The school’s aim is to nurture, motivate, inspire and challenge children in their learning, so that the nursery is a place where fascination, creativity and endless possibilities for learning are at the core of what we do and as such children learn clear dispositions, concepts, knowledge and skills and are firmly ready for the next stage of their educational phase.
Implementation: How we are going to implement our curriculum
Our implementation of our curriculum is based on a clear pedagogical platform which recognises key principles and characteristics of effective teaching and learning.
Key principles are:
- every child is a unique child; we focus on using children’s interests to effectively move them on in their learning combined with a clear recognition of different learning styles.
- children learn through positive relationships and enabling environments which engages parents/carers as partners in young children’s learning. We have a key person approach, recognising an engaging environment is one that promotes both challenge and independence with effective interactions which facilitates children to progress rapidly in their learning be it a skill, knowledge, disposition or concept.
Key characteristics of effective teaching and learning : How we implement such characteristics
Playing and exploring – engagement
- Focus on hands on concrete learning experiences over a period of time; which enables children to sustain and extend their learning be it: knowledge, skills, dispositions and concepts.
- Daily evaluations of learning that focuses on building on the learning: (knowledge –what we want children to know; skills-what we want children to be able to do; dispositions-behaviour we want children to display; and concepts-what we want children to understand).
- High quality training : staff meetings focusing on video reflection of teaching and learning
- Focus on thinking language: staff focus on using limited questions which promote thinking. I wonder, what do you think, that looks interesting, have you noticed……. Additionally, promoting children’s ability to reflect, for example this term children were involved in creating a large car (that they could actually sit in) and focused on seeing how they can improve their car, its speed, its safety.
Active learning – motivation
This term (Autumn Term 2022) children have been involved in an extensive range of learning experiences that has enabled children to develop their depth learning. Such learning has included the following:
- Developing positive relationships with key people and learning nursery routine
- Listening and re-telling familiar stories as well as creating their own stories
- Learning about Rosh HaShanah
- Learning about African and Afro-Caribbean culture and heritage by cooking traditional recipes and learning words in different languages.
- Learning about Diwali
- Learning to work collaboratively through making models and role play areas
- Learning to observe, comment, predict and hypothesise when learning how to make and cook on the fire pit
- Learning about the natural world including observing and learning about autumnal changes such as leaves shedding and animals hibernating.
- Learning to count and recognise numerals through our cafe role play
See the Headteacher’s blog for a more extensive understanding of depth and breadth of curricular coverage.
Creating and thinking critically – thinking
At Wentworth we use open ended questions and pondering language to enhancing children’s thinking skills and ability to reflect. For example children this term have been exploring the concepts of wind, and clouds and through this conducting a range of experiments.
The school consequently uses a range of tools and strategies to ensure the curriculum is robust these include:
- Systematic evaluations of learning including reviewing of support plans for all our children with SEND, end of day evaluations which clearly looks at what the learning is and how it will be developed, with a clear focus on specific children as well as evaluation of child initiated play.
- A multi-disciplinary approach including the engagement with a Speech and Language
- An evidence based approach to teaching including the use of communicative strategies to enhance language development including the utilisation of Lego Therapy (promoting interaction), Out and about (development of language and self esteem) and PECS (picture exchange System); to develop children’s ability to make choices.
- learning walks (clear cycle of learning walks, which rapidly addresses areas for development as well as highlighting strengths).
- SIP (School Improvement visits).
- High quality training
- Sharing and developing pedagogy through cross borough working
- Training delivered to other schools and settings (which enables us to reflect on our practice)
Through such tools the curriculum provides a balance between engaging in adult directed learning and in child initiated play (development of turn taking, using one’s imagination, working collaboratively, making sense of their world). The learning environments are designed at Wentworth Nursery School to facilitate independence, autonomy and challenge. Consequently in all areas of learning; resources, (there is a high emphasis on books/literature) are available to the children that promote: independence, challenge and motivation for learning, coupled with highly trained practitioners to move learning on through the skilful intervention including the modelling of high aspirational language, (including thinking language: I wonder, what do you think), which is re-visited over a period of time.
At Wentworth we recognise children learn at different rates and in different ways consequently we plan individual learning priorities for each child, based on their interests and curriculum entitlement with a clear focus on developing children’s self regulation in part supported by a key-worker system.
Through the above application of the characteristics to effective teaching and learning we follow and go beyond the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which provides ambitious expectations of our children.
The EYFS Curriculum
The first three are known as the Prime Areas of Learning:
- Personal Social and Emotional Development
- personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children should be supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary.
- Through supported interaction with other children they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably. Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently.
- Communication and Language Development
- The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development.
- The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children’s language effectively.
- Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive.
- Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.
- Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives.
- Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being.
- Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination which is later linked to early literacy.
The latter four areas are identified as the Specific areas of learning:
- It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading.
- Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language
comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth.
- It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the
books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and
- Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy
working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the
speedy recognition of familiar printed words.
- Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring
them in speech, before writing).
- Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them, manipulatives and the patterns within those numbers.
- In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures.
- It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.
- Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them –from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters.
- In addition, listening to a broad selection of books o will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.
- Expressive Arts and Design
- The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity.
- It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.
The implementation of the curriculum is achieved in the following ways:
- End of day evaluations: unpicking both the learning relating to child initiated play and adult directed learning. Recognition that learning comprises of:
- Knowledge (what do want our children to know)
- Skills (what do want our children to be able to do)
- Concepts (what do want our children to understand)
- Dispositions (behaviours we want to foster e.g. ask questions, willingness to have a go)
- Weekly evaluations of learning, to inform future planning.
- Half termly review of individual children’s learning priorities, so the momentum for learning is continuing
- Pupil progress meetings: to review priorities and ensure priorities for each individual child is met.
- Tracking of learning across all areas of learning; to ensure both breadth and depth of coverage.
- Termly reviews of data to establish key strengths and areas for development
Partnership with parents/carers is achieved in the following ways:
- Initial meetings with the Headteacher and the child’s key-worker
- Home visits (face to face)
- Termly reviews between parent and key-worker and ultimately involving the child
- Parent/carer workshops
- Parents/Carers participating within the nursery through a range of activities.
- Weekly blog to inform parents about the learning that has taken place within the school
- Half termly newsletters
- Home learning
Impact: what have the children learned
Children make rapid progress in their attainment, over 73% achieved age related expectations and beyond in all areas of the curriculum July 2022.