From the moment the child enters Pennthorpe, we recognise and treat them as the individuals they are and, therefore, deliver different activities, as each child may require a different approach to learning. It is widely accepted that children learn more between the ages of 0 and 5 years than at any other time in their life. Therefore parents need to be secure in the knowledge that their child will enjoy their first experience of school and that they will be safe, happy, valued and stimulated. This is our primary aim in the Early Years.
We set out to achieve this by combining play and enjoyment with a carefully structured approach to learning. We follow the national Foundation Stage Curriculum which is organised around the seven areas of learning:
•Personal, Social and Emotional Development
•Communication and Language
•Understanding the World
•Expressive Arts and Design
Learning Through Play
Sadly childhood does not last for very long. All too soon a child will reach the world of formal education, exams and onto adulthood. A child’s early years should be spent in discovering themselves and the world around them and developing their own skills and values. Play enables them to do this. In a safe, secure and stimulating environment a child can learn many things.
There is an immense amount of educational and developmental value involved in what adults often class as ‘just playing’. Play is the work of the child, during which they will experiment, practise, imitate, negotiate, prepare and rehearse real life situations. They develop confidence, independence, self-esteem and many other skills through play.
A child will play, unless physically prevented from doing so. The adults around them can influence the learning quality of play. The adult can help a child discover new activities by providing materials, advice and encouragement. The role of the adult at Pennthorpe is to provide lots of interactive, mental, visual and verbal stimulation to enhance children’s play and learning.
Play is important in developing many skills. Children need many different kinds of play to develop their full potential. At Pennthorpe we realise the importance of letting children play at their own level of development and give each child equal opportunity to access the activity of their choice.
All Early Years children are encouraged to be independent thinkers and decision makers, working through a thought process of risk taking without fear of failure. This is taught throughout the School via creative age-appropriate topics that will fire the imagination and give opportunities to use real-life tools. After all, curiosity must be cherished and allowed to grow. How else will tomorrow’s inventors be developed?
Over the three year period of the Early Years, the staff slowly and gradually introduce more adult-directed approaches to learning, by introducing topic-based work that is designed to enhance your child’s unique learning preferences.
“Children learn as they play. Most importantly in play, children learn how to learn.”—Dr Fred Donaldson