Learning in the early years is important in its own right, not just a preparation for primary school. Children are active learners. They learn through all their senses through exploration, investigation, trying out, listening and watching as well as play. Children are social learners and interaction with other children and adults is encouraged. Play and the child’s own motivation are essential to learning. We provide for each child’s individual learning requirements and interests including those children who need additional support or who have particular needs or disabilities.
Our Sunshine room activities follow the Early Years Foundation Stage. This involves learning through play and covers the seven areas of learning*:
Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
French lessons are available by an outside agency for an extra fee. These half hour lessons take place twice a week; they introduce the children to French and also create awareness of foreign languages and cultures. Another very popular extra activity is Little Kickers who come twice a week to teach football through play.
During the summer we hold a themed garden party for the Duckling and Rainbow children with a bouncy castle and a ball pit to play on and indoors we hold a buffet tea. The Sunshine children enjoy a summer barbeque or a trip to such places as Marwell, Paultons Park or The Sea Life Centre. At Christmas we all participate in a Christmas concert which is held at the Otterbourne Village Hall and is performed by the Rainbow and Sunshine children with the Ducklings in the audience. Parents are invited to participate in all of these activities and we have always been very well supported.
*(Source: Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage)