School closures, distance learning & virtual show-arounds

Story Carley WBD reading

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. This means, of course, that no new children can start settling in with us in the short term and indeed visits or show-arounds will not be possible, as we all need to work together to protect the most vulnerable groups. But even so, we will not be closing our virtual doors! Home packs, remote learning, and other educational methods will be deployed as of Monday and all our staff will continue working full-time. The picture above is from World Book Day a couple of weeks ago, which was followed by British Science Week. We will be building on the special acitivities that took place then, ensuring the continuity of our children’s learning experiences as much as possible.

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Maths in Early Years: building children’s confidence from an early age

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.

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Making marks, making meaning: the importance of mark-making in early learning

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.

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End of Year Celebration!

Another amazing year has gone by here at Alphablocks Nursery School, a year in which we have built on our Outstanding Ofsted results by pushing the boundaries of our early learning provision with innovative projects, for example, through our:

  • Focused Learning Weeks, which included a High Scope Approach week
  • Our “inter-generational project” where we visit a local care home and run joint activities with its residents
  • Dedicated maths workshops, phonics classes, as well as our regular curriculum classes (drama, music & movement, Spanish with Bilingual Beats, etc.)

Our cohort this year, moving on to Primary school, is composed of 12 children who have made exceptional progress in all areas of learning.

To celebrate all their hard work and achievements, we put together a performance entitled “We’re Going on a School Hunt“, directed by Rebekah, our Drama Teacher.

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Supporting Children’s Independence Skills

Children at the age of two start developing a strong drive for independence and determination. They begin to want to do things for themselves. Most of the time this drive does not coincide with their actual abilities to do things in a timely or effective way. For example, children might not have the specific coordination skills required to put on their clothes by themselves. So, quite often, parents or teachers decide to step in to help them. However, this is not the most effective approach. Children need to be offered opportunities to master new skills in order to feel capable of taking on new responsibilities. They need to learn through trial and error.

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