At Ark Little Ridge our aim is to give all children the best possible to start to their school career by providing stimulating and enabling environments that cater for all children’s learning and emotional needs. We strive to deliver an ambitious curriculum that will build upon children’s knowledge and skills and continue to prepare them for future success throughout school life and beyond. We value close relationships with our parents and families and recognise the important role that this plays in developing the whole child. At the heart curriculum we aim to develop a love of reading as we feel this is the cornerstone to learning. We understand that the ability to communicate effectively is also key and therefore ensure that children are active participants in the learning process to ensure are high quality outcomes.
To ensure that we deliver a high-quality curriculum for our children at Ark Little Ridge we follow the guidelines form the statutory EYFS Framework and cover all areas of the Early Learning Goals. The curriculum is divided up into seven areas of learning; three of which are prime: personal, social and emotional development; communication and language and physical development. These prime areas of learning are integrally connected and are respected as transcending cultural differences. They reflect the early stages of child development and are critical for influencing later success in learning. When children start school, early intervention is a prominent feature of our teaching and learning process.
To facilitate this and to support all children achieve their full potential we;
- Make learning meaningful through drawing on children’s previous experiences and adding to the new.
- Create well defined spaces to facilitate progress with achieving the Early Learning goals.
- Make the areas, welcoming, stimulating, exciting so that children will want to explore and learn from them.
- Provide opportunities for learning in outdoor spaces including EYFS playgrounds and forest areas.
- Make resources accessible so children can select and be independent. This in turn fosters the characteristics of effective learning.
- Have meaningful conversations- adults will have more time to purposefully engage with children, to guide them in their learning through discussion, problem solving, clarifying and evaluating activities. This promotion of discussion will enable adults to check for understanding, identify misconceptions and help to respond and adapt teaching where necessary.
- Run the high scope ‘Plan, Do, Review’ approach which has, at its core, the belief that children gain confidence, initiative and a lifelong love of learning when involved in well supported activities of their own choosing. Such benefits, it is claimed, are carried into adult life, producing a generation with positive attitudes to education and society.
- Anchor learning through topic-based work.
- Provide a wide variety of quality text and have daily opportunities to listen to and take part in stories.
- Develop rich learning opportunities through play and playful teaching
- Support children to take risks and explore, indoors and outdoors
- Capture children’s learning by using EEXAT an online learning tool
- Provide opportunities for children to be active and develop healthy lifestyles.
- Maintain excellent communication with parents through opportunities to respond and add to their children’s learning experiences.
At Little Ridge, we also recognise the importance of taking learning outside because it aids the development of certain significant skills and knowledge:
- It allows and encourages children to relive their experiences through their most natural channel of movement
- Provides children with play, talk and sensory experiences suited to the outdoors
- Provides access to space to nurture mindbody growth.
- Encourages physical development and fitness
- Enhances the development of motor skills (gross and fine)
- Develops co-ordination, balance and body awareness using large play equipment
- Assessing and taking risks
- Provides rich opportunities for imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness
- Fostering a love of nature and the environment
- Supports children’s developing creativity and problem-solving skills
It is also important to take into consideration the social world we live in which can confine the opportunities children have to play outside, either from a safety point of view or due to lack of space. We provide an outdoor curriculum which compliments and is an extension of the indoor curriculum. The child’s interests and needs are reflected in the ever-changing outdoor environment as they progress through the foundation stage.
We also understand that there will need to be opportunities for more direct teaching, such as Phonics, Maths and letter formation. Therefore, we will ensure that children have daily adult directed lessons for these subject areas using quality programs such as RWI and My Mastery Mathematics. The learning environment will extend and build on these more formal learning sessions that take place and support them to embed the knowledge they have learnt. For example, using puppets and role play materials to retell stories they have heard during the week or exploring scales and measuring if that has been the focus of My Mastery. Staff are trained so that they are knowledgeable and confident in these areas.