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Early Years – Nursery and Reception

Overview

The Early Years unit is comprised of our Nursery and Reception classes, with a fantastic, shared outdoor space. Throughout the day, children can be seen whizzing up and down the playground on a variety of vehicles or hunting for minibeasts in our wildlife garden. We teach the children how food grows in our veggie patches and they love nothing more than to make mud pies in our outdoor kitchen. Inside, the children independently access all of the resources, using them to develop a whole host of skills. We recognise that all children are unique and plan individual learning experiences based on their interests and learning styles.

Our well-qualified staff recognise that for your child St Piran's may be the first time that they have been away from you. We work hard to build strong, positive relationships, to ensure the transition into St Piran's life is as smooth as possible.

As parents and teachers, we are not sure of the world our children will step into as they leave the secure blanket of school, and so our aim is to equip them with 21st century skills, enabling them to thrive, no matter which challenges they will face.

The Early Years curriculum at St Piran's is designed to develop the whole child. This includes offering the opportunity to consider the spiritual and moral side of life, through our planned activities and daily acts of collective worship.

The curriculum is enriched through regular specialist lessons, taught by specialist staff. Throughout the year, frequent trips and visits are organised to complement the learning happening inside of the classroom. Recently, these have included posting letters to Father Christmas, a visit to the theatre, monkeying around at Marwell Zoo and visiting the animals at Odds Farm.

Curriculum

As a school, we have chosen to opt out of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. This means that we have the freedom to plan our activities based on the children's interests, which may lead us out on a Gruffalo Hunt around our idyllic site or to baking gingerbread men in the school's kitchen! We are also allowed to write and follow our own assessments, rather than those set by the government. This gives us the flexibility to clearly identify your child's achievements and set their next steps. All activities planned are designed to cover everything in the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and more.

We are living in an ever changing world, and the education your child receives during their school life is preparing them for the unknown. With this in mind, we have designed a skills-based curriculum which will teach your children the learning skills they will need throughout their whole life. We have called this the St Piran's Learning Habits. 

Within the Early Years the focus is on three main areas:

Engagement

We encourage the children to explore the environment they are in and access resources independently. We let the children take on roles within their play and explore what it feels like to be in someone else's shoes, teaching empathy and understanding. We allow the children to take risks within their learning and push themselves out of their comfort zone, we also encourage them to manage risks independently.

Motivation

We encourage the children to keep trying if they face difficulties and teach them that it is ok to make mistakes! We teach the children that the learning process is just as important as the end result and encourage them to complete activities for their own satisfaction rather than for rewards or praise.

Thinking

We value each child's ideas and encourage them to have independent thoughts rather than following the crowd, finding original ways to do things. We want the children to choose how they want to complete an activity and learn through trial and error, modifying their approach as they work.

Nursery School Day

The children are at the heart of everything we do at St Piran's, and so our day is planned to reflect their individual needs and interests.

The activities planned are a careful balance of adult led and child initiated activities.  We believe that there is no area of the curriculum which cannot be enhanced through outdoor learning, and so ensure that the children benefit from free-flow opportunities throughout the day.

At the beginning of each day, parents are warmly welcomed into the setting.  This is a valuable time to share learning experiences, as well as a chance to catch up and chat informally with your child's key worker.  Throughout the week, the curriculum is enriched by specific activities, taught by the specialist staff your children will encounter throughout their whole school career.

A Typical Day in Nursery

Time

Description

7:30am - 8:15am

Wrap around care is available in our Breakfast Club.

8:15am - 8:45am

Parents are warmly welcomed see their child to the nursery door and speak with their Classroom Leader or Key Person. 

8:45am - 9:15am

Children are invited to the carpet for registration and circle time activity, which has a different focus each day.

9:15am - 11:30am

Children free-flow play indoors and in the garden throughout the morning.  During this time, the children are invited to enjoy a morning snack comprising of fruit, a carbohydrate snack and a drink of either milk or water.  We also take part in specialist lessons including yoga, dance, PE, swimming, woodland learning, music and cooking throughout the morning.

11:00am - 11:10am

Tidy up time followed by our morning reflection time. 

11:15am

Children are encouraged to use the toilet and wash their hands before lunch. 

11:30am - 12noon

All children eat their hot two course lunch cooked on site.  Older nursery children eat in the dining room with Reception children.  Younger children eat in White Lodge.  

12noon - 1:00pm

Children enjoy playtime outdoors (unless very bad weather). 

12:45pm

Children staying only for the morning session go home. 

1:00pm 

Children join together for a group activity or discussion. The afternoons have no timetable restraints, and so this is the time that the children begin to form relationships with their peers and lay the foundations for life-long friendships.

3:00pm - 3:15pm

Tidy up time followed by afternoon reflection time and end of the day story. 

3:15pm

End of the Nursery day.

3:15pm - 6:00pm

Wrap around care is available in Extended Day.

Reception School Day

In the Reception department we have three classes of 18 children. Each class has a support assistant who works under the direction of the class teacher. The children follow a curriculum that is broad and balanced and incorporates the National Curriculum and the Early Years Foundation.

We are able to offer children specialist teaching in French, art, music, games, swimming and ICT. The school's facilities include a Pre-Prep library, a sports hall, a swimming pool, a dance studio and art studio which children from Reception use weekly.

A Reception School Day

Time

Description

7:30am - 8.15am

Wrap around care is available in our Breakfast Club.

8:15am - 8:45am

Parents are warmly welcomed into the Early Years garden to drop their child at the classroom door.  There are opportunities at this time to talk to the class teacher. 

8:45am

Children are invited to the carpet for registration. 

9:00am - 11:15am

Children engage in a variety of inside and outdoor adult led activities, child-initiated learning experiences and specialist lessons throughout the morning.  Specialist lessons include IT, PE, Games and Music.  During the morning, a snack of fruit and milk or water is offered.

11:15am - 12noon

Children are encouraged to use the toilet and wash their hands before walking to the dining room where a home-cooked hot lunch is provided.

12noon - 12:50pm

Children go outside to free play with friends (dependent on the weather).

12:50pm - 1:00pm

Registration and circle time commences.

1:10pm - 3:00pm

Afternoon play which may include specialist lessons, such as French, woodland learning or swimming, or may be a continuation of earlier activities. 

3:00pm - 3:30pm

Story time.

3:30pm

End of the Reception day.

3:30pm - 6:00pm

Wrap around care is available in Extended Day.