Understanding the World
In this area of learning children are developing the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help to make sense of the world. Children learn through activities based on first hand experiences. This forms the foundation for later work in science, history, geography, and ICT. Communication and language is essential for children to be able to let us know what they understand or want to know about the world.
People and Communities
Within their groups, children share what they know about themselves, their immediate family, relations and familiar people. They talk about their experiences and special events. We find out about ‘Festivals of Light’ and Chinese New Year. An Asian dancer visits around the time of Diwali and Chinese staff share their traditions for their new year. Through the SEAL programme children learn about similarities and differences between themselves and others and what makes them unique. We have Community Police Officers who visit regularly and visits from the fire service or to the fire station. By becoming an Eco School, children learn how to look after themselves, the environment and the importance of re-cycling. They also learn how they can help others.
Children are encouraged to use their senses and close observational skills whilst exploring. They use magnifying glasses from the Investigation Station to look at mini-beasts and other interesting finds. These same skills are encouraged whilst making observational drawings and paintings. In the Sensory Room, children can explore light, dark and shadow using torches, projection and light resources. Through visits to our Wildlife Area, Burnham Beeches and other places of interest on our mini-bus, children are able to talk about different environments. Cooking, making playdough, mixing paints, exploring sand, water, mud, malleable and sensory materials provides early science experiences. The children experience change and begin to learn the different properties of materials. The children learn about growth, decay and change, by visiting the Wildlife Area, growing bulbs indoors and planting in our allotment. The children learn about life cycles, through having our beehives in the Wildlife Area, our frog pond, incubating chicks and butterflies. Each year a mobile farm comes to visit and sometimes they bring chicks back to show how they have grown.
Our attachment training highlighted the need for young children to build good relationships with adults and other children to support healthy brain development. To sustain these relationships and to develop good social skills children under five years of age should spend as little time as possible on screens of any kind. We decided to remove the computers from the Nursery. We have interactive white boards which the children can use as a group, with an adult. The children learn that they can find things out from books and the internet. All staff members have a tablet for observations which they use with individual children for researching their own interests. The children explore cause and effect toys by pushing, pulling, twisting and sliding buttons or levers. They programme ‘Bee-bots’ to move around the floor, by pushing direction and distance buttons.