents to contribute to their child’s on-going assessment and ensure they are kept up to date with their progress towards the early learning goals.
• Take a flexible approach which responds quickly to children’s interests, learning and development needs.
• Work to ensure there is coherent communication across different settings the child attends and to the child’s experience at home.
To ensure we offer high quality experiences we regularly reflect on our practice and so continually look for ways to improve the quality of the learning, development and care offered to our children. All our Staff receives and attends regular training and development updates, in order to provide the best quality learning experience for the children.
Aims for our children to feel safe, nurtured, loved and supported:
• To provide a carefully planned, bright and busy environment in which children can develop skills, attitudes and understanding that will help them to live full satisfying lives and become confident, useful, active members of a diverse constantly‐changing society.
• To provide opportunities for each child to become a valued member of the school community so that a strong self‐image and self‐esteem are promoted.
• To develop, through appropriate adult support for play, key learning skills such as listening, speaking, concentration, persistence and learning to work together and to co‐operate with other children.
• To encourage a positive attitude with a disposition to learn, where curiosity, excitement, willingness to ‘have a go’ and persistence are all equally fostered.
• For each child to be sociable, happy, enquiring, confident and stimulated.
• For each child to communicate her/his needs, understand those of others and to be ready to move on and make the most of what school and life have to offer.
• To provide a broad and challenging experience for our children, both indoors and outside.
• To develop the intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potential of every child.
• To nurture the independent growth of the individual characteristics of each child.
• To prepare children for formal schooling in an academic environment, for an academic style.
• To promote healthy growth through correct nutrition, fresh air and hygiene.
• To celebrate success as being the starting point to learning
• To establish a partnership with all parents for the mutual benefit of children, parents and staff.
• To offer opportunities for each child to ‘find out’ both verbally and non‐verbally, through language, books, equipment, music, visits, meals, visual stimuli, mathematics and play.
• To continually assess and evaluate the development of each child by systematic and regular observation.
• To recognise signs of mismatch with normal development and to liase with parents and expert help accordingly.
What we study with our pupils is aimed at supporting the following four areas of achievement:
1. That our pupils can express themselves in both the spoken and written word and understand and remember facts accurately.
2. That our pupils can apply their knowledge when carrying out practical or problem solving activities
3. That our pupils develop personal and social skills, such as being able to work with other children and, when appropriate, take on leadership roles.
4. That our pupils develop self-confidence and self-discipline and the commitment to learn and persevere with a task even when the task seems to be extremely difficult
There are different types of observations
Informal Focus for a week such as a social interaction or a skill
We write down when this is observed at any time in the week – on stick its/ notepads etc
Spontaneous Notes taken while playing with a child ‘On the Spot’
Noting anything significant – write on plans/ on a celebration board/ on speech bubbles
Area observation Board/ paper in a specific learning area – may be noting a skill or how the children use the space Daily Timed Specific focus on a time of day – perhaps transition times.
Group Session Notes on specific learning objectives for a particular group of children Tracking Target a child for a period of time. Maybe tracking where they play/ who they play with.
In planning and guiding children’s activities, staff always reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice.
Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements;
creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
• The children are given opportunities to explore, learn, and make sense of the world through structured play. They practise and build up ideas, and learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. Children have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems.
• Activities to promote play, learning and development are planned for both indoors and outside which encourages children to be active, enthusiastic learners. The children make their own selection of the activities on offer as this encourages independent learning.
• Monitoring the learning and development of each child will take place through regular formal and informal observations, discussion, photographs, record keeping and planned assessments.
• Informal assessments to test individual children’s abilities will take place at the start of the year.
• Evidence towards the completion of the EYFS Profile is compiled on an ongoing basis and is passed on to the next teacher at the end of each year. Evidence of children’s learning and development is kept in each child’s individual learning journey file and supports teachers in planning the next steps for individual children throughout the year. The information is also used to report on the progress in each of the seven areas of learning to parents.
Active learning occurs when children are motivated and interested. Children need to have some independence and control over their learning. As children develop their confidence, they learn to make decisions. This provides children with a sense of satisfaction as they take ownership of their learning.
Creativity and Thinking Critically
When children have opportunities to play with ideas in different situations and with a variety of resources they discover connections and come to new and better understandings and ways of doing things. Adult support in this process enhances their ability to think critically and ask questions.
Playing and Exploring
Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences which help them make sense of the world. They practise and build up ideas, and learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems.
‘Children learn best through physical and mental challenges. Active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve children for sustained periods.’
Children should be given opportunities to be creative through all areas of learning, not just through arts. Adults can support children’s thinking and help them to make connections by showing genuine interest, offering encouragement, clarifying ideas and asking open questions. Children can access resources freely and are allowed to move them around in the classroom to extend their learning.