We start with the quality of our teachers, ensuring they are skilled in providing a curriculum which is ambitious, engaging, nurturing and relevant for all. Learning takes place in every part of the early years environment, within and beyond the classroom, in outdoor areas and in the dining hall. We believe there is learning in every moment of the day, from sharing a story, eating lunch to dressing up or building a rocket.
We provide an excellent, well-resourced and stimulating early years curriculum which fulfils our aims that all of our children are:
Developing independence, learning how to listen and work with others are key first learning traits in early years and we ensure every one of the traits is encouraged and articulated from the beginning. This feeds into our everyday language and our expectations for all children: for example making sure children know that making a mistake is part of learning; encouraging creativity in finding different solutions to a problem; or praising a child for asking questions to learn more.
Excellent learners are at work and encouraged all the time throughout the curriculum, whether in putting on a coat, lining up safely, learning to write my name, taking turns in a game, asking to go to the bathroom or joining in a story. We make our language and expectations for learning clear and children understand that being an excellent learner is very important for everyone.
We follow children’s interests to engage them in learning, balancing this with exposing them to new, exciting, hands-on experiences. We create opportunities for the awe and wonder of discovery, ensuring high levels of participation and engagement.
We believe in quality first teaching to ensure children achieve, so our focus is first and foremost on the effectiveness of our teaching and the curriculum. We have a thematic approach with six main themes each year. We have structured, precise and successful teaching of early literacy skills, phonics and mathematics, through clear programmes of study, excellent resources and enthusiastic delivery – ensuring that children leave Reception with a high level of core skills before they reach year 1.
Where children are finding learning hard or are not achieving, we consider how more time or support can be offered through our personalised provision.
Working in classes with many other children brings challenges, especially to the youngest children. Resolving differences, learning to listen, to share and to consider the needs of others are a core part of the personal and social development which is rightly a key area in our early years. Learning how to be an excellent communicator, to understand and be understood is modelled throughout all learning situations. Early language and vocabulary development underpin children’s later achievement and we focus on how our children develop the skills need to interact well. In our early years, every interaction is a learning opportunity.
We know that all of our children enter Lime Tree with differing experiences and therefore we strive to provide progressively richer experiences in the wider world throughout the year. Coupled with this is the knowledge of our children’s family backgrounds, customs and experiences, ensuring these are shared and valued throughout our setting. We ensure that children are able to talk about their experiences so that they are always ready for the next stage in their learning journey.
At Lime Tree we ensure that children are healthy – this is both physically and mentally. Children learn about the importance of physical health and how they can contribute to this as well as how imperative good mental health is. Zones of regulation is introduced to children starting with our youngest learners at aged 2, where they learn basic emotions and how adults can assist with ‘feeling better’. By the time children are in reception, they can recognise which emotional zone they are in and state some strategies that could assist them to regulate. This life skill is shared with parents so that it not only assists our children but also their families.
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