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What we learn

At The Old Forge Day Nursery we are committed to ensuring each child feels safe and secure within the setting and have this at the very heart of our values. These are:

Big Hearts, Open Minds, Great Adventures

We are currently building our own bespoke Curriculum that will encompass these values and have the children at the heart of everything we do.

We want every child to feel loved, valued and safe. To achieve their full potential and to be happy and healthy. By the time children are ready to leave our setting we strive to ensure they are emotionally secure, active and successful learners as well as independent thinkers.

Underpinning our curriculum is the Birth to 5 matters, Characteristics of Effective Learning and the Leuven scales. As well as this we have our ’10 Steps to Success’ which each room will use alongside these to support your child to get ready for transitioning to the next room or onto school.

Our Road to Success is what we use to enable staff to plan those next steps in each child’s development. The core of our curriculum remains the same. It is the experiences that we offer that will continue to change to suit the differing needs of the children.

What is Birth to 5?

Birth to 5 is non – statutory guidance for the Early years. We at The Old Forge Day Nursery have decided to use this rather than Developmental Matters as it speaks to the heart of our ethos as a company. Each section of the Birth to 5 was written by specialists in their field and was written by the sector, for the sector with the child at core. The prime areas are:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development

These underpin the specific areas Literacy, Numeracy, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design. A strong foundation in the prime areas of learning enable children to access all areas of the curriculum, giving them a great start to their educational life. The document is divided into ranges, which overlap. This is because children’s development is not linear, and no child progresses at exactly the same rate as those of a similar age. Birth to 5 Matters – Parent Leaflet

What are the Leuven scales?

Here at The Old Forge children’s wellbeing is paramount. This is why we use the Leuven scales as part of our everyday practice to ensure that all children’s wellbeing is at its highest and that they are happy and involved in activities throughout the day. Here is a little snippet of what the Leuven scales are.

Created by Ferre Leavers and his team at Leuven university, the Leuven scale allows child-care settings and schools to measure children’s emotional wellbeing and involvement on a five – point scale. This is done through observations across the year in a range of contexts.

When a child’s wellbeing is at it’s highest the child feels at ease, shows higher levels of self-confidence, resilience and self-esteem. They are spontaneous in their actions and are free of emotional uncertainties which we know is important for boosting mental health. However, those children with lower levels of well-being appear anxious, dependent on adults, shows uncertainty when engaging in the environment around them and therefore makes it difficult for them to unleash their full potential and show deep levels of learning. Those showing high levels of involvement show a deep level of meaningful learning and when engaging in the environment around them show curiosity, fascination, profound interest, and a deep level of satisfaction, being completely engrossed in the activity.

The assessment takes place over a few minutes and allows the practitioner to assess the child or children’s level of wellbeing and involvement during that period of time. There are many reasons why a child’s wellbeing and involvement may be low in that moment, something simple as they have fallen out with a friend, hurt themselves, are new to the setting or room.

The practitioners then use this information to look at ways to improve these levels. This could be building relationships with staff and children within the room particularly if the child is new to the environment, re-arranging the room to suit the children’s needs, identifying the children’s interests, and engaging them in an activity liked to this or providing a stimulus to excite and engage the children. Children’s wellbeing and involvement naturally fluctuate throughout the day and by using this scale it supports staff to ensure that these stay at a high level.

Discussions with parents are also essential to supporting children’s wellbeing. If there are any events happening in the family that could affect your child’s wellbeing, please do make staff aware, so they can support your child when they are attending nursery. Ensuring children feel happy, safe, and loved is important to us as a nursery and is embedded in our practice, which is why using the Leuven scales is so important to us.

What are the Characteristics of Effective Learning?

The Characteristics of Effective Learning (COEL) are a statutory element of the EYFS and are incorporated in Birth to 5 matters. Characteristics of Effective learning are made up of three aspects, these are Playing and Exploring (engagement – ready to learn), Active Learning (motivation – willing) and Thinking Creatively and Critically (thinking – able).

While the seven areas of learning and development focus on what children may learn during the first 5 years, COEL focuses on how the children. “These learning dispositions, behaviours and habits of mind are particularly important in the EYFS because these build the foundations needed to support children to become strong lifelong learners and independent thinkers.” –Birth to 5

While a 12-month-old and a 4 year old may attempt things very differently, they can still display the characteristics. Here is a brief overview of each area with examples of how this may look at different ages. Characteristics of Effective Learning

10 steps to success

At The Old Forge Day Nursery we are committed to supporting your child at every stage of the journey right from the start. Alongside the Birth to 5 range, Characteristics of Effective Learning and the Leuven scales we have designed our very own 10 Steps for each room to support your child when transitioning from room to room. These are focused around the prime areas of learning: Personal, Social and Emotional development, Communication and Language and Physical development. These are designed as a guide to support both practitioners and parents on key skills each child should have ready for when they transition to the next room or when transitioning to school. Your child’s development is progressive and will not always follow a linear path and alongside these steps, will of course learn many other skills based around their age and stage of development. We have designed these alongside the rooms to ensure they are targeted to support every child as they move through the nursery. (If your child has not met one or some of these steps before they transition to the next room, there is no need to worry. This simply becomes a focus skill for staff in conjunction with yourselves to support them on the next part of their journey)

The steps are not designed as a tick list, but merely as a guide based around expected development. Staff will use these as part of their reflections and observations of your child to support their development. If you have any queries or questions, feel free to ask and we will be happy to answer them.