Scallywags Nursery Curriculum
Curriculum arises from children’s choices, activities and experiences, building on the knowledge they bring from their homes and communities. Practitioners plan intentional, adult-led activities, and respond to child-initiated activities.
Staff plan using in the moment planning with the use of Development Matters and Birth to 5 Matters as a supporting guide. In the moment” planning is a very simple idea – observing and interacting with children as they pursue their own interests and also assessing and moving the learning on in that moment. The written account of some of these interactions becomes part of the child’s learning journey.
At Scallywags Nursery, curriculum is much more than ‘intent, implementation, impact’ because it becomes the lived experiences of children, and incorporates knowledge, skills and understanding within nursey, homes and the local community. This is not just a ‘watching and waiting’ approach to see where children are engaged and involved, but focuses on the interests and enquiries arising from the activities they choose to play with.
Staff aim to have an adult-focused activity each day (appropriate for the age of the children) that excites children and makes them feel included and thought about. To support the in the moment planning, each week we have a daily toy plan where we plan for new toys to be introduced to the rooms to keep learning fun and interesting.
We also plan weekly for the following activities. We believe that these 5 activities allow children to meet all the requirements of Development Matters in a fun and exciting way and intimately become well rounded independent learners.:
Field Forest Sessions
Developing skills such as:
Field Forest helps children to grow in confidence as a result of the freedom, time and space they are given in their learning. This allows them to demonstrate independence at each individual child’s rate.
Activities such as sharing tools and participating in play help teach the children to work together as a group, which strengthens their bonds and social ties.
The sensory experiences provided by Field Forest helps prompt language development. Improving communication skills has a positive effect on a child’s self-esteem and is a crucial part of their development.
Motivation and concentration
High levels of interest lead to high levels of attention. Spending time outdoors is exciting for a child. It tends to fascinate them which develops a strong will to participate and concentrate over long periods of time.
The increase in outdoor activity is bound to have a positive physical impact. Not only does the development of physical stamina improve but also gross and fine motor skills.
Knowledge and understanding
Children develop an interest in the great outdoors and respect for the environment. Encouraging children to develop a relationship with the natural world will help in protecting the environment for generations to come.
Levels the playing field
Taking children outside of the classroom removes the pressures of academia and allows them to play to their strengths. This is beneficial to children who struggle in the classroom because there is more of an opportunity for them to learn at their own pace.
Enjoyable for the children
Field Forest is fun! It is educational whilst also allowing children to play, explore and discover. Children who participate in Field Forest are generally observed to be happier. The fresh air, the excitement, getting mucky – it doesn’t get child friendlier than that.
Music & Dance Sessions
Increases sensory development
Just as taste, textures and colours aid a child’s sensory development, so does music. Exposing your child to different types of music can help create more pathways between the cells in their brains. This effect increases even more when you link music to different activities such as dancing.
Can improve literacy and numeracy
From an early age, babies can hear the difference between different types of sounds. After just a few weeks, a baby is able to identify their mother’s voice from other people’s. Exposure to music enhances a child’s natural ability to decode sounds and words.
By singing nursery rhymes, you can help children identify sound patterns and learn through repetition. In addition to that, music also helps children anticipate what is coming next in a poem or a song and they know how to put these patterns in a sequence. By mastering these skills, children build the base of literacy and numeracy.
Music is a mood lifter
Just as music can soothe a child, it can also lift their spirit.
Music helps build coordination
Even if children do not understand the lyrics of a song yet, they can definitely move to the rhythm of the music. Music encourages children’s inclination to move, developing their fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Plus, if the rhythm is very entertaining, you may even notice children start to jump up and down, which helps with their muscle development, strength and balance.
Music can help develop their vocabulary
Even though at first children may not understand the words in a song or in a nursery rhyme, they do develop their understanding by identifying the storytelling in a song. As children grow, they will start to realise that it’s not a word, but a sequence of sounds, each sound being a separate entity.
Yoga helps children manage their anxiety
The breathing exercises and relaxation techniques learned from practicing yoga can help children with stress management. Teaching children how to reduce stress in a healthy way is an important life skill that will help them as children and as adults.
Yoga improves children’s emotional regulation
Another benefit of yoga for children is that it helps children learn to be in the present moment while relaxing and gaining a peaceful state of mind, which ultimately improves their emotional regulation.
Yoga boosts children’s self-esteem
Yoga for kids can do wonders for their self-esteem. Perfecting a pose or improving their balance and flexibility can give young children a sense of personal empowerment.
Yoga increases children’s body awareness and mindfulness
Going through a variety of yoga poses helps children learn about their bodies and the movements they’re capable of doing.
Yoga enhances children’s concentration and memory
One of the top benefits of kids’ yoga is that the different types of moves requires children to focus and work on their memorization skills—both of which can translate over into their academic performance.
Yoga develops children’s strength and flexibility
Yoga helps strengthen children’s growing bodies and helps them improve their flexibility, which can reduce their chance of injury.
Yoga teaches discipline and reduces impulsivity
Yoga can reduce challenging behaviours in the classroom by providing a physical outlet for children to express themselves. It also teaches children about discipline as they work on clearing their minds and perfecting their poses.
Builds confidence and improves social skills
Gives children the opportunity to learn new skills and teaches them important life skills
Strengthens muscles and bones
Helps to develop coordination
Enhances concentration and learning, which increases productivity and success
Makes children feel good and elevates their mood
Inspires positivity and encourages tolerance
Helps to relieve stress and maintain mental and emotional wellbeing
Improves overall health and fitness and helps children maintain a healthy weight to prevent childhood obesity.
Act of kindness
Helping our local community
Kindness brings huge benefits to everyone. Children can make someone feel good, make themselves feel good as a result of their actions, and help those who see what you are doing feel inspired to act kindly themselves
Kindness activates the joyful area of the brain. This Improves health and reduces stress. Being kind creates a greater sense of belonging and improves self esteem – even small acts of kindness create feelings of self-worth and belonging.
To provide all children with equal access to a rich, broad, balance and differentiated curriculum well matched to their ages, abilities, interests, attitudes and needs.
To increase children’s knowledge, skills and understanding as they grow and develop and strengthen their connections with the world around them.
To ensure the curriculum is creative, carefully planned and structured to ensure that the learning is continuous and that children make good progress in the development of their learning, with language and vocabulary at the centre of all we do.
To engage the children's interest by offering opportunities to extend creative learning, challenge imagination, value uniqueness, and to encourage and motivate them to learn.
To provide children with lots of exciting, first hand experiences that immerse children in the world around them to reinforce their learning and to underpin their growing knowledge, skills and understanding.
To facilitate awe and wonder and cause children to see the wonderful world in which they live.
To provide children with a curriculum which enables them to develop their talents, skills and a love of learning.
To provide children with a curriculum that allows them to become independent learners, with the knowledge and skills they will need to support them in their transitions to different rooms within the nursery and then onto school.
Our curriculum has been designed by qualified teachers. Scallywags Nursery teachers work closely with highly skilled nursery nurses to provide learning opportunities that are exciting and engage awe and wonder into the children's lives and improve the quality of education they receive. Our curriculum is broad, ambitious, challenging, unique, with new experiences and sequential.
Our curriculum starts with children at the centre of all that we do. Children enter nursery with varying abilities and experiences, and we recognise that parents know their own child best. Complementary taster sessions are planned in advance to support the transition into nursery. During these sessions parents will meet their child’s key worker to talk about their child and the type of care they would like their child to receive.
Scallywags Nursery staff skilfully observe children and using their expert knowledge of child development and the characteristics of effective learning they sequence learning to ensure continuity and progression through an exciting curriculum that is constantly enhanced and enriched, and so that children become reflective and resilient learners.
Our learning environments, both indoor and outdoor, provide a safe place where children can develop, explore and investigate.
Lion Cubs (0-17 months ), Monkeys (17 months – 2 years), Hippos (2-2.5 Years) , Crocodiles (2.5 – 3.5 years) and Zebra Pre School (3.5 – 4.5 years) each have their own learning environment where their needs can be met most effectively.
A child’s first two years are critical for the development of the brain and for language development.
From birth, babies are busy, active learners, immediately investigating the sights, sounds, and feel of the world. They explore the world with their senses when developing motor skills.
At Scallywags we provide babies with what they need: a safe world, rich with opportunities to actively explore, with books, songs, and a lot of listening and responding to their vocalisations and words.
As a child turns 2, they are moving from the total dependence of babyhood to a more independent, mobile world. At this age children are exploring their powers to communicate, to move purposely, to assert their independence and individuality, and to control their important bodily functions.
At Scallywags we provide a relaxed environment that two- to three-year-olds need. Staff understand the frequent changes in moods, interests, and capabilities and provide calm, consistent care and supportive teaching.
As children move into the independence of the preschool years the programme for learning develops into a more structured pace of meaningful and purposeful learning, where children are encouraged to approach the world with curiosity and with a positive disposition to learning. At this stage children need confidence and the skills and desire to think for themselves, to solve problems, to work with others, to communicate, and to gain an increasing understanding of the world and how it works.
The language development of each child is the core element of our curriculum. Good speaking and listening skills are the foundation for all other areas of learning. Nursery staff model effective communication with children by commenting, asking open questions, modelling key vocabulary and introducing new words to enable children to become confident communicators. Quality texts from books and stories are often used as starting points for our learning themes.
Our curriculum is further enriched with a variety of first-hand experiences and links with the local community, and where children can develop an understanding of the world beyond their local community. Children enjoy a weekly field forest session, music and dance session, yoga sessions, PE session and visits to the local community as part of our weekly act of kindness session.
Children's achievements are monitored and measured in each child's Learning Journal
Children's learning is assessed on entry to nursery, every month, at 2 years, and then is moderated termly by our nursery teachers
Our curriculum is monitored by nursery managers
Groups of children's learning is monitored and compared on a termly basis
Monitoring and evaluation systems are regularly reviewed and acted upon i.e. Planning and Learning Journal scrutinise identify curriculum strengths and areas for improvement so that the Quality of Education is most effective
Teacher and Staff Appraisal systems ensure staff are accountable for our high-quality curriculum
Staff make professional judgements about the balance between activities led or guided by adults and those led by children.
Adult directed activities are those which are directed by the adult and can be useful in the teaching of specific skills such as demonstrating how to use tools or equipment.
Adult guided activities are those which the adult initiates. These activities are often playful or experiential. They are open ended and should motivate a keen interest in learning.
Child-initiated experiences take place within an environment the adult has set up and planned but will be wholly decided upon by the child, based on the child’s own motivation and remains under the child’s control.
In addition we make suggestions as to how parents may support their child’s learning at home, this is done a variety of ways, including in the welcome pack, displays, verbal communication, parent meetings and at stay and play sessions.
In planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice. Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning 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; and
Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
At Scallywags Nursery, we follow Development Matters. Development Matters, starts from when a child is born until the end of the Reception Year in Primary School. There are 7 Areas of Learning. 3 Prime Areas of Learning and 4 Specific Areas of Learning:
Communication and language – children develop skills and confidence in speaking and listening in a range of situations.
Physical development – children develop their co-ordination, control, and movement through being active.
Personal, social and emotional development – within clear boundaries children form positive relationships, develop social skills and respect for others and understand appropriate behaviour.
Literacy – through the daily phonics lesson (Read, Write Inc.) children link sounds and letters and begin to read and write. In addition, there is a daily literacy lesson and planned opportunities for guided reading. Fine motor skills development and handwriting are also modelled and practised.
Mathematics – through the daily maths activities including conversations about number, ‘everyday’ maths and oral rehearsal of number sequences, size, shape and patterns.
Understanding the world – finding out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive arts and design – exploring a wide range of media and sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
We use the Development Matters outcomes to review children's progress and attainment. However, our well-planned curriculum is much more than this so that children's learning is enriched with exciting and challenging key learning opportunities.
There are seven areas of learning and development that shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Development Matters - Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage (publishing.service.gov.uk supports practitioners in implementing the statutory requirements of the EYFS.
For more information about the EYFS click here
Developing literacy and Numeracy across the nursery
Early exposure to books helps children develop the attitudes and skills that they will need to become readers and writers. We therefore prioritise the sharing/reading of books with all children in the nursery including babies. Research also shows that early exposure to rhymes helps to develop children’s auditory discrimination. This is required in order to master phonics. The nursery has a structured programme of teaching nursery rhymes, beginning in the baby room, with the aim that children will leave nursery with 40-50 rhymes.
Before children are taught to write individual letters of their name, we teach children a series of handwriting movements. This will prevent children from going into reception classes with incorrect letter formations which are hard to correct. In addition, there will also be opportunities to develop their fine motor skills which act as a pre-cursor to handwriting through activities as well as mark making and painting.
Throughout the nursery, daily opportunities to draw children’s attention to size, shape and also number will be taken. This will take place through a mixture of child led and structured activities with an increase of explicit opportunities taking place in the pre-school room. To support children’s numeracy, children’s key person will also suggest games and activities that can be played at home.
Play is part of learning and our curriculum aims to make the children’s learning fun with realistic activities and plans. Scallywags Nursery encourages children to play in many different ways including free play, structured play, group play, imaginative play, role-play and physical play both inside and out.
The importance of play is never undervalued and is always recognised individually to each child.
The children are encouraged to build positive relationships with their peers, with positive attitudes being promoted to develop their self-esteem, confidence and sense of belonging.
Our wide range of resources is used to support the children in their play both in and outside. The staff will support the children’s learning by role modelling and supporting play.
During play children will be encouraged to be creative and think critically through the use of using open-ended questions to extend their learning and develop interests. Throughout the day the children are given space and time to play on their own to develop their skills and are supported by adults in directed educational play.