Upper Horfield Children's Centre
Daycare & Family Support
When children come to Upper Horfield Nursery, they are beginning a journey of life long learning that will see them develop into active participants in our society. They will learn the key skills to thrive and challenge the world around them.
To plan for the children individually and to monitor their progress, the practitioners have a lot of work to do. They will keep observations on all of the children, and from the analysis of this, they will identify the next steps that are needed to make the journey meaningful and fulfilling.
Not only do the practitioners identify what the children are learning, they will also look at how they are learning through the 'Characteristics of Effective Learning' which are:
Children will become more deeply involved when provided with something that is new and unusual for them to explore, especially when linked to their interests. Practitioners do this through planning for the children, looking and taking on board any specific areas of interest and then providing opportunities around them. Within the rooms the practitioners will set up environments accordingly and along the interests of the children, however they will also support the children to choose their own activities throughout the day having a wide range of resources on offer for them to make their own choices. Staff aim to help children become aware of their own goals, make plans and to review their own progress and successes. Practitioners talk and describe with them what they are trying to do and encourage children to talk about their own processes and successes. There is a focus on how they concentrate, try different approaches persist, solve problems and have new ideas e.g. I like how you are using your paintbrush, its moving up and down. Children are encouraged to learn together and from each other throughout the day.
We routinely observe your children during child initiated play to learn about how they are making sense of the world, to understand their interests and recognise how they are learning. If you look closely at children’s play, actions and investigations with different materials you can often see a pattern in their play. Their behaviour is not random. Children may use the same resources but play with them in different ways, for instance one child playing with bricks may be interested in arranging them in a line, and another child using the same bricks may be interested in making enclosures with them. We can notice that children’s play and actions are repeated over and over again in different areas. These patterns of play are known as “schemas”.
What is Story Making?
Story Making is a new way of learning and remembering stories. It is about telling stories together rather than reading from books. Story Making builds children’s confidence and helps to improve their speaking and writing in fun, creative ways. Stories are told with actions. Story making offers kinaesthetic and visual experiences to enable young learners to memorise new words and patterns in the story.
Repetition is important
It is important to retell favourite stories a number of times each week so that they become well known. At first, we lead the storytelling but quickly the children join in and take over the story.
Repetition will help new words and language patterns in the story move into long term memory. Your child will draw on these well rehearsed words and patterns when speaking and writing.
Why are actions used?
Story actions will help you and your child to memorise the stories. They involve carrying out a movement in response to different words or patterns in the story. This may involve an action for ‘Once upon a time…or ‘He ran and he ran and he ran…’
It is helpful if the actions for some common story words and phrases are the same from story to story.
What is a story map?
A story map is a series of pictures showing what happens in the story. It is drawn as a simple flow chart with arrows showing the main sequence of events in the story.
Story maps provide an important visual aid for retelling stories.
How does Story Making help to improve writing?
Within each story children will encounter new words and language patterns. For example, they will come across rhyming words, simple sentences and different ways of joining ideas and events in a story (for example, so, but, then, next, finally). Through repetition, children will memorise different words and sentences and later draw on them when telling and writing their own stories.
Story making helps children learn how what they say can be written and read.
There are a number of language packs in the Children's Centre and nursery that parents are welcome to borrow and make use of. This is to encourage learning amongst our children, particularly those with English as an Additional Language
Play is a key opportunity for children to think creatively and flexibly, solve problems and link ideas. Within the nursery practitioners respect and support children’s efforts and ideas, they feel safe to take a risk with a new idea. Staff give the children time and opportunities to talk and think during group times and focused times as well as during free flow play. During the day and the planning process children's interests are supported over time, reminding them of previous approaches and encouraging them to make connections between their experiences. Sustained shared thinking helps children to explore ideas and make links in their environment around them.
Children are provided with sensory experience’s, whether this be playing in gloop or getting down onto the floor with the shaving foam. They are offered lots of opportunity to engage in heuristic play and treasure baskets as well as natural objects, these could be pine cones, corks, drift wood or pebbles. These resources give the children opportunity to gain curiosity about objects around them, as well as being open ended so they can be used, moved and combined in a variety of ways. Within all our rooms there are pictures on displays of all our families this provides the opportunity to talk about people and those special to us. This may also prompt discussions about events and special occasions that may have taken place either within the setting or while at home with family or friends.