How is the Foundation Stage Organised? The Foundation Stage comprises of two year groups of children, Nursery and Reception. Nursery offers half-day places to 65 children, 39 in the morning and 26 in the afternoon. Children are offered a place sometime after their third birthday. Children transfer into the Reception class in the September before their fifth birthday. The staff in the Foundation Stage Unit work very closely to ensure continuity and progression and a smooth transition to full-time school. Settling into Foundation Stage Unit We have a flexible start to our sessions, this helps to foster a relaxed and friendly atmosphere for the children, parents and staff. It enables us to welcome everybody individually and gives your child the chance to settle into the session gradually. We welcome parents and carers into our Nursery at the start and end of the session you are able to enter the classroom via the cloakroom. Each child has their own peg and pigeon hole which will contain their personalised learning journey. Please feel free to look at these books at any point, however refrain from taking these outside of school as they are updated regularly and are kept as evidence of your child’s learning. When your child is new to the Early Years Unit, it would be a good idea if you could try to collect them a little bit earlier. Often younger children can become anxious if they are left until the end of the session. To safeguard the children in our care we ask you to complete the ‘signing in’ sheet daily and to provide us with a list of adults you consent to collect your child from school. The hours for the Nursery children are as follows: School Hours Morning Session Time Welcoming time 8:40 – 9:00 Going Home time 11:30 – 11:45 Afternoon Session Time Welcoming time 12:30 – 12:45 Going Home time 3:10 – 3:30 When your child moves into the Reception class they will attend school full time, from 8.50 am to 3.15 pm? How can I help my child? Young children are naturally curious about the world around them. Channelling this curiosity into structured and challenging activities helps them to learn and develop. In the Early Years, they will be given the opportunities to experience new challenges and equipment through interactive and engaging activities. We encourage the children to work together, share, co-operate and help each other. We also foster every child’s self-confidence, independence and belief in their own abilities. They will have many opportunities to express themselves through imaginative play, construction, drawing, painting and physical activities both indoors and out. We encourage the development of skills which help towards an understanding of many areas such as speaking and listening, reading, writing, maths and science as we recognise how essential these skills are in your child’s future education. Your child will receive a ‘Proud Cloud’ home communication book. This will allow you to share your child’s learning and experiences outside of the school setting. It will also give you an insight into your child’s personal targets to enable you to support your child with these areas. What opportunities are available in the Foundation Stage? It is a recognised fact that children learn more between the ages of 0-5 years than at any other time in their life. We understand that the Early Years are a crucial time in your child’s education. We feel honoured to work with your children and together in partnership with parents we are mindful of the responsibility we have in contributing to shaping and influencing young people. We ensure that activities and opportunities are tailored to children’s personal interests and individual needs in order to maximise levels of engagement. Mark Making Our focus in Nursery is firstly for children to develop fine motor skills and enhance their pencil control. We work hard to build children’s confidence and enjoyment in writing throughout both the indoor and outdoor setting. A range of opportunities are made available to encourage writing for different purposes such as signs, lists, letters and invitations. Our aim is for the children to understand that their mark making can convey meaning in order to prepare them for the transition into Reception. Reading Area The reading area and listening area further promote understanding that written symbols carry meaning. Children can explore books independently, share a book with an adult or another child or listen to a story on a CD, initially decoding using the pictures. Using puppets the children are able to act out familiar and traditional stories. The Maths Area The maths area creates opportunities for children to understand number, number formation, shape, space and measure. We explore these subjects through practical and real life experiences throughout the setting. Examples of this include shape and number hunts throughout school, measuring animals, exploring capacity in the water area and money through role play. Sand and Water Areas Sand and water play further reinforce maths and science concepts e.g. capacity, weight and buoyancy. The children are encouraged to engage in imaginative play using a variety of resources e.g wild animals, dinosaurs, play people. The Construction Area The construction area has a varied selection of building kits which are firm favourites with most children. The children are encouraged to play imaginatively with the materials provided giving them ownership of their own learning. The Creative Area In the creative area children are encouraged to express themselves through a variety of media including; paints, a selection of sized brushes, printing equipment, gluing, modelling and various other materials. This work is then celebrated and discussed with the children. The Interactive White Board and Computer The computer programmes we use are fun, colourful and animated. We aim to familiarise children with basic computing skills through regular and varied activities. The school’s e-safety procedures are strictly withheld whilst using the internet to research topics with the children. We also have several iPad’s which are accessible for the children. The Role Play Area Role play is an essential outlet for children’s feelings. The home corner is equipped with most items that ‘home’ provides giving children the opportunity to recreate real life experiences. We change the role play area regularly, linking it with our termly topic. This gives the children the opportunity to develop their imagination and learn new vocabulary. Music Music is an enjoyable and important activity that we engage in on a daily basis. We sing rhymes and songs, we dance and learn how to handle and care for a variety of musical instruments. Self-control is an essential skill as we try to appreciate the quality and feel of the music we play, rather than the volume we can achieve! Outdoor Play The outdoor area is equipped with resources to give the children the opportunity to practice gross motor skills such as climbing, cycling, throwing, catching and building. The children enjoy imaginative and role play in the outdoor area, using a variety of resources. We believe that the outdoor environment should be an extension of the indoor provision offering the children the same opportunities to learn and consolidate key objectives in both areas. Understanding the World Understanding the world is mainly linked to the topics we explore each term. We make use of the outdoor area, the school grounds and the surrounding area to study habitats of mini-beasts, plant growth, the weather and buildings for example. All the areas in the Early Years are arranged with either silhouettes or labelled storage boxes to enable the children to select the appropriate piece of equipment and return it to the correct place. The children are allocated areas to tidy at the end of each session. How do I find out what is happening in the Foundation Stage? There is a section of the school newsletter dedicated to Early Years which will inform parents of weekly updates and key information. There is also a parent’s notice board in the cloakroom where current Early Years and school newsletters are displayed. You will also find a copy of the curriculum termly overview. Am I welcome to come into the Foundation Stage? We have an ‘open door’ policy, and welcome parents and other carers into the Nursery to stay and help. Parent helpers in Early Years have an extremely valuable role, the quality of the children’s learning is greatly enhanced when they work with an adult. We would be delighted to welcome any parents, grandparents, childminders etc. to help with a wide variety of activities including reading stories, art activities, playing games, working on the computer…. the list is endless. If you feel you would like to help, please have a chat with a member of staff and once a DBS check has been carried out you would be welcome to stay anytime. What should my child wear for Nursery? We encourage the children to learn through exploration and experimentation, and consequently they can get a bit messy! We do have aprons in the Nursery, but it would be a good idea to dress your child in practical clothes that wash easily. It is also advisable for them to wear comfortable clothes and footwear that do not restrict their movement, and which they can manage themselves, especially when using the toilet. Outdoor play is available regularly during the week so suitable clothing needs to be worn. Friday’s are currently PE day so we ask that children come in appropriate clothing and footwear. When your child moves into the Reception class they will wear school uniform, some parents like to purchase the school sweatshirt for their child to wear in Nursery. As we all know children occasionally have little ‘accidents’ when they get too engaged in their work to realise they need the toilet! We will ask you to complete a form giving us permission to support your child in becoming independent in using the toilet and to change them if it is necessary. We have a supply of spare clothes in the Nursery to change the children into. The more independent your child is using the toilet, the better their experience in nursery. Please could you mark all your children’s clothes clearly with their name, particularly coats, jumpers and cardigans as clothing can easily become misplaced. Outings and visits We organise various visits and educational outings throughout the academic year linked to termly topics. Details of these will be outlined in future letters and parent meetings. Further information NO SWEETS OR SNACKS IN NURSERY PLEASE. We have several children and staff within school with allergies. Your child will receive a piece of fruit daily and will have access to water and milk throughout the session. NO TOYS IN THE NURSERY. Please leave toys at home. We have sufficient toys in the Nursery and would hate for your child’s personal items to be misplaced or damaged. Please contact Miss Barron with any questions or queries you may have.