Child Care Okehampton

Enjoying and Achieving Policy and Practice

Posted on Monday, September 7, 2015 in Our Policies

This section defines what Stepping Stones Day Nursery will do in order to work in partnership with parents and or carers, to promote the learning and development of all children in their care and to ensure that they are ready for school.

We as a setting understand that the developmental requirements are informed by the best available evidence on how children learn and reflect the broad range of skills, knowledge and attitudes that children need as foundations for good future progress.

Stepping Stones Day Nursery therefore aims to guide the development of children’s capabilities with a view of using the Early Years Foundation Stage as guidance to ensure that the children in their care will be ready to benefit fully from the opportunities ahead of them.

In order to do this Stepping Stones Day Nursery recognises that it needs to offer;

  • Quality and Consistency; to ensure that every child makes good progress and that no child is left behind.
  • Secure Foundations; through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of individual children and are assessed regularly.
  • Partnership working; between practitioners, and parents or carers.

These provisions will be met by following the four themes which underpin the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance and will be known as;

  • Unique Child
  • Positive Relationships
  • Enabling Environments
  • Learning and Development

Therefore, to reiterate, we as practitioners must recognise;

‘That children are individuals and each possesses their own particular route to learning and so it is up to us as practitioners to identify that journey and explore all avenues, to encourage the child to extend their learning.  We should be aware of the child’s personal, social and emotional requirements and we must never lose sight that the child’s learning has already started in their own home and will continue after nursery hours, therefore to be completely successful we need to have a partnership with parents, enabling the sharing of information and ideas.’

(Acton C. (1997)

The areas of learning and development now consist of three prime areas and four specific areas.  The prime areas cover the knowledge and skills which are foundations for children’s ‘school readiness’ and future progress; these are then further established, strengthened and applied through the four specific areas.

Prime Areas

  • Personal, Social and 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.
  • Physical Development; 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; development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to listen in  a range of situations.

Specific Areas

  • Literacy; development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and 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.
  • Mathematics; involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and to describe shape, 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.

It is made clear in the documentation that practitioners working with the youngest children are expected to focus strongly on the three prime areas, which are the foundations for successful learning in the specific areas.  It is expected that the balance will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas as children grow in confidence and ability within the prime areas.

Each area of learning and development must be implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult led and child initiated activities.  Stepping Stones Day Nursery recognises that play is essential for children’s development building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others.

In planning and guiding children’s activities we will endeavour to reflect on the different ways that children learn and consider these in their practice.  These can be understood better by referring to the characteristics of teaching and learning shown below;

  • Playing and Exploring; children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’.
  • Active Learning; children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.
  • Creating and Thinking Creatively; children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

This involves practitioners observing children to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles and to then shape the learning experience for each individual child reflecting on those observations.  In their interactions with children, practitioners should also respond not only to their own day to day observations about children’s progress but also those of the parents and or carers.  To enable any of this to work successfully it is paramount that the key person builds strong relationships with not only the child, but all those centred around the child to ensure that the child’s learning and care is tailored holistically to meet their individual interests and needs.

To meet the Every Child Matters Outcomes Framework (DCSF, 2008b) for the third element of the Every Child Matters agenda – that of enjoying and achieving – Early years settings need to demonstrate that they enable children to be ready for learning, that children enjoy their learning and achieve stretching educational standards.

  • Providers must plan and organise their systems to ensure that every child receives an enjoyable and challenging learning and development experience that is tailored to meet their individual needs.

Stepping stones Day Nursery promotes individual learning needs in a range of strategies to encourage and extend children’s development in all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

A Unique Child

  • Practitioners will recognise that babies and children develop in individual ways and at varying rates.  Every area of development – physical, cognitive, linguistic, spiritual, social and emotional, is equally important.
  • The diversity of individuals and communities is valued and respected.  No child or family is discriminated against.
  • Practitioners should value linguistic diversity and provide opportunities for children to develop and use their home language in their play and learning.
  • Alongside support in the home language, practitioners should provide a range of meaningful contexts in which children have opportunities to develop English.
  • It is recognised within the setting that young children are vulnerable.  They develop resilience when their physical and psychological well-being is protected by adults.
  • The setting realises that children’s health is an integral part of their emotional, mental, social, environmental and spiritual well – being and is supported by attention to these aspects.

Positive Relationships

  • Every interaction is based on caring professional relationships and respectful acknowledgement of the feelings of children and their families.
  • The setting respects that parents are children’s first and most enduring educators.  It is realised that when parents and practitioners work together in early year’s settings, the results have a positive impact on children’s development and learning.
  • We believe that warm, trusting relationships with knowledgeable adults support children’s learning more effectively than any amount of resources.
  • The setting ensures that there is an area where staff may talk to parents or carers confidentially.
  • The setting initiates a Key person system, allowing them responsibilities for working with a small number of children, giving these children the reassurance to feel safe and cared for and allowing for relationships with parents to be built.
  • The key person should help the baby or child to become familiar with the setting and to feel confident and safe within it, developing a genuine bond with the child and the child’s parent offering a settled, close relationship.
  • The Key person should meet the needs of each child in their care and respond sensitively to their feelings, ideas and behaviour, talking to parents to make sure that each child is being cared for appropriately for each family.
  • The setting acknowledges that for babies to further extend and learn they need at times to have contact with older children.

Enabling Environments 

  • Within the setting it is recognised that babies and young children are individuals first, each with a unique profile of abilities.
  • Schedules and routines flow with the child’s individual needs.
  • Provision must be made for children who wish to relax, play quietly or sleep, equipped with appropriate furniture.
  • All planning starts with observing children in order to understand and consider their current interests, development and learning.
  • The setting ensures that the environment supports every child’s learning through planned experiences and activities that are challenging but achievable.
  • The setting always offers a rich and varied environment that supports children’s learning and development, allowing children the confidence to explore and learn in secure and safe, yet challenging, indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • The setting will always strive to work in partnership with other settings, other professionals and with individuals and groups in the community, recognising that this supports children’s development and progress towards the outcomes of Every Child Matters as outlined in this working document.

Learning and Development

  • Children’s play reflects their wide ranging and varied interests and preoccupations.  The setting identifies that in their play children learn at their highest level.
  • Play with peers is important for children’s development.
  • Children learn best through physical and mental challenges.  Active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve children for sustained periods.
  • The setting recognises that when children have opportunities to play with ideas in different situations and with a variety of resources, they discover connections and come to new and better understandings and ways of doing things.
  • Adults must support children in the play process to enhance the child’s ability to think critically and ask questions.
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