At Pen Green our aim is to provide a safe, secure environment that is rich and stimulating and encourages children to develop autonomy and feel challenged. The atmosphere created places emphasis on fun, enjoyment and the celebration of each child’s achievements.
The pedagogical spaces are set up as open plan workshop environments, enabling children to freely access the resources they require. This encourages children to move around independently making their own choices and decisions about their play and learning experiences. We believe that children learn best from following their own interests, having first-hand, hands-on experiences and the time to revisit and repeat aspects of their play, with the support of responsive adults.
We believe it is important to observe the children and have frequent conversations with parents and carers throughout their child’s time in the setting, to find out about their current interests. This information then forms the basis of our planning and helps us to ensure that we are providing a range of appropriate and responsive play and learning opportunities.
All staff use the Early Years Foundation Stage EYFS (characteristics of effective learning, prime areas of learning and development and specific areas of learning and development) alongside other frameworks and assessment tools to plan appropriate learning and development experiences based on children’s individual interests. We think carefully about how children engage with other people and their environment to support each and every child to be an effective and motivated learner. Staff will observe how children use the resources and the spaces to plan further learning and development opportunities for children in the setting. Staff will negotiate with parents the most appropriate time for them to transition to a more appropriate play and learning space. For example, from 0-3 provision to Nursery.
When observing the children and planning for these experiences we use a range of frameworks and assessment tools to assist us. These are:
• Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE 2017)
• Well-being Scales (Laevers 1997, 2005)
• Involvement Scales (Laevers 1997, 2005)
• Schema Theory (Athey 2007, Arnold, 2013)
• Adult Pedagogic Strategies (Whalley & Arnold 1997, Gallagher & Lawrence 2015)
The workers in the setting will tell parents more about these frameworks during home visits and/or the period when they are settling their child in.
For more information on our curriculum and approach to learning and development in the early years, please contact reception on 01536 400068.
We have a range of resources available to the children - sand, water and malleable materials e.g. playdough, books, puppets, puzzles, musical instruments, small world equipment e.g. dolls house, and secure outside play areas. We think carefully about how we set up the resources and how we can promote all aspects of each child’s learning.
We also have opportunities for children to access other facilities on site at Pen Green - the beach, the soft room, the snoezelen, the water therapy room, the discovery area and the garden areas.
In addition to these facilities we also have access to a mini bus driven by a qualified mini bus driver, and insured staff who take children in their car, enabling us to take the children on local trips and outings.