Play and Learning

At Footsteps we understand that children learn & develop in different ways & at different rates. We spend time with the children and plan for the learning environment daily based on their interests & where they are developmentally. We aim for a balance between adult led & child-initiated activities. We regularly send home 'home interest sheets' for parents to fill in and let us know of any achievements or special outings you have done at the weekends. Planning is done for both the indoor & outdoor environments. All observations will be shared with you as soon as it has been added to your child's online learning journal. You can also be involved in the observation, assessment & planning process by uploading your own photos and observations at home.

For each age group we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage, which is divided, into four themes.

The four themes each follow a principle and are named;

A Unique Child - Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning & can be resilient, capable, confident & self-assured.

Positive Relationships - Children learn to be strong & independent through positive relationships.

Enabling Environments - children learn & develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs & there is a strong partnership between practitioners & parents and/or carer.

Learning & Development - Children learn & develop in different ways & at different rates. The framework (EYFS) covers the education & care of all the children in early years provision, including children with special education needs & disabilities.

We are committed to ensuring each child has a fun, nurturing, educational & safe time at nursery. Details of how we achieve and aim to achieve these themes can be found on the 'Long Term' plans situated outside each classroom on the planning boards.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) has 3 prime areas of learning from birth. And a further 4 specific areas of learning. All areas are important & inter connected. The prime areas are crucial for igniting children's curiosity & enthusiasm for learning. They are;

Personal Social & Emotional Development - This includes aspects for making relationships, self-confidence & self-awareness & managing feelings & behaviour. This gives children the skills to make friends, manage behaviour, build positive relationships, develop social skills & to have confidence in own abilities.

Communication and Language - This includes aspects for listening & attention, understanding & speaking. This gives children opportunities to experience a rich language environment, gaining confidence to express themselves, to speak & listen in a range of situations.

Physical Development - This includes aspects for moving & handling and health & self care. We provide opportunities for children to be active & interactive. Children can develop their coordination & learn how to make healthy choices in relation to food.

As well as providing resources and activities to support the prime areas of learning. We also support children in a further 4 specific areas. These are;

Problem Solving, Reasoning & Numeracy - this includes aspects for numbers & shape, space & measure. Children can learn skills in counting, understanding & using numbers. They can work with shapes and do some simple addition & subtraction.

Understanding the World - this includes aspects for people & communities, the world and technology. Children get experience with different ICT equipment; they can make sense of the world by giving children a chance to explore different places, environments & people.

Expressive arts & design - This includes aspects for exploring & using media & materials and being imaginative. This gives children the opportunity to explore their creativity with a variety of materials & media and explore their ideas, thoughts & feelings through music, movement, role-play & design.

Literacy - this includes aspects for reading & writing. This gives children the skills to be able to link sounds & letters and begin to read & write.

We take into account the characteristics of effective learning. These are;

Playing & exploring (engagement) - finding out & exploring, playing with what they know & being willing to have a go.

Active learning (motivation) - being involved & concentrating, keeping trying and enjoying & achieving what they set out to do.

Creating & thinking critically (thinking) - having their own ideas, making links & choosing ways to do things.

To give children the freedom to make choices about what activities they do, we have free-flow areas on each floor offering a range of activities offered simultaneously.

All of the seven areas of learning are covered in all activity plans through experiences, adult led activities or child initiated play. We have leaflets available to parents on the Early Years Foundation Stage.

In addition to the activities provided we have a rich learning environment with a wide range of toys & resources. These are positioned at the child's height & labelled with words & pictures allowing free flow play.

Individual records are kept on-line charting each child's development. These are maintained by each child's key person. These journals can be accessed at ny time by the parent and any other adult the parent wishes to share it with.

All our staff are aware of the importance of children learning through play and the importance of a rich learning environment, allowing social skills to develop & to encourage the appreciation of our multi-cultural society.