At Rothesay, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance and our nursery curriculum includes provision for the following seven areas of learning and experience:
Communication and Language
We provide children with opportunities to develop their confidence in communication through 1:1 conversations, small group work and modelling, alongside Makaton signing. This includes our children for whom English is an Additional Language. Our daily Language Groups are a fun, targeted group that children attend to support their level of speaking, listening and understanding through the use of Attention Boxes, songs, signing and story books.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
A sense of self-worth and self-confidence are essential for child development. We encourage children to be independent and to feel safe and secure in environments away from their care-givers. We support our children to make positive relationships with both adults and peers, and to show respect to others. We offer opportunities for children to learn to manage their feelings and to express their emotions as well as to recognise how others are feeling.
Our indoor/outdoor environments provide children with the opportunities to be physically active and our meadow offers children experience to explore natural environments. We have a soft-play room which is used by all children to further develop their co-ordination, control and movement. We support the children to learn about and make healthy choices in relation to food at snack time. Our dressing up areas and outdoor weather gear offers the chance to develop self-help skills in getting dressed/undressed.
We provide an environment rich in language and print, with a range of mark making tools for even our youngest children to access. We read books with the children daily and both fiction and non-fiction reading materials are in and around our nursery for children to access as they please. We have core books that are available and used regularly as a basis for learning to love and retell familiar stories. We support the children through phase 1 of phonics early in N1 and begin phase 2 as and when the children are ready.
We recognise that maths skills are part of daily life and as such, we ensure that all areas of our environments are rich in the vocabulary of numbers, shape and measure. We plan maths activities that will develop the children’s passion to problem solve, notice patterns, and develop life skills. We understand the importance of children developing a confidence in the deep understanding of numbers 1-10 and the relationships between them and being able to make links and spot connections.
Understanding the World
We help children to make sense of the world through the exploration of a range of technology toys, of their physical environments and of their local and wider communities through books, stories and cultural celebrations. We use our outdoor areas to talk about growth, change and environments, and organise trips, and visits from members of the local community, to support their knowledge and understanding of society. We encourage children to ask questions and make observations about what they have noticed. We understand the importance of our children knowing that they live in a diverse community and the value of this.
Expressive Arts and Design
We support children to explore and interact with a wide range of media and materials. We help to enable children to grow in confidence when joining in with singing and playing instruments, both in the classrooms and in our fully resourced music room. We provide sessions of music, following Sound Communities as a basis, which allows children to work individually and in small groups, to develop their understanding of rhythm and how to express themselves through music. Dancing and movement are encouraged during children’s play and art/craft activities are always available for children to access. Each classroom has a role-play area that supports the children’s imagination and communication.
Children who present with a Special Educational Need or Disability are provided with a bespoke curriculum tailored to their needs. Our highly skilled staff identify children’s needs using their experience and the Early Years SEN Developmental Profile and then plan differentiated activities. We cover all areas of the curriculum, both indoors and outdoors, and provide enhanced sensory experiences such as visits to our magic sensory room, and interventions such as Identiplay and Intensive Interaction. We use Makaton signing and picture/object of exchange for supporting communication. As necessary, we use external professionals to support the needs of our children with SEND and to support the families with any extra support they may require.
Thrive® promotes children’s and young people’s positive mental health by helping adults know how to be and what to do in response to their differing and sometimes distressed behaviour.
We adopted the Thrive Approach in 2018 to support the mental well-being of all the children who come to Rothesay. The approach was developed using neuroscience and childhood development research. The online assessment and action-planning tools are invaluable in assessing the social and emotional development of our children. We have found that it complements the EYFS Framework for PSED and goes further to support our children to become more confident and capable in dealing with their sometimes very complex emotions. We have four Thrive Licenced Practitioners, and the whole team has had training from an external Thrive Licenced Trainer.
We have recently been awarded Ambassador School Status by Thrive. BBC Look East came to nursery to celebrate our award with our children appearing on the televised news throughout the day. Mrs Leer, one of our Licenced Practitioners, also did interviews with 3 Counties Radio and Luton Today to talk about our achievements.
Forest Eco School Learning
With the experience of a Level 3 Forest School trained member of staff, we are able to use our outdoor areas to support many aspects of our curriculum. The sessions we provide allow children to explore and discover natural spaces, making their learning more meaningful and positive. Our weekly cross-curricular sessions provide children opportunities to develop their self-help skills in getting ready with the outdoor weather gear, as well as their ability to listen and follow instructions. As the children become more experienced with exploring different natural materials, they are introduced to age-appropriate tools to support their understanding of growth and seasonal changes, as well as how to use natural resources to make shelters. We have Eco-School Green Flag accreditation. This involves empowering children to drive change and improve their environmental awareness, which we do a lot of outside. To support the national initiative ‘Bag 2 School’, we encouraged families to bring in their old clothes, which were weighed upon collection, and we received funds to support our future eco projects.