(Three to five years)
Children moving from Toddlers to Pre-school have the advantage of remaining in familiar surroundings with staff that will already be well known to them. All pre-school activities are carefully planned around the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework, intended to prepare children for when they move on to reception class at their local school. The Early Learning Goals of the EYFS are delivered through the following seven key areas of learning.
All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Of the seven key areas of learning three are considered to be fundamental for igniting children's curiousity, for building their enthusiasm and capacity for learning, and for forming relationships and thriving. These three areas are called the 'Prime' areas and include Communication and language, Physical development and Personal, social and emotional development.
We also support children in four 'Specific' areas through which the 'Prime' areas are strengthened and applied. These are Literacy, Mathematics, Expressive arts and design and Understanding the world.
Communication and language
Communication is at the heart of developing young children's learning. At Mama Bear's children experience a rich language environment to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves. Children learn to listen and speak in a range of situations and develop key skills for learning at school.
Regular activity is needed to promote healthy growth of young children. At Mama Bear's Day Nursery children are given opportunities to be active and interactive, to develop their coordination, control and movement. Through practice they develop muscular control and awareness of others in the space they move in. Children also have to think and use their judgement to solve problems when taking part in physical activities. It helps to build self-confidence and develop their imagination. They learn to use small and large equipment safely and with increasing control in a supervised environment.
Personal, social and emotional development
At Mama Bear's children are encouraged to develop a positive sense of the themselves and others to form positive relationships and to develop respect for others. Mama Bear's help children develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings, to understand appropriate behaviour in groups and to have confidence in their own abilities.
The Pre-school provides the opportunity for children to learn how to relate to adults and other children. They learn to co-operate, share, have responsibility and consideration for other people, their cultures, beliefs and for property. We foster independence, but ensure that the child also knows when to ask for help. Children from an early age are curious about people, places, animals, plants and everything about them. We teach them to respect and care for one another as well as the environment.
Children link sounds and letters and begin to read and write. They are given access to a wide range of reading materials to ignite their interest. In this way children become confident learners and discover new ways to express themselves.
Mathematics in the Pre-school is based on practical activities and experiences that are part of our everyday routines. For example: tidying up - sorting toys, matching shapes; painting - covering an area; models - understanding shape; role-play - size the right clothes to fit a doll, numbers - bowls, spoons and chairs for the Three Bears; construction - building with shapes and fitting them together; baking - weighing ingredients on scales; singing - learning numbers using rhymes. At Mama Bear's children develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating, simple addition and subtraction problems. They learn to describe shapes, spaces and measures.
Expressive arts and design
Children love exploring and playing with a range of media and materials. At Mama Bear's they are encouraged to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role play and design & technology. Every day a selection of these activities is available for the children to participate in, including music. We also have more structured activities in which staff guide, encourage and help. We believe that taking part and doing is more important than what is made.
Understanding the world
Mama Bear's helps children to make sense of their physical world and community by providing opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. Children have a natural interest in finding out how things work and creating their own models. At Mama Bear’s they can explore sand and water, use construction toys such as Duplo and Stickle Bricks. They enjoy cooking, tasting and smelling food. We talk about families, the environment, taking our children on supervised local walks to collect items of interest, so that they begin to gain an understanding of weather, seasons and nature. The children also have supervised access to computers.