The importance of early childhood education cannot be overstated.
A child’s early years are the foundation for their future development, providing a strong base for lifelong learning, including cognitive and social development. Well-established research continues to emphasise the importance of early childhood education as an essential building block of a child’s future success, with 90% of a child’s brain being developed by the age of 5.
Our job as practitioners has never been more important as we prepare children for a future in an ever evolving and progressive world, for jobs and careers that to this day do not yet exist. It is therefore fundamental that we offer our learners the best start to their education, and lives, as possible.
We have designed a curriculum with our children at the heart, with their experiences, their interests, and their needs at the root of every decision we make.
Our curriculum is sequentially planned to develop over time, continually building on prior learning and imparting knowledge in manageable and coherent chunks. We aim to be responsive in our planning to the children's needs and interests and develop knowledge and skills in an engaging and purposeful way. An enquiry question helps to give the learning purpose and guide us through our learning journey.
Learning about ourselves is a fundamental part of child development, especially as children start to ask questions about who they are and how they are the same, or different, from others. For children to make sense of the world around them, they first need to have a good understanding of themselves as individuals. Over the first term of starting in Reception we therefore focus on the 'Here' - the immediate factors that contribute to the children's identity. Our Learners bring with them a wealth of different knowledge and experiences when they start school. To fully harness and build on their prior knowledge, we start the year by learning all about them, their families, their school, their home, their interests, and their celebrations. We respond to the experiences the children bring to school and events that are happening around us, working closely with our families to develop strong, trusting relationships.
As we move through the year, the children develop a secure knowledge of what makes them 'them' and a growing understanding of their place in their immediate environment e.g. school and family. We naturally look to broaden their experiences by expanding their learning from focusing on the 'Here' to the 'Near'. Our enquiry question has grown from asking 'Who are we?' to 'Where do we live?'. The children learn more about their local area and community, focusing on what makes Poole and Dorset a special place to live in. As they develop their knowledge and awareness of their locality, we aim to foster a sense of awe and wonder about their hometown. We want the children to be proud of where they live and seek to preserve and nurture its history.
On coming to the end of the academic year, we want the children to reflect on their learning and consider the endless possibilities that their journey holds for them. They have explored their uniqueness through the 'Here', their origins through the 'Near' and finally their place in the world through the 'Far'. We believe it is important for children to see beyond their front door, to vicariously experience the world around them, to see similarities and differences in people, traditions, and beliefs, but to know that it is these differences that give us the greatest scope to learn. They teach us new ways of viewing the world and empower us to grow as empathetic and open-minded individuals. Through discovering more of the world around them and the limitless places they can go, we hope to inspire our future generations to aim high, to dream goals beyond our wildest ones and to make a difference, in whatever they choose to do.