We incorporate all seven areas of learning into the early years curriculum, ensuring the children have a well prepared, inviting, and stimulating environment. Staff provide a range of activities to cater for children’s individual interests and development needs, working towards the Early Years’ Outcomes – Early Learning Goals, across all areas of the curriculum.
At Forest Hill Montessori, we operate a Key Person system. Your child will have an individual Key Person who will observe progress and development. The Key Person approach gives every child the reassurance to feel secure and cared for, helping them to become familiar with the Nursery environment and to feel confident and safe within it.
We recognise every child’s individuality, efforts and achievements and believe that strong, secure relationships between adults and children are crucial for your child’s development.
The Key Person meets the needs of each child in their care and responds sensitively to their feelings, ideas and behaviour. They offer security, reassurance and continuity and are usually the one to support and soothe their key children where needed. They are in the best position to understand children’s individual needs and to share information with parents about their child’s experiences in Nursery.
How we monitor your child’s progress
All early years providers are required to meet certain standards set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). One of the requirements is that members of staff use ongoing observations to monitor how your child is developing and use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience in all areas of their learning and development.
Our method to help with planning and keeping track of progress is using an individual progress tracker. The tracker is divided into each area of learning and development, setting out the child’s progress across the prime and specific areas of learning from birth to five years.
Upon joining our nursery, your child will be issued with a Learning Journey. Over time, this will build up a picture of your child’s journey through the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. Your child’s key person will add different documents to the Learning Journey which provide a record of your child’s learning and development during your time with us.
You will be able to see, at a glance, your child’s stage of development and the activities they will be involved in next at the nursery. The Learning Journey will include direct observations, art work, photographs and home observations, which are used to provide your child’s key person with the relevant information required to impact your child’s learning and development. All of this information is used to ensure we plan activities that will fully engage your child, based on their current interests.
These treasured memories, collated in the Learning Journey, will be available for your child to review at any time at nursery, enabling them to reflect and recall past events with their key person. They are stored in an accessible place in your child’s room for you to access also.
When leaving the nursery, the holistic recordings of your child’s learning and development journey will be yours to keep and treasure for years to come.
What are prime and specific areas?
The statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (DFE, 2017) focuses on how your child learns and what adults can do to encourage that learning. It identifies three prime areas, which are considered to be fundamental through the EYFS, and four specific areas which include essential skills and knowledge and provide important contexts for learning.
Ongoing assessment plays a very important part in recognising and understanding what a child needs. It involves practitioners observing your child to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles.
The three PRIME areas are:
Personal, Social & Emotional Development
involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Communication and Language
involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
The four SPECIFIC areas are:
involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces and measures.
Understanding the World
involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive Arts and Design
involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology.