Early Years News and Events

Filed in Early Years Newsletters | Posted on February 14, 2020

Future Events

  • Thursday 5th March World Book Day– Babies and Nursery Wear PJ’s and bring a bedtime story/ Pre-School come dressed as your favourite book character and bring the book to read.
  • Friday 27th March Baby Unit ‘Stay and Play’ session 9am-10am.
  • Friday 27th March last day of Spring Term-Pre-School only
  • Monday 30th March until Thursday 9th April –Scamps for Pre-School
  • Friday 10th until Monday 13th – Babies, Nursery and Scamps closed for Easter Weekend
  • Tuesday 14th until Friday 17th –Scamps for Pre-School
  • Monday 20th April- Pre-School and School inset Day
  • Tuesday 21st April- Pre-School and School back to school.

Polite Notices

  • Please may we also remind you that we are a nut-free site?
  • We are still observing some drivers not adhering to the 5mph speed limit. The site speed limit is set for the safety of your children and your cooperation with this is much appreciated.
  • When parking your car please help others by parking courteously.
  • Please make sure you are familiar with the one way system.
  • During the school holidays, it is equally as important to maintain the security of the site. Please can you make sure you close the main gates after gaining entry at these times?

Thank You.

The United Kingdom for some years has had a statutory early years curriculum in place to support the learning of children from birth to the end of their reception year in school. This is known as the Early Years Foundation Stage or the EYFS. But what does this framework look like to you as parents?

It has been designed to ensure that nursery practitioners, childminders, and school teachers offer a broad set of experiences to children in their care. The emphasis is on promoting communication and language, social and emotional development and physical skills for the youngest children. As children reach their third year of life, there is additional emphasis placed on teaching specific skills to enhance children’s love of books and reading, writing for a purpose, mathematical and technical skills, creative and imaginative opportunities and knowledge of the natural and man-made world, and over the past and coming weeks I will talk about the different areas as standalone topics. For many parents, the curriculum can be seen as a structured system to back up the excellent work learnt at home, while keeping up with what their children are being encouraged to do and learn as they grow.

There are three prime areas of the curriculum for children under 3 years of age, with the addition of four more areas of development for children over 3 years of age.  It is not just knowledge and skills that are assessed at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage, but also their characteristics of effective learning. These reflect the importance of understanding the individual ways in which children take in new skills and ideas, how some like lots of action and practical experiences while others are more motivated by theoretical and contemplative ways of learning.

Seven areas of learning

  • Communication and language.
  • Physical development.
  • Personal, social and emotional development.
  • Literacy. 
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world.
  • Expressive arts and design.

A strong principle of the curriculum for the very young is that parents are engaged as much as possible so that they understand what their children are offered and that they should feel strongly inspired to help their children learn and flourish. At Silverhill we use ‘Tapestry’ to record and assess the children’s progress. Every time you add information, describe a trip, upload photos or simply ‘like’ something they’ve done in their class, it is helping us as practitioners to gain a holistic knowledge of your family and in particular your child, allowing us to enhance their individual learning.

Early education in the home has to be based on love and good bonding. Giving your child a sense of importance in the family and making them feel secure is essential for good learning to take root. From birth, support your baby to enjoy listening to your voice quietly singing, talking to them giving them time to respond as well as to listen to you. Let them gaze into your eyes and read your feelings and emotions in your tone of voice and facial expressions. The more your child participates in activities with you in the home and on walks to local parks and places of interest, the more they will internalise your ideas and value systems. Children are brilliant copyists. They watch you, and the adults and children around them, and copy all day long what they see. This is the reason why we all need to try to be the best role models for your children. It is never too early to begin encouraging language development. Parents and early years practitioners should offer children speaking and listening opportunities through everyday conversation and practical activities. Children often learn best by observing and copying adult behaviour so we should all model appropriate speech and language skills whenever possible by:

  • Getting your child’s attention and making eye contact a9get down to the child’s level if necessary)
  • Speak clearly, calmly and slowly
  • Use age-appropriate language, keep it simple
  • Repeat and model what your child has said
  • Repeat sentences back and extend what they have said
  • Describe and comment on what is happening and what your child is doing
  • Listen to your child when they are talking and be patient so they have plenty of time to respond and find their words
  • Use all the senses
  • Use gesture, changing tones in your voice and facial expressions
  • Use effective questioning being careful not to over question
  • Use open questions that include why, what, how, when so they can’t just answer yes or no.

With regard to physical exercise the Department of Health aims for every child in the early years to have at least three hours of physical activity across a day. But every movement counts and you don’t need to plan extra activities, just make the most of everyday opportunities. For example, when you’re changing a nappy, dependent on age and ability, encourage them to lie down and get up themselves as this helps to strengthen their core muscles and to support and develop their balance and coordination. Encouraging children to walk up and down stairs by themselves is another good opportunity (it’s challenging so they may need your support). And help children learn to use alternate feet by making sure there are opportunities in your setting for them to climb. Try starting off with having large blocks for the children to crawl, walk and climb up and over and when they’re more confident, provide stilts so that they can get used to moving their feet at different times. Let babies and children feed themselves finger foods as this helps to promote fine motor skills like grasping and hand-eye coordination (just be aware of choking hazards).

When we look at Personal, Social and Emotional development this cannot happen in isolation and children need you to provide them with positive feedback and to model appropriate behaviour It is important to make young children feel secure, especially when attending anywhere outside their home environment. For us as practitioners the key to this is creating a nurturing environment and tuning in by getting to know the children well. Our key person system is a very successful, efficient way to ensure this happens. Routines reassure children as they begin to understand the structure of a day and help them predict what is coming next. We use visual timetables to support this and these can easily be replicated at home. For children recognising their feelings and learning the words to label them is a very difficult concept that requires lots of practice. In order to support this learning we need to recognise the emotion, name the emotion for the child, provide some comfort and offer a solution.

Literacy is about stimulating your child’s love of books, reading and writing. If you begin early to introduce children to books they can enter into the magic and imaginative worlds that they offer. Many stories are allegories about real life so by reading them with your child you are taking an essential step in helping them make sense of people, their personalities and emotions that they will encounter at all times in their life. It is easier for your child to work out feelings and how to deal with them if they have discussed them through the literature they are exposed to. It is also important for parents to introduce children to the tools of language, such as the alphabet, dictionaries, and grammar. These are basics that they can become familiar with to improve vocabulary, understanding, and sentence construction. Play word games like ‘I spy’ (emphasising initial sounds), enjoy alliteration (when words begin with the same letters), and rhyming words (when words end with the same sound). Try not to expect reading, it’s about enjoying words and stories and rhymes in the early years.

Early mathematics is all about using mathematical concepts whenever possible in communicating ideas. Counting the steps on the stairs as you walk up and down, counting parts of your body and singing number songs all help your child learn basic maths skills. Involve your child in daily tasks that match and compare patterns, such as setting the table, sorting out clothing into categories, matching socks and gloves, comparing the sizes of everyday objects such as towels, cups, spoons, shoes, etc. Write shopping lists with your child and take them shopping. In supermarkets investigate the details about weights and measures, as well as about spending money.

Children love to be engaged in important decisions about food, and they are much more likely to eat what they have cooked themselves so teach them about how to create simple and tasty dishes.

Understanding the world concerns exploring and investigating the natural and man-made world. Give your child safe access to the outdoors, taking him on walks to parks and places of interest such as museums and galleries. Children are never too young to enjoy seeing sculpture and paintings and it is essential that they learn from the earliest time to value creative arts and expression. Parents should take children to free museums to learn about the past and to a range of galleries to explain contemporary as well as ancient cultures. Visiting farms and zoos inspire learning about domestic and wild animals. Help them to understand where they come from, and the conditions in which they flourish. By taking an interest in live animals, children can make associations with the animals and environments that they read about in books and stories. Real experiences broaden their comprehension, as well as their ability to develop caring and sympathetic attitudes to living creatures. Improve your child’s knowledge of technology by teaching them to use a wide range of electronic equipment as well as develop an interest in how they work by allowing them to take old circuits or old clocks apart so that he can inspect their innards. Taking things apart and putting them together again, or not, stimulates interest and curiosity. It is not destructive to take things apart, it is technical and scientific exploration and should be valued as such.

Give your child as much encouragement to express themselves through art. Taking positive steps to visit galleries and museums will inspire them to make their own art. Think of ways for your child to be creative with a wide range of tools and resources:

  • Modelling with malleable materials such as dough, plasticine, clay, etc.
  • Painting with wide or narrow paint brushes with water based or acrylic paints – on wallpaper in the garden, or sugar paper indoors, etc.
  • Drawing with pencils, crayons, and pens.
  • Building models with recycled materials.
  • Cutting and sticking magazines and photos.

Stimulate your child’s imagination by letting them make dens with cushions and blankets under the kitchen table. Create opportunities for them to take in their toys and maybe have tea with a toy tea set. Empower your child to dress up in your old clothes, shoes and bags, they will re-enact the experiences they have learned about through stories and in real life. Making music an important part of your child’s life. Listening to a variety of classical as well as contemporary music will help children learn about rhythms and beats, and will inspire them to take an interest in dancing and playing musical instruments as they grow.

Altogether a rich and varied environment in early life will encourage your child to manage expectations, enjoy discovering, increasing knowledge and become a self-motivated learner. It is therefore up to all of us at home and in education to use every opportunity to be responsive and inspiring in every way.