As Early Years practitioners, every lesson we teach, opportunity we offer and activity we set up is rooted in our experience, love of the children and research that we base our practise on. We strive to be on the cutting edge of research, so that we can provide a curriculum, environment and journey that enables our children to become the best they can be.
Below are four key areas that influence our Early Years at Berkswich.
Creating Curious Minds
I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity - Eleanor Roosevelt
Building the children's curiosity has always been at the forefront of the Early Years at Berkswich. Teaching staff actively create opportunities and experiences which build children's innate curiosity. Our setting is filled with awe and wonder which captivates the children's imagination, so they find it irresistible to find out more. Based on the research of 'The Curiosity Approach', Berkswich starts to build the 'thinkers and doers' of the future in our Nursery. We use this approach to create an environment that is an extension of the home for our youngest learners, so they feel safe to explore, learn, develop and stay as curious as they can!
Fostering a love of Books
Mark making, story talking, rhyme building and role play creating are all key parts in growing our children's love of books, reading and writing. In our Early Years, we incorporate different research sources to create a unique blend of learning stories by actions, going on whole class reading adventures and providing experiences from which the children can't wait to write.
Using 'Talk for Writing in the Early Years' strategies; including story maps, interviewing characters, repeated patterns and sequencing, enables the children to love retelling their stories to a high standard.
We combine this with methods from Jane Constantine's 'The Write Stuff'. Our teaching staff create intrigue that the children cannot resist and this sets up an initial sentence or rhyme, which is then modelled and the children adapt.
Following the Education Endowment Foundation's research that 'introductions to different kinds of writing' can impact children in the early years by up to an extra four months, we incorporate real experiences from which the children can read and write instructions, lists, recounts, poetry, recipes and much more. Not only does this create a buzz around our reading and writing, but allows the children to experiment with vocabulary, structure and style.
In addition to this, our teaching staff's love of reading impacts on the children's want to find their own story adventures. Adult led sessions and enhanced provision provide opportunities for our children to listen to stories, ask questions about vocabulary, be questioned about what their hearing and become a part of the book.
A Home Away From Home
Through the work based on The Curiosity Approach and our deep understanding of the Early Years being a stimulating extension of home, we have created settings that enable the children's communication and learning to thrive. Using inspiration from Reggio Emilia in Italy and understanding the value of child centred learning, both Nursery and Reception classrooms invite the children to trial new ideas, make mistakes, have fun and practise their learning. We have found that this approach encourages the children to be calm, have incredible manners, excel in their behaviour and enjoy their learning to the maximum.