“The curriculum is excellent. The breadth of opportunities, experiences and challenges children can access in the garden or on ’The Wild Side’, which is an additional incredible section of the grounds where children can feel they are deep in the woods. The activities indoors balance and build on this special strength. Everything is carefully organised so all children work at times in small groups or with adults, developing specific skills as well as following their own interests. A range of visits, such as one to a children’s ballet, and visitors, enhance the curriculum further.”
Ofsted, October 2014
Young children are active social learners, from birth they have an awesome capacity to make sense of their world, to explore, examine and understand it. They learn best in situations which are meaningful and make sense to them. They learn from everything around them – the people, the environment, the atmosphere, the routine and the experiences.
Young children learn by:
All of these elements make up “the nursery curriculum”. All aspects of children’s growth and development are woven together, but it is interesting to look at the different areas of learning separately to understand how young children learn.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum describes the areas of learning, with ‘Early Learning Goals’ to be aimed for by the end of children’s Reception year in primary school. At Brantfield our learning and teaching strategies are based on the knowledge that children learn at varying rates; that learning is not necessarily linear; and that individuals learn in different ways.
“What did you do at Nursery today?”
Often, when adults ask this question, the common replies are: “nothing”, “don’t know”, or “just playing”.
Sometimes children make something, draw or paint, so you can see what they’ve done. Often their play has nothing to show for it; the learning is invisible.
By making the learning visible through “Learning Stories”, using written observations, photographs, children’s work and their words, we can understand the learning that is happening and share experiences with the children, their parents and families, and with each other.
In this way, we can plan more effectively to provide meaningful, appropriate experiences which extend children’s interests and passions, nudging them gently forward to extend their learning. These learning stories are collected in each child’s “Special Book” by their key carer and develop into a wonderful record of their learning at home and Brantfield while they are 2, 3 and 4 years old.
“The enthusiasm and excitement for learning are tremendous strengths of this school. The large, wooded garden is used to its full potential, creating an exciting and adventurous world for children to learn in. And…… All children receive high-quality support in their learning and, as a result, make very good progress from their individual starting points. Achievement is outstanding, with many children beginning to read and write by the time they leave nursery.”
Ofsted, October 2014
We also ‘make learning visible’ on the walls by documenting the thoughts and comments of both children and staff alongside the children’s work and photos of them busy in the many exciting experiences we provide. This helps parents to understand the learning process and be part of it both at home and Brantfield. Please take time to read these very informative displays.
Veronica gives illustrated talks during the year on topics such as ‘young children’s learning’ and ‘supporting reading and writing development’ which all parents are welcome to attend.
For more information about the Early Years Foundation Stage please visit the Foundation Years website.
Brantfield’s philosophy guides our practice –
Brantfield promotes high quality inclusive early years education with clear
outcomes for children aged between birth and 4 years. Brantfield’s approach provides equal opportunities for all individuals, taking account of their uniqueness, values,
abilities, traditions and lifestyles. Happiness and a joy for learning, taught and
practised through play, underpin Brantfield’s philosophy. Self-esteem, confidence and
well-being are nurtured. Respect and tolerance for peers is developed through
interaction and co-operation. As part of the caring Brantfield community the children begin to gain their independence through carefully planned transitions and progress to celebrate the wider community of which they are part.
Through close liaison and respectful partnerships with parents and carers Brantfield staff actively promote children’s and families’ well-being. The well qualified staff
observe, listen and respond to each individual child to facilitate high quality learning experiences through the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (2014), based on play and communication. Brantfield fully endorses the EYFS key characteristics of effective learning and use them to celebrate children’s learning and achievements. Staff constantly evaluate their practice and seek to create the best learning
environment for all children.
Children leave Brantfield having had a wealth of experiences; our aspiration is that they are happy, confident, independent and eager to continue their education.
“We look after and care for ourselves, each other and our nursery.”
Here are some websites which you may find helpful; they contain information about play, children’s learning and development including how you can help your child’s developing speech and language.
Words For Life; I Can; the National Literacy Trust; Play, Talk, Read; Foundation Years; Cbeebies; Early Education and Best Beginnings.
First Hand Experiences.
Young children learn best by having a wide variety of direct experiences. At Brantfield many of these occur either in the garden or inside and we also take children out into the community. If costs are incurred we ask parents for a voluntary contribution in line with our Charging and Remission policy which is available from the office by request.