Learning & Development
At the Children’s Workshop all children are supported in developing their potential at their own pace. Our Key Person system enables us to ensure a planned curriculum is tailored to the needs of each individual child.
We offer a curriculum which is fun, interesting and based on our children’s own interests and experiences. We hope that by the time our children leave us they have enjoyed and experienced a broad and balanced curriculum which has fuelled imaginations and sparked a desire to learn. We believe that our children leave us equipped with the skills and confidence needed to embark on their next step of their learning journey…….’.big school’.
Communication and Language
Being able to listen and communicate are important skills and at the Children’s Workshop we try to encourage and develop this. Children are encouraged to listen and attend; we take opportunities to extend children’s vocabulary and fluency. They are given opportunities to follow instructions and to answer “how” and “why” questions about their experiences. We place an emphasis on listening to each other and encourage children to talk about their experiences, talk to each other and further their communication skills.
Expressive Arts and Design
Children are encouraged to use a wide range of resources in order to express their imaginations, own ideas and feelings. Art equipment, including paint, glue, crayons, pencils as well as natural resources, provides for the exploration of colour, shape and texture and the development of skills in painting, drawing and colour. We often look at artists and talk about how the artists have painted the pictures; Mondrian, Van Gogh, Ciro and Andrew Goldsworthy whose art is created with natural resources. Children join in with and respond to music, dance and songs, poems and stories. There are opportunities for imaginative role play throughout the pre-school, both individually and as part of a group.
At the Children’s Workshop we love stories and rhymes. We recognise the importance of listening to stories – “If you want your child to be intelligent read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales”.
Research into the development and acquisition of early literacy skills has conclusively shown that rhythm and rhyme play a hugely important role. This is because children’s early literacy skills are about listening and speaking rather then reading and writing. These first two skills are the bedrock for the latter and create much stronger ability in children’s reading and writing skills if ingrained early on. It’s very hard to learn phonics if you can’t discriminate sounds and rhyming patterns and it is very hard to write if you have not been exposed to oral language and the conventions of stories.
We listen to and read plenty of stories, songs and rhymes at he Children’s Workshop. We want our children to experience the awe, fascination, curiosity, excitement and empathy to name but a few that the written word can provoke. We like our children to become familiar with books, able to handle them and become aware of their uses, both for reference and as a source of stories and pictures. Children are helped to understand that written symbols carry meaning, to be aware of the purpose of writing and, when they are ready, to use drawn and written symbols for themselves. We encourage the children to write for a purpose and every attempt at making marks is praised and before you know it those little ‘scribbles’ (emergent writing) become recognisable letters and then words start to appear.
Mathematical learning and the concept of number is brought into all areas of learning at the Children’s Workshop. Maths is taught spontaneously during children’s play and also through carefully planned activities. It is taught both implicitly and explicitly. Children are learning the concept of number when they are laying a table for the three bears in the home corner. They are sharing cars with their friends, counting leaves, using bricks to create patterns and shapes. We measure feet, hands and ourselves, estimate how many cups of water will fill a bottle and sort and match objects according to size, colour and shape.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
At the Workshop, we feel that PSED is an extremely important area of development. We encourage the children to listen to each other, be kind, helpful and develop empathy. Within a nurturing environment, children are individually supported in developing confidence, self awareness and self-respect. They are encouraged to work and concentrate independently and also to take part in the life of the group, sharing and co-operating with other children and adults, forging positive relationships with adults and other children. Through activities, conversation and practical example they learn acceptable ways to express their own feelings and to have respect for the feelings of others. All children are given the opportunity, as appropriate, to take responsibility for themselves and also for the group and their learning environment, children learn that some behaviours are unacceptable and positive behaviour is recognised. Children learn to be independent, to make choices, put on their own coats, learn self care and most importantly how to get along with each other.
We provide a range of equipment and opportunities both indoors, and out of doors, allowing children to develop confidence and enjoyment in using and developing their own bodily skills. Outside play is part of our planned curriculum and children can take ‘safe risks’ in our play area which has a safety surface. This enables children to safely create and meet physical challenges, increasing their skills and control in moving, climbing and balancing. At the same time, children are supported in the development of the fine motor skills required to use tools, including pens and pencils, and to handle small objects with increasing control and precision. Woodwork is one of our favourite activities, great concentration and hand eye coordination is needed! The importance of healthy exercise and eating is emphasised and children are supported in learning to manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs.
Understanding the World
Children learn about similarities and differences between themselves and others, among families, communities and traditions through visitors, books and resources and celebrating events throughout the year. Children are encouraged to explore and understand their environment, both within the group and also in the wider community.
With the children’s help, we developed a bug hunting area and the children built a ‘bug hotel’. This area is regularly visited by the children to hunt for bugs, feed the birds and generally sit back and observe nature. We also involve the children in planting vegetables and flowers so that they can learn about growth and gain an awareness of the environment we have around us and how to look after it.
Children have access to a wide range of ICT such as digital cameras, computers and remote control vehicles.
British values and respect for each other is interwoven throughout all we do.
We also regularly incorporate and develop our children’s critical thinking skills.
We have a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) theme where the children are given activities that will appropriately challenge their thinking skills and encourages them to think creatively, problem solve and work cooperatively together.
Recently we have been incorporating Yoga into our routine of the day as we feel this benefits the children greatly. It is a chance for the children to develop concentration, focus, and improve core strength, balance and self awareness. It also supports positive mental health and encourages healthy habits.
We regularly cook which is a great learning opportunity in itself and incorporates all areas of learning. Children use their mathematical knowledge when counting and weighing and sharing. Hand eye coordination is needed for cutting, slicing and stirring.
Healthy food habits can be reinforced during the activity and knowledge about where our food comes from can be discussed. Watching ingredients change in shape and texture brings in science and of course the children feel a great sense of accomplishment with the end result…..hopefully it will be tasty too!