There are a few aspects of child development that teachers, parents and carers often talk about when it comes to nursery-age children. These include aspects of development such as the physical, social, and emotional growth of a child, early literacy and numeracy abilities, or self-regulation skills. However, an area of development that has been relatively overlooked is that of social cognition. It includes a complex set of skills that are crucial for development and have long-lasting impact, well beyond childhood. In this post, we briefly discuss the basic dimensions of social cognition in early childhood, and summarise some recent findings that have come out of our work at Alphablocks Research Lab in collaboration with leading academics.
In early years education, reading comprehension refers to a child’s ability to understand and interpret what is being read to them. It involves a specific set of skills, such as vocabulary understanding, word recognition, decoding (the ability to read some individual words), and question answering (the ability to ask or answer questions about what has been read to them).
The importance of early reading comprehension cannot be underestimated, as numerous studies over the past decades show that it lays the foundation for future outcomes at school, and has been linked to better self-regulation and social-cognitive abilities. In turn, these are known to support overall well-being, are conducive to learning and act as a protective factor for a range of early mental health challenges.
On the 1st June we reopened our outstanding nursery and were extremely happy to be back in our natural environment so we can maximise on the face-to-face interactions with the children. We supported our children during the closure period through our online learning that involved a weekly pack of activities supported by recorded and live teaching sessions. It was great seeing our children make progress through these methods. Following our reopening, we implemented a “blended learning approach” where both remote and on-premises learning takes place. However, the physical environment itself and our processes had to change to accommodate the highest standards of infection control and risk assessment.
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.
Our hybrid educational approach at Alphablocks Nursery School has been recognised for its beneficial mix of pedagogical methods, which are naturally incorporated in our everyday practice and guide our children’s learning journeys. During this Spring Term we are focusing on a different approach every two-week ‘cycle’ (we call these ‘focused weeks’). Regular updates will be published in our blog.