As laid out within the revised Development matters (2021) the ‘7 key features of effective practice’ detail fundamental principles which could allow a setting to provide the highest quality care and education to children in their early years.
Through this blog series, we are working as a team to produce information which covers each of these 7 areas and how they are promoted at Little Hands. For the third feature, we are looking at Curriculum. At Little Hands ‘curriculum’ means the conscious journey a child goes through to be prepared for their next stage of learning.
- “The curriculum is a top level plan of everything the early years setting wants the children to learn.”
At Little Hands Daycare we promote the Early Years Foundation Stage. This is a very important stage as it helps your child get ready for school as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. From the time your child is born up until the age of five, their early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs.
- “Planning to help every child develop their language is vital.”
Little Hands works closely with a range of professionals including Speech and Language Therapists to ensure that additional support is provided at the highest level for any child with a Speech Language and Communication Need.
However, Little Hands also prides itself on providing extremely high quality teaching and learning opportunities for each and every child’s Communication and Language skills. Both settings hold a ‘Communication Friendly Setting’ Accreditation and all staff have completed extensive training to enhance their already outstanding practice for Communication and Language.
To further compliment the above, Little Hands also uses a speech and language programme called Talk Boost to further enhance children’s Communication and Language abilities. This programme can be used as an intervention/ small group style learning opportunity for children who need additional support. However, Little Hands finds the programme equally effective when integrated into our daily practices and group times.
- “The curriculum needs to be ambitious. Careful sequencing will help children to build their learning over time.”
Creating a curriculum that is broad, fascinating, ambitious and engaging to each and every child is crucial to ensuring that children develop a passion for learning to suit their individual self. To do this, Little Hands uses a number of documents, research models and teaching styles including the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), The Curiosity approach, Talk Boost, child led learning and more.
- “Young children’s learning is often driven by their interests. Plans need to be flexible.”
Our Curriculum aims to provide an environment where children can explore with every day and natural objects. Children learn by pursuing their own interests, the child’s key person assesses and moves the learning on in the moment to extend their learning. Within our play spaces, there are lots of open-ended resources which encourage children to think of their own ideas, become an active learner and show high levels of interest. We aim that by the time children leave us for school, we have equipped them with all of the valuable knowledge, skills and experiences that they need to continue on their pathway of learning throughout their education.
- “Babies and young children do not develop in a fixed way. Their development is like a spider’s web with many strands, not a straight line.”
Our team is highly alert to individual children’s learning and care needs, tailoring each element of a child’s day at nursery, to them. Activities and learning opportunities can be accessed by a whole group of children and carefully adapted to suit the wide ranging needs of each child. Our practitioners can subtly make adjustments to allow even the youngest of our children to safely access the same opportunities as their peers. Equally, they have ideas to regularly extend learning for those who are ready to move onto the next stage.
- “Depth in early learning is much more important than covering lots of things in a superficial way.”
Learning is regularly revisited to ensure it is a secure concept for each child. This learning is further embedded when explored in a wide range of ways through different media and exploration. For example, when preparing a child to hold a pencil and be able to write; we begin in our baby room. To be able to hold a mark making implement, children need to develop muscles in their arms and hands and have role modelling for appropriate ways to do this. Not only that, but children need to develop muscles throughout the trunk of their body which will allow them to sit up straight, be comfortable and ready to write. Furthermore, a child should experience the joy of writing and mark making with lots of opportunities to explore their individual style. All of the above things are done continuously throughout their time at Little Hands from lots of tummy time, opportunities to do the things they love and develop their attention span, dough gym to strengthen the hand, painting with cars, paint brushes, leaves and many many other mark making opportunities to develop their pleasure and understanding.