The Early Learning Goals emphasise six key areas of learning:
- Communication, Language and Literacy
- staff set up a rich and varied environment and are always on hand to support and listen to each child. They ask open questions to allow children to develop their language skills and thought processes. They encourage children to listen carefully. Our lovely story books and rhymes extend a child's everyday language and understanding of the world. These in turn foster an enjoyment of books and reading. Our carefully selected reading schemes ensure children have a positive, rewarding first start to the printed word and become self-motivated to want more. Fine motor skills, an essential requirement for writing are developed through play such as threading, clay, playdough and many small toys. Correct letter formation is a natural progression.
- Mathematics - we use a practical approach allowing children to sort and classify, measure and develop an awareness of pattern and numbers, and recognise and understand properties of 2 and 3D shapes. Our shop introduces the concept of money, counting, change and weighing. Our home corner develops one to one concepts - one knife/fork/plate for each person. In addition, sand and water play, free and directed, develop an understanding of capacity, volume and estimating.
- Knowledge and Understanding of the World - we use topics to help develop a child's awareness of the world around him/her. Children talk about their experiences in their own environment and further afield in this country and abroad, which the staff can then expand on. We have interest, nature and science tables to develop a child's curiosity. An awareness of other cultures and festivals is developed throughout the year.
- Physical Development - we develop gross motor skills (whole body movements) and fine motor skills (hand/eye co-ordination) with our toys and varied activities. We have large balancing and climbing apparatus and small P.E. apparatus such as bats, balls and wheeled toys. All these can be used throughout the year, either in our indoor hall or outside in one of our large secure, garden areas. Body awareness is also developed through movement.
- Creative Development - we provide opportunities that allow children to explore and experiment in movement/music/art/role play/free play and we encourage and praise their individual approaches. Our art activities include collage, mask, hat and puppet making, clay, modelling, painting and printing and the childrens work is attractively mounted and displayed on the walls of the Centre.
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development - with our open plan format, children are free to interact with each other, to explore and create for much of the day. Language, confidence, independence, self-esteem and recognition of what is right and wrong are fostered in a natural, enjoyable way.
Children follow a structured morning programme incorporating free play and outside play, music, story, art and craft and small group work. Older children read individually and bring their reading books home for reinforcement. Afternoon sessions are more unstructured. Occasional T.V. programmes are followed.
We plan our activities linked to "topics" which cover all the Early Learning Goals. Each topic lasts for approximately six weeks. Recent topics have included: "Travel and Transport", "Stories and Nursery Rhymes", and "Looking after yourself". Activities are differentiated so that individual needs are met.
The ethos of Little Learners is the creation of an environment where a child's confidence, self-esteem and skills are nurtured leading to independence.