We aim to give all children the best possible start to their school life and educational journey.
At Seaham Harbour Nursery School we provide a secure, caring and happy environment where learning and discovering is FUN! There is a lot of details information on this page, please see the links below to find each section.
- Curriculum Overview
- Our Vision and Aims
- Early Years Foundation Stage
- Characteristics of Effective Learning
- Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND)
- Remote Learning
Through a well-planned curriculum in a rich and stimulating environment we provide first hand experiences that motivate and challenge all children. Staff demonstrate a high level of engagement, using their knowledge and skills to respond to children’s interests and needs. Through observing and interacting with the children, the environment is enhanced to extend child initiated play.
Our curriculum is developed to support, nurture and encourage all our children to progress in their learning. We follow the educational programmes and recognise progression within these programmes comes from the practitioners understanding how young children learn and develop. Through professional development our school staff continue building on their knowledge and understanding of how young children learn and develop.
Every child is unique and their individual needs are catered for allowing them to flourish and grow.
- are listened to and have interested and caring adults to share in their enjoyment and learning
- are encouraged to play, explore, experiment and learn through exciting and meaningful experiences
- learn because it’s fun and not just simply to meet their next developmental milestone
To provide a curriculum which promotes the EYFS, focussing on the distinct needs of the children
- To provide a curriculum, which takes account of and responds to the children’s development needs and allows them to make progress related to their differing abilities
- To ensure that the children have positive experiences of success at their own levels, in order to give them confidence and motivation for learning in the future
- To provide a curriculum which provides equal learning and development opportunities for all children within the nursery school
- To create and develop a partnership with parents and carers to support and enhance the development of children
- To provide a curriculum that seeks to promote a positive self-image and independence within a supportive, caring learning environment
We aim to ensure each child
- is in a safe and stimulating environment
- is given generous care and attention
- has the chance to join in with other children and adults to live, play, work and learn together
- is helped to take forward their learning and development by being helped to build on what they already know and can do
- has a keyperson who makes sure they make progress and develop to their maximum potential
Early Years Foundation Stage
We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This is a statutory framework that sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that the children in their care learn and develop well, stay safe and are kept healthy.
The EYFS promotes partnership working between practitioners and families to ensure the best start possible for children. It seeks to make sure that every child makes good progress and has the opportunity to gain a secure foundation through learning and development opportunities. These opportunities and experiences must take into account individual children’s needs and interests. Children start to learn from the moment they are born. The care and education offered by our school helps children to continue to do this by providing all the children interesting activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development. Our curriculum provides children with quality learning experiences, which are structured, balanced, relevant to the child, related to the real world and rooted in ‘PLAY’, promoting the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) focussing on the distinct needs of the children.
The EYFS framework outlines seven areas of learning and development in both an indoor and outdoor learning environment. All areas of learning and development are important and are inter-linked. There are three prime areas of learning, which are particularly important for your child’s development and future learning as they underpin the remaining four areas of learning:
There are four specific areas of learning, through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied:
You can view or download further information about the EYFS and your child’s learning by clicking on the links below:
Communication & Language
Communication and language development are two of our most important aims, and opportunities for children to improve their skills are essential as it is the basis for all learning. By providing a language rich environment children are encouraged to develop communication and language skills.
In nursery we always have time to talk with the children, and most important of all, to listen to them. Children are encouraged through activities to talk and listen to each other and adults in a variety of situations.
Personal, Social & Emotional Development
Personal, Social and Emotional Development are not taught in formal activities, but underpins all aspects of nursery.
We have high expectations of children’s behaviour and we respect their choices and ideas. In return we expect children to treat each other and all adults with courtesy and with kindness. We encourage the development of self-confidence, independence and self-awareness.
As a nursery we cater for social and emotional aspects of learning. We prepare the children for new events and special days, as these can be worrying for young children. Through stories and puppets we deal with issues such as toileting, bedtime routines, sharing, turn taking, birth of siblings and other major issues that affect children in their home life.
As adults we are aware how important it is for young children to move. We encourage children to crawl, run, jump, spin and move how their bodies feel they should.
All of this movement has direct impact on their ability to concentrate, be social, develop good fine motor control skills and become comfortable in their own bodies. Activities are planned to develop children’s skills in these areas as well as develop their gross motor skills such as climbing, balancing and running.
Finer skills are also developed through construction equipment, jigsaws, threading/weaving, scissor work and a range of sensory experiences. These experiences help develop skills to be able to later on use a pencil effectively.
Literacy encompasses reading and writing from the earliest stages of development such as looking at books and making marks and patterns in sand.
Books are always available for children to choose and enjoy, and staff are happy to read stories to individuals or groups of children. Children experience rhyme, rhythm, alliteration and letter sounds as fun activities to help develop their reading skills.
We encourage children to develop writing skills both indoors and outdoors. For example, our indoor role play area presents children with reasons to write eg. shopping lists, telephone messages, menu orders, etc. The outdoor area allows children to make marks on a large scale using water and paint brushes, chalks and paint, etc.
Mathematical understanding takes place in all areas of nursery where children have opportunities to develop numbers, colours, shapes, measurement/size, matching and sorting.
Through activities children often solve mathematical problems, they count, use numbers in their play, use mathematical vocabulary and experience addition and subtraction in a practical way, for example at group time such as counting straws, milk cartons, snacks on the tray etc. Children also explore mathematical concepts such as shapes, spaces and measures such as capacity, weight, height, balance and estimation, e.g. by filling cups and containers in the sand and water.
Understanding the World
Understanding of the World activities are based on first hand experiences, where children have opportunities to experiment, investigate, and find out, ask questions and use their senses.
Children are encouraged to use a variety of technology. We have a wide range of equipment including an interactive white board, computers, story phones, digital cameras, remote control toys and walkie talkies. The equipment is used across all areas of the curriculum where children’s skills and knowledge are developed. Children are encouraged to develop an awareness of being part of a community, for example their nursery, their families, their local environment, etc.
We celebrate family, traditional and cultural customs such as children’s birthdays, Christmas and Chinese New Year. We invite people in the local community to visit nursery for example: community police, health visitors, etc
Expressive Arts & Design
Expressive Arts give children time to explore and experiment with ideas, materials, activities, thoughts and feelings. Through this they learn to share, develop imagination, solve problems, extend vocabulary and play co-operatively with each other. Role play activities change frequently and we aim to reflect “life experiences” where children are given the opportunities to dress up and take on various roles, e.g. hairdresser, doctor, builder, vet, cook, etc.
Our children are encouraged to enjoy taking part in singing, dancing and playing musical instruments. Through these activities they find new ways of expressing themselves, improve their listening skills, learn to appreciate and enjoy a variety of music and develop an understanding of musical concepts such as loud/soft, fast/slow, etc.
Children are encouraged to participate in gluing, painting, printing and modelling. Opportunities like this help children develop their imagination, experiment with materials, plan and solve problems and gain confidence from creating something of their own.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
The characteristics of effective learning describe what we want for all of our children at Seaham Harbour Nursery School. They are what helps us inform our practice, from the planning to the delivery including the environment we create are all done with the characteristics in mind. We believe in giving the children the very best start to their education and teaching them the skills to be able to learn, to enjoy learning and to become lifelong learners.
The three main characteristics are:
- Playing and exploring – Children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
- Active learning – Children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.
- Creating and thinking critically – Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start.
We believe an important part of children learning to read is developing a love of books and sharing high quality books on a regular basis. We have chosen a selection of ‘core books’ to share with children throughout their journey at Seaham Harbour Nursery School.
The books have been selected to cater for a range of interests, to develop an awareness of rhyme and rhythm, alliteration, to support children in joining in with repetitive refrains, to show beautiful illustrations, to explain feelings or big events in a child’s life or to be just a fun story to enjoy.
The books support progression in reading skills and are available in our provision through activities, story times and on display for children to access independently
Your child may not yet be ready to form letters or you may like to just focus upon the letters in their first name. In nursery we focus upon the enjoyment of mark making as we recognise the development of mark making is a complex process.
We use a range of different strategies which aim to build children’s speaking and listening skills as well as developing their phonological awareness and skills. These are developed as part of a broad and rich curriculum that has speaking and listening at its centre, linking language with personal and social skills, physical and creativity, where for example music plays a key part in developing children’s language.
Many of the activities at this stage of learning are adult led with the intention of teaching young children the important basic elements of listening and discriminating sounds, separating words into syllables, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting and are often delivered in short, engaging group sessions building up their knowledge, skills and confidence. However, we also feel it is equally important to sustain and draw upon worthwhile, freely chosen activities in a language-rich environment that serves the best interests of the children by fully recognising their propensity for play and its importance in their development.
We provide children with a range of opportunities in all areas of the environment to develop a love of maths through games, songs, rhymes and play using concrete manipulatives. Through activities, children develop and solve mathematical problems, they count, use numbers, use mathematical vocabulary and experience addition and subtraction in practical ways, they identify and use numbers in their role play and as part of their daily routine. Children also have opportunities to explore mathematical concepts such as capacity, weight, height, balance and estimation.
Assessment forms part of the cycle of observing, planning and assessing in the Early Years. At Seaham Harbour Nursery School we want our children to feel safe and secure in our care, to be confident in the environment, have a high level of well-being and involvement, have resilience and perseverance to keep on trying when situations are challenging, enjoy learning and have the desire to do this.
Through assessments we will
- focus on each child across each term, to see how they learn and support them in reaching significant milestones
- encourage and develop partnerships with families to support and share learning between nursery and home
- check and monitor individual children and groups of children are making progress and where necessary take action to address
- identify children at an early stage who may require additional support
We will not spend unnecessary amounts of time writing observations or gathering evidence for all children. Instead we want to be with the children supporting, developing and extending their learning opportunities. Structures are in school to enable us to regularly discuss each child’s development and progress with staff colleagues and families.
How do we observe and monitor progress?
To develop a consistent approach across the school of understanding age related expectations we use Birth to Five Matters guidance (written by the sector for the sector) to make judgements, informed by our observations.
As like most other Durham Local Authority Nursery Schools, we use OP&L, (Observation of Play and Learning) a system written by the BEYA group of Nursery School Head teachers to record our observations and assessments.
The system is effective, in that all children are supported in reaching significant milestones, meaningful, so observations made inform our everyday practice and curriculum allowing us to plan our environment and actions to provide future learning opportunities and principled in that we observe to understand the child and we do not ‘test’ them, they are recognised as individuals on a learning journey.
Observations and assessments are made by all staff alongside simple, developmental milestones. These milestones reflect what we believe a ‘typical’ child should be able to achieve. We know that not all children will have a ‘typical’ development and OP&L allows us to celebrate each child’s story and focus on the support they need from us to develop. Judgements, informed by observations and knowledge of the child are made by staff as to whether they have ‘met’ or ‘not met’ developmental milestones.
The observations and assessments made enable us to discuss, reflect and plan our environment and learning opportunities to support and shape future learning.
Throughout each child’s learning journey at Seaham Harbour Nursery School, parents are encouraged to contribute to their child’s on line profile, by adding photographs, making comments, reflecting on learning experiences, sharing significant moments and having conversations with key members of staff about their child’s progress and development.
Impact is also evident through the milestones the children have achieved when they leave nursery and move onto Primary school. Children leave nursery as independent, confident learners with skills and knowledge to continue on their journey of learning.
Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND)
At Seaham Harbour Nursery School, we believe that inclusive education means providing all pupils with appropriate education and support alongside their peers. The Curriculum is all the planned activities that the school organises in order to promote learning, personal growth and development. Further information can be found in the SEN Information Report. If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail please contact the school to arrange an appointment.
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