Preparing your child for their first years at school

Pre-school helps enormously with a child’s introduction to school life as there are strong links between the Key Stage 1 class and the Early Years staff. Children who have been regular pre-school members usually make a smooth, easy transition into the main school.

Children follow the areas of learning set out in the Early Learning Goals of the Foundation Stage Curriculum. An idea of our activities and the thinking behind them.

• language and literacy
• mathematics
• personal and social development 
• knowledge and understanding of the world
• physical development
• creative development

The work of children is play so we plan for activities to be fun and also stimulating to nourish in the children a lifelong love of learning. Underpinning everything else, we aim to build the children's self-confidence so that they will want to keep on trying if they later hit an obstacle in their education.

Communication and language

By encouraging each child's conversation. At circle time we have "show and tell" when children bring something special from home to show to their friends and we sing songs and nursery rhymes. Children enjoy role-play areas, the home corner or the hospital corner where they play co-operatively and imaginatively and also many puppets. Sometimes we will use a favourite story for drama. We also have recordable postcards so that the children can enjoy playing back their own voices.

Physical development

Is a high priority at Pre-school. We want the children to develop strength, health and stamina. We spend part of each session outside. The children show initiative, imagination, concentration and co-operation. We have a tarmac area for wheeled toys and for bats and balls. We have fun using the playground for games such as "Freeze", "What's the Time, Mr Wolf?" and Hopscotch. There is an area with wooden equipment for the children to practice their climbing and balancing. We use the school field for races, "hide and seek" and "tag". Inside, we regularly set up a high obstacle course.

Personal, social and emotional

We encourage the children to show care and consideration for each other. We have small world toys: railway, farm, garage, Playmobil and Duplo for the children to share. We also have a good range of board games to help the children to learn to take turns. We play ring games and other action games such as the children's favourites "duck, duck, goose" and "Poison" and blindfold games such as "keeper of the treasure" which rely on the children co-operating together.

Literacy

We have a big range of books, both factual and fiction. We come together for adult led story times and also children go into the book corner and choose books independently especially to relax quietly after lunch. We encourage early writing by always putting out a good range of mark-making materials and the toy post box. We have wipeable white boards which appeal to boys especially. Our gifted and older children join in with the reception class for phonics lessons.

Mathematics

We give the children practice at counting as we sing number songs and rhymes, through practical activities such as one child counting the others at snack time then giving out the corresponding number of cups. They estimate and write numbers, and learn shapes by craft and construction activities. Children become familiar with numbers by measuring and by playing games; they learn about volume as they play with water, sand and dough and when we do cooking activities.

Understanding the world

We help the children to learn about the world around them by celebrating festivals such as the Chinese New Year. We learn about our village by going for walks and visiting local businesses. The children can use the computer independently and we have a good range of appropriate software. They know how to use the camera and remote controlled toys. Children are naturally curious and keen to learn and we enjoy doing science experiments together: learning about water, colour, indicators, light, magnets, sound, our bodies, growing plants and mixing together various solids and liquids.

Expressive arts and design

We give the children many opportunities for self-expression. We always put out paint, pens and crayons. We find creative ways of making pictures such as bubble painting or printing with vegetables or with toy vehicles Children can select percussion instruments to play including a selection from Malaysia. We sing together. Children can choose music tapes and they love to dance. We have a big range of dressing-up clothes. They enjoy role-play and make up imaginative scenarios with their friends.

Forest school is every Wednesday afternoon. These sessions are led by Yvonne Williams. The children observe the changes in the natural environment, they learn to use tools safely. They enjoy extending their physical skills and being creative with natural materials. There are tyres for the children to climb and a wobbly rope to balance along. There are muddy areas and a music tree and a story telling chair.

Pre-school has 2 raised beds in the school allotment. The children love digging. Previously we planted and harvested potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, lettuces, herbs, blackcurrants and strawberries. The children particularly enjoyed picking and eating the peas and carrots. Sometimes Doris the hen comes to share the allotment with us too.

We enjoy healthy snacks: fruits, vegetables brought in by parents. Most of the children choose to have a school dinner. We often do cooking activities with the children too – sometimes multi-cultural food and sometimes traditional baking. These are all good opportunities to discuss why we need different nutrients. The children have learned about the different things living beings need to keep healthy and growing. We help the children to learn to become independent: to pour their own drinks and prepare their own snacks and to practice putting on their own coats and shoes and socks.