Our Nursery Environment has been through a period of change. Whilst it is still set up with lots of areas of continuous provision, our environment seeks to encourage children's natural investigations and interest through a range of natural, open ended resources. The purpose of effective continuous provision is to offer children a constant environment that is safe for them to explore whilst challenging their learning. It should allow children the freedom to explore and become independent in making choices.
An important part of the EYFS is to support children in becoming active learners; continuous provision allows children to demonstrate this aspect and practitioners can closely observe this during their play. Continuous provision supports children’s learning and development across all seven areas and the characteristics of effective learning.
Below are some of the areas of continuous provision that you will find in Hollingwood Nursery.
We have introduced a new area into Nursery this year in our Loose Parts Workshop. The Curiosity Approach® is a modern day approach to Early Childhood, taking parts from Reggio, Steiner, Te Whāriki with a sprinkle of Montessori. It's a beautiful recipe book of wonderful ingredients, carefully mixed together with experience, passion and a love of Early Childhood. It's baked together in a mindful oven of loveliness that needs thoughtful practitioners and professionals to be mentally present, thankful and forever curious about their career with little children. Be Curious, Have Fun, Make a Difference!
Role play is an important part of child development as it builds confidence, creativity, communication, physical development and problem solving. Along with being a fun activity, it also allows children to get into character and act out real life roles. We love making cups of tea and baking buns for each other. We iron the baby clothes and wash them in the bath. We all go shopping together.
Role play is so much fun!
Mathematical language is supported through construction play as children learn to recognise and name the shapes that they are using. They will be able to count the bricks and learn how many are left standing as their towers topple over. Measuring skills will playfully be introduced as we learn which tower is the tallest or which is the shortest.
Construction play is very, very busy work!
Sand play also promotes social skills. When children work together at the Sand Area they are faced with real problems that require sharing, compromising, and negotiating. A group may engage in role play as they 'cook', construct roadways, dig tunnels, or create a zoo for small world animals. As children take on roles associated with their early role play, they learn important social skills such as empathy and perspective taking.
Mathematical and scientific concepts can be developed during sand play by providing children with measuring spoons and cups, containers in a variety of sizes and shapes, balance scales, or counting bears.
Early mathematicians and scientists can be made in the Sand Area!
Water play fosters learning in all developmental areas. It provides opportunities for children to experiment with maths and science concepts, strengthen their physical skills, advance their social and emotional skills, and enhance language development.
As children manipulate water play materials, they begin to understand why and how things happen. For example, given sinking and floating objects, a child will soon discover that just because something is large in size does not mean it will sink. Children begin to understand and experiment with concepts such as more/less, same/different, many/few, empty/full, before/after, greater than/less than and counting.
Water play encourages the development of eye/hand coordination through pouring, squeezing, stirring, painting, scrubbing, and squirting. Children strengthen their gross motor skills by running, dodging water drops, and hopping through a sprinkler. They widen their sensory experiences as they put their hands in different textures (gritty, squishy, and slimy) and different temperatures (warm, cool, and cold).
Water play is one of the most relaxing activities children can experience. Water play relieves tension by encouraging children to release their emotions with pouring, pounding, and swooshing. In addition, social skills expand as children play cooperatively; negotiate; and share equipment, space, and materials.
Children learn new vocabulary such as sieve, funnel, eggbeater, stream, bubbly, moisture, and evaporation. Water play is such a meaningful experience for young children that it can be extended to writing experiences as well.
We learn so much through playing with Water Area!
The malleable properties of playdough make it fun for investigation and exploration as well as secretly building up strength in all the tiny hand muscles and tendons, making them ready for pencil and scissor control later on.
As part of simple, tactile play it can be squashed, squeezed, rolled, flattened, chopped, cut, scored, raked, punctured, poked and shredded! Each one of these different actions aids fine motor development in a different way, not to mention hand-eye co ordination and general concentration. And as soon as you add another element to it, like essences, natural materials, colouring etc. the list of benefits and creative play possibilities continues to grow!
We make our hands and fingers really strong in the Playdough Area!
Painting is a way for children to do many important things: convey ideas, express emotion, use their senses, explore colour, explore process and outcomes, and create aesthetically pleasing works and experiences.
Children form many connections and ideas of how the painting process works for them, as well as what they enjoy about it. When we observe a child painting, we see a fully engaged child. We can almost see children’s thoughts, such as, "When I push my brush flat, my line gets bigger”, or “I like stirring this, but I don’t want to put it on paper or touch it”, or “I mixed red with more red and orange, and got fire colour red!”
In the Painting Area we learn to be artists; to express ourselves in texture, form and colour!
Our half termly information sheets give parents a guide as to what we are working on each half term. This will enable you to help at home by discussing the different topics with your child or perhaps extending their learning by incorporating a particular subject into your families weekend activities.
Please click here to read all about the 9 Types of Play and Why They Matter
In order to support our youngest children become confident language users, we have introduced some simple but effective strategies within the classroom.
Keeping it Visual
Betsy Bear in Nursery
Betsy Bear has been introduced to the children to encourage good learning behaviours. Betsy expects:
In order to help the children to sequence their day and particular routines, we have simple visual timetables that allow a 'first, then, next, finally' sequence to take place.
The children have been introduced to 'This is what tidy looks like...' photographs in every area of provision to enable them to be independent when tidying away the resources. Song boards allow the children to visually see which songs we are learning and objects of reference are used to encourage children to make links.
We have introduced visual task plans with the children and parents to enable them to sequence an activity that initially would require adult support with the intention that the more familiar they are with the plans, the more independent they become. Task Plans also utilise the 'first, then, next, finally' language.
Word Wise Whizz
In order to build vocabulary, we have introduced our Word Wise Whizz. The children will work through developmentally appropriate vocabulary and be scaffolded to understand and use each term correctly. Our wizarding hats and vocabulary books will be built up across the year.
Blank Level Questions
Language of Learning Trees
We are very aware of the language we as adults use with our youngest children. In order to ensure we are questioning the children at the right level, we use the 4 levels of Blank to scaffold children's language development. Examples of children's use of language based on these levels (and accompanying adult's questioning) are to be found on our Language of Learning Trees, displayed in all our Early Years classrooms.
Level 1: Naming Level 2: Describing Level 3: Re-telling Level 4: Justifying
The four principles of the EYFS
'Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances.' (Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, 2012).
There are four guiding principles which shape our practice:
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 through positive relationships.
Enabling environments: Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
Learning and Development: Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Characteristics of Effective Learning:
‘The ways in which the child engages with other people and the environment—playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically—underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.'
Playing and Exploring (Engagement)
This characteristic of effective learning involves:
Active Learning (Motivation)
This characteristic of effective learning involves:
Creating and Thinking Critically
This characteristic of effective learning involves:
Characteristics of Effective Learning: Process over Outcome gives you prompts as to how to identify whether your child is demonstrating skills within each characteristic.
Please share all of your adventures with us by updating Early Essence regularly.
At Hollingwood Primary School, we recognise that the best homework of all in the early years of school is family time; playing together, talking together, reading, enjoying books, resting and not being too overscheduled after school each day.
The best types of homework for young children and their parents in their first years of school include:
We do know that some parents want a little guidance as to how to enhance children's playful exploration at home. Below you will find some Helpful Hints of home activities to get you started:
Personal, Social and Health Education underpins all we do in our Foundation Stage. During their time in Nursery and Reception we are supporting the children all the time so they can become confident, resilient and responsible learners who enjoy positive relationships with their peers.
Here are some of the reasons why PSHE is such an important part of what we do in Foundation Stage:
Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop:
PSHE Education happens all the time in Nursery and Reception as we teach the children how to look after themselves, share, play together and resolve issues - like who had the toy first! However, we also have some key themes which we cover in our PSHE through circle time and small group activities.
All Aboard: Early Intervention Programme
For children who require a little extra support in developing their language, social and early learning skills, Nursery and Reception classes now run an All Aboard Early Intervention Programme. Each of the three, one hour All Aboard sessions per week combines four key elements in order to address each of these areas for development.
Each session starts with ‘Family Time’ during which the children and the All Aboard leader sit together for snack. During this time they have the opportunity to talk about things of interest to the children, revise previous learning and practice social and practical skills.
Following on from this is ‘Activity Time’, during which activities linked to the children’s interests or to the class theme are carried out. This gives the opportunity for shared experiences, rehearsed learning and consolidation of basic skills in a small group setting.
The third element of the All Aboard session is ‘Circle Time’. Addressing this in a small group enables the children to build their confidence in participating and practice skills such as turn taking and listening. Each session closes with ‘Story Time’. The same story is repeated over a whole week to give the children opportunity to become increasingly familiar with it and eventually lead the story themselves.
The final but crucial element of All Aboard is parental involvement. Once a week, one of a series of ‘Home Activities’ is sent home for parents to complete with their children. These activities are intentionally informal and fun, with the express aim of encouraging parent child interaction and the development of positive relationships.
We like to keep parents up to date with our classroom antics. Here are some of our recent ones
We had such a lovely time in the build up to Christmas this year. The children explored a range of activities ... and the parents joined in too!
The first week after the October half term holidays was a fun hive of Halloween and Autumn activities. As part of our language development work we ran an Autumn Tray activity.
The children were asked three specific language questions and their answers recorded on their Early Essence Learning Journal:
Question 1: What can you see?
Question 2: Where did they come from?
Question 3: Why are the leaves not on the trees anymore?
The staff and children all had a fantastic time at our Halloween Fancy Dress Party. The children really enjoyed dressing up and working to the sound of spooky music. We had lots of scary monsters, witches and zombies in the classroom for the day. Can you work out who is who?
The Nursery children have been spending every Friday in our Forest. We have been so proud of how well the children have responded to the challenges of the outdoors - the change in weather, the size of the space and the trust we have placed in them as they explore independently.
On their first visit to the forest, the children explored within the safety of a familiar adult. The staff had to show the children how to move branches carefully so they could get past, or to pick themselves off the ground if they had fallen over their wellies.
Now, only a few weeks later, the children explore with confidence - they notice the environment around them and explore with awe. We have children who will persevere as they climb up bankings, showing resilience as they try again if they didn't succeed the first time. They travel under branches, over tree roots and through small spaces between bushes.
The Nursery children have formed strong relationships with the older Reception children that join us and the younger Short Circuit children that have started to come along to the forest with us too. We love being in the forest!
We have so much fun at the forest that parents comment that their children ask "is it Forest Friday yet?"
Thank you to everyone who made our #10: Sharing Stories event so successful. We hoped you enjoyed your Bookstart Reading Packs, Library Books and introduction to 50 Things to Do Before You're 5 poster and app.
Fostering a love of books at an early age has significant impact on children's learning and development in a range of ways. Listening to stories being read or spoken aloud in the first 3 years of a child's life is critical to language development. We hope we sent you away with resources and ideas for you to enhance the early reading skills of your child during your time with us at Nursery.
2014 to present
As our cluster developed, our priorities led us to become an autonomous group of Early Years Practitioners. We now have a range of ongoing activities across each academic year that enables us to be responsive to the needs of our group and the changes that occur within early years. Some of these include:
Leader Days: Our Early Years Leaders meet regularly across each academic year. This allows us to work on collaborative projects such as cluster action planning, staff meeting outlines, data analysis, writing a SEF and CPD activities.
Staff Meetings: Each half term, we now have a dedicated EY staff meeting within the cluster. Each school hosts a staff evening, allowing all staff to visit all the settings within our cluster. The content of each staff meeting varies. Topics have included: Speech and Language Development, SEN in the Early Years, Engaging Boys and Outdoor Learning.
Great Heights Data Pack: Each school shares their Nursery and Reception baseline, mid-year and end of year data. This is then compiled into a cluster data pack that is then used across our schools to identify trends, areas of strengths/development and commonalities.
Moderation Case Studies: The case studies are an evolution on the traditional moderation activities. As a cluster, we devised particular open-ended activities that each school delivers at the same point in the year. Observational notes and evidence is then shared amongst the cluster at follow-up meetings to allow Nursery and Reception staff to moderate judgments. This has been particularly useful as it has allowed a common language and a common activity to provide us with more evidence of subtleties between the bands of development.
Continuing Professional Development: Cluster activities allow us to identify areas of particular need within our cluster and targeted training be delivered by a range of strong practitioners within our group as appropriate. This has allowed us to tailor content to the needs of our schools.
We are extremely proud of the work we have achieved through our Great Heights Early Years Cluster. Our strength as a group continues to grow as other settings request to join. We now have involvement from Farnham Primary School, Farfield Primary School and St Pauls Primary School.
2013-2014 Early Years Transition into Year One Project
In order to build on the project of 2012-2013, this year’s project aims to support the transition of Early Years knowledge and practice into Year One. Headteachers have continued to commit to financing bespoke training from an EY Consultant to ensure all staff working within Year One, including Key Stage One leaders and TAs, to have a working knowledge of Early Years principles in order to best support the transition process.
Feedback from staff
There was overwhelmingly positive feedback from all schools at the end of each training session. Comments from personal emails include:
‘I have to pass on everyone’s thanks for the programme and our involvement. Kim is very inspirational…we all felt we were improving.’ Margaret Weighman, Farnham
‘The feedback from staff has been great. They have found Kim informative, approachable and realistic, as have I. Getting together with other Early Years teams is also very useful. I am looking forward to continuing the work next year if the heads agree (no pressure!).’ Leanne Truesdale, Brackenhill
During Hollingwood’s Ofsted 2013, the EY inspector commented on the moderation portfolio from Nursery by noting that he had never seen one made up before and was impressed that we had dedicated time to the earlier ages and stages of development.
During the Great Heights Reading project, teachers voiced their desire to continue the network and links we had established across 2011-2012. The revised guidance for the Early Years was introduced in March 2012, for implementation on 1st September 2012. In order to support one another during the significant changes to the EYFS from September 2012, it was agreed by Heads that an EY project should run to support the assessment process to ensure consistent and secure judgments across our schools in the ages and stages of development.
A clearer understanding of how children develop through Ages and Stages of Development (AOD) highlighted a substantial area of need for all settings for moderation of judgments, particularly within the Reception year. In order to support staff work through these developments, our project’s aims were to:
Due to the success of the 2011-2012 project Heads from all schools within the cluster agreed to financially support the recruitment of an EY Consultant to provide external and bespoke training on the priorities that the cluster identified. The aim was for all staff, including support staff, to have an intense programme of EY specific training, as well as each school to have targeted time with the consultant to work on school-based needs.
Once again, to have the biggest impact on the children within our cluster, we felt that it was important to deliver the training in a particular order, to ‘build up’ to the culmination of the profile submission at the end of the Reception year, before addressing the area of transition into Year One. The successes of the previous year allowed us to continue working in our working parties to address moderation specific questions and share evidence towards particular ages and stages. Reception staff found this particularly beneficial as the changes to their assessment and reporting arrangements had left staff particularly worried about the end of year summative assessments.
The sharing of good practice during our continued visits has allowed us to continue to share inspiration and ideas across our cluster.
Activities included within this year’s project:
In 2011, The Great Heights Partnership identified the raising of standards in reading as a key priority across our cluster of schools. The guiding principle was that all children will receive quality phonics teaching which ensures that they enter KS2 working at age related expectations. This progress will be maintained throughout all key stages in order to ensure that pupils leave our Primary Schools as readers.
Initially a core group of three teachers, comprising of Donna Sagar (Hollingwood), Liz Bowen (Russell Hall) and Christine Riley (Stocks Lane) were asked to investigate and identify across the three schools:
The core group were given a ‘day’ to tour each school together and reflect on how best to meet the project’s aims. The conversation naturally fell into a topic focused primarily on phonics: its delivery, resourcing and application. Throughout the process of the day and the refining of our thinking, we began to focus more on how we stimulated and engaged our children in a love of reading, appreciation of stories and the comprehension of plots. The visits allowed us the opportunity to evaluate the provision we offered our children, reflect upon the opportunities we provided our children with and begin to really question what, if any, key learning opportunities we were missing out on.
In order to make the biggest impact on the children within our cluster, we felt the best way to do this would be to invite all Early Years (EY) teachers to a meeting that would set out the priorities for a year-long collaboration project. The aim was to break off into working parties that worked towards building a progression document for supporting the development of reading in the EY within the specific ages and stages of development. By sharing good practice and visiting our cluster settings, we incorporated how to develop practice and provision, as well as the adults’ role in supporting early reading. To compliment this body of work, we collated observational evidence that supported our judgements of what reading skills ‘looked like’ for children in the 22-36 months, 30-50 months and 40-60 months bands of development.
As children move through our Foundation Stage, we support them to achieve developmentally appropriate milestones. We are guided by Development Matters, which plots the development of children from birth to 60 months.
For more information on guiding your child through the Early Years Foundation Stage please see the 'What to expect, when?' document.
If you feel unsure about your child’s development or have any concerns, please speak to your child’s class teacher. Alternatively you might want to speak to someone from your local Children’s Centre, or health professional.
For information about NHS services and support for parents visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/services-support-for-parents.aspx
To find a Sure Start Children’s Centre in your area visit: www.gov.uk/find-sure-start-childrens-centre
Useful resources can also be found at the following links:
|Book Trust transforms lives by getting children and families reading.||Resources to support reading of all ages to develop the skills that will improve their opportunities in life.|
|Children’s Food Trust||www.childrensfoodtrust.org.uk/parents||Leaflets and guides||Range of advice and information to ensure a balanced diet in the early years.|
|Small Talk||For parents of children aged 0-5 to show where children are likely to be with their communication at a certain age.|
|Top Tips Leaflet||10 Top Tips to help parents or professionals develop children and young people’s communication skills|
|Through the eyes of a child||Four films full of useful advice on how parents can encourage their child to talk and interact with them.|
|Misunderstood||Information for those who want to find out more about supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs.|
|Resources to encourage listening, understanding, interaction and play.|
|Pack with games and activities that support families to encourage children’s communication skills when they are out and about this Summer.|
|Families in the
|www.foundationyears.org.uk/parents||Outline of information available to parents to help in making choices and plans. Links are also provided to other websites to offer you more information if you need it.||This site is designed to help you work your way through the information and support on offer to help your child get off to a great start in life.|
|finder.familyandchildcaretrust.org||Information on services available to parents.||Your local Family Information Service (FIS) provides a range of information for parents from details of local childcare and early years provision to family activities in your area.|
|www.fivetothrive.org.uk/resources||Five to thrive||Printed guides, posters, pop-up banners and a range of age-specific supplements are all available to support the implementation of five to thrive.|
|www.literacytrust.org.uk/early_years||Early Words Together||Early Words Together is a targeted, literacy peer education programme for families with children aged two to five that empowers parents to support their child’s early learning, through small groups run within an early years setting.|
|How does what parents say about maths affect
|Falkirk Council Education Services have created a lovely video with some great suggestions for everyday maths activities.|
|Help Your Child With Numeracy: Age Range 3-7||Clear descriptions of the ways in which maths is taught in schools today, as well as examples of the kinds of calculations children will learn at different ages.|
|Parents in Touch||www.parentsintouch.co.uk||How I can help my under 5 year old||Resources to help with maths, phonics, handwriting and English.|
|www.playengland.org.uk/resources.aspx||Reports and guides||Written by experts, the resources ensure that parents access to a wide-range of research, good practice and guidance to support them to increase children’s freedom to play.|
|Start4Life||www.nhs.uk/start4life||Support throughout pregnancy and as baby grows.||All the help and advice you need during pregnancy, birth and parenthood for mums, dads, family and friends.|
From September 2017, the Government will be introducing the extended entitlement to 30 hours free provision – an additional 15 hours a week for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.
Hollingwood Nursery will be working in partnership with Short Circuits Care Club and other local providers to enable parents to access the 30 hours over two settings.
Hollingwood Nursery will continue to run morning (8:30 – 11:30) and afternoon (12:30 – 3:30) sessions.
The additional hours will be taken up through the partnerships with other settings.
Eligibility for the additional hours will be determined by the HMRC, not Hollingwood Primary School. To find out whether your child is eligible to access the extended hours, please visit the Childcare Choices website: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/
If you are successful, you will be allocated an 11 digit eligibility code that you must give to the school office and second provider of the extended hours as soon as possible.
Bradford have produced their own flyer. For more information, you can access their website at the address below.