Nursery & Reception
Across Early Years, we ensure there is a balance of adult led and child-initiated activities across the day. Although much of the time is spent with children self-selecting tasks, the interaction between the adult and child is essential as the adult’s response to children builds understanding and therefore guides new learning. Learning through play is an important part of our classrooms. We believe children learn best from activities and from experiences that interest and inspire them. Using children’s interests as a starting point, we provide them with stimulating, active play experiences in which they can explore and develop their learning to help them make sense of the world. They have opportunities through their play to think creatively and critically alongside other children as well as on their own. They are able to practise skills, build upon and revisit prior learning and experience at their own level and pace. We believe it is important that adults take an active role in child-initiated play through observing, modelling, facilitating and extending their play. Getting the balance right between child-initiated play and adult-led activities is very important to us. We include direct, carefully planned, adult- led activities for children in the form of structured adult-led teaching and adult-led group activities. These are particularly important in helping children to learn specific skills and knowledge and it is often through children’s play that we see how much of this learning children have understood and taken on.
The 'learning through play' approach helps to:
• develop the fundamental skills of literacy, numeracy and oral communication
• provide rich and varied contexts for developing skills such as observing, organising, recording, interpreting and predicting
• promote positive attitudes to school and to learning
• provide opportunities to learn in a practical way
• provide opportunities for developing movement and manipulative skills
• develop natural curiosity and stimulate imagination
• provide opportunities for exploration, investigation, problem solving and decision-making
• provide opportunities to develop knowledge, understanding and skills through a range of contexts spanning all subjects in the curriculum
"Teaching should not be taken to imply a "top down" or formal way of working. It is a broad term which covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges."