We were so happy to return to our home as a nursery school last Monday, 1st of June. During the weeks of lockdown due to Covid-19 we found many innovative ways of staying connected with our children and their families, and continuing their learning journeys remotely. Unfortunately it has not been possible for all of our children to come back to the classroom in our Hadley Wood site in this half-term. We saw this as a challenge to overcome, so we have opted for a “blended learning” model, which allows us to expand on and complement our nursery-based offering with a remote learning curriculum.
At the core of our mission is empowering children to become confident learners. But how can this happen during a widespread lockdown, like the one we have been experiencing due to the Covid-19 pandemic? As a team of outstanding early years educationalists, we quickly recognised that we had our work cut out for us and that it would not – could not – be “business as usual”. And although the way we deliver our educational approach to our families and children had to change, we still had to focus on the continuity of our children’s learning experiences. This is how we did this, and why.
Hopefully you and your loved ones are keeping safe during this period of uncertainty and the spread of Covid-19. As of Monday (March 23rd) we will be closed except for children of emergency workers, in line with the Department for Education’s instructions. But even so, we will not be closing our virtual doors!
The older a child gets the harder it is to get them to engage with and truly appreciate mathematics and the powerful reasoning behind it. Therefore, introducing maths at an early age is of crucial importance: not only does it help them understand how to deal with abstract symbols, like numbers, but more importantly it helps them develop problem solving and reasoning skills.
Children need to be given an opportunity to practice their skills with numbers, linking them to concrete quantities, which are out there in the physical world, their sensory world. Knowledge of shapes and patterns also improves their competence and confidence in using mathematical concepts and language.
However, shapes, space, and measures is a key area that the Government is considering to remove from the Early Years curriculum from next year. As an outstanding nursery school, we place a lot of value on this area and we will certainly continue teaching and developing it. In this post, we summarise some of the things you can do at home to support your child’s learning in this area, which is so beneficial to children.
Children need to be able to experiment with making marks from an early age using a range of resources as well as their sense and their bodies. There is a wide set of skills that children need to master in order to be able to use mark-making tools effectively, such as dexterity and coordination, and purely cognitive skills like dealing with symbols. Parents, carers and teachers all need to get on board and become more fascinated by children’s mark-making journeys and provide a wealth of opportunities to celebrate achievements and development of these skills.