The Ark at Avanti has a Kindergarten for 2, 3 and 4 year olds. Our room is at the end of the Kindergarten block nearest to the school car park.
The Kindergarten runs during term time (38 weeks a year) Tuesday to Thursday 9am to 3pm. We have 3 staff. Monica Gonzalez (level 5 Early Years Teacher), Sharon Parrott (Level 3 Early Years Practitioner) and Laura Pearce (Level 2 Apprentice).
The day follows a Steiner Waldorf Early Years rhythm and curriculum with chopping of vegetables and fruit, painting with watercolours, hand crafts and play with toys made with natural materials. The children are held in a steady and sure rhythm through each day so that they have periods of being busy and times of resting. The art of story telling without books is practiced and the children’s imaginations are developed through lots of open ended materials to play with. A sense of connection with the seasons is encouraged through cooking and eating with seasonal foods as well as playing outside everyday (a hat, waterproof trousers and a coat are essential!). Different grains are used in the cooking each day (eg Barley on Tuesdays, Wednesday Millet and Rye on Thursdays).
Children will learn songs for each season and the same story will be used several times so that it becomes very familiar, like a good bedtime story. Props are used to tell the story once children become familiar with it and they then may move on to using those props in their free play as they re-tell the story or develop one of their own.
Our room is decorated to be calm and welcoming. You will see natural materials used for furniture and as play-things. Out side children enjoy sliding down the bank, playing in the sand pit, growing plants, mixing up mud and leaves in the mud kitchen and playing make believe.
We accept Early Years Entitlement funding. If you are using your entitlement elsewhere you can pay the fees directly to us. Fees over and above those covered by Early Years Entitlement (or Extended Entitlement) will be charged at £6.40/ hour. Lunches will be charged at £2.60 for each day attended.
In order to keep the Kindergarten viable we are going to have to increase fees from 1st May 2021 to £6.65 per hour for any hours additional to your funding. Lunches will increase to £2.75.
We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework which is a document that sets the standards for learning, development and care of children from birth to five years of age.
What Is the Early Years Foundation Stage?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the stage of education for children from birth to the end of the reception year. It sets the standards for the learning, development, and care of your child from birth to 5 years old and ensure that your child will learn and develop well and be kept healthy and safe. It is based on the recognition that children learn best through play and active learning and is the same curriculum as in reception classes in school. From September 2021 the EYFS has changed.
What Will My Child Be Learning?
The EYFS framework outlines seven areas of learning and development and educational programmes. There are three prime areas of learning, which are particularly important for your child’s development and future learning:
• Communication and language
• Personal, Social, and emotional development
• Physical development
There are four specific areas of learning, through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied:
• Understanding the world
• Expressive arts and design
We will consider your child’s needs and interests to plan challenging and enjoyable activities and experiences. You can help us to do this by sharing your observations of your child’s interests at home.
There are also three characteristics of effective teaching and learning:
• Playing and exploring
• Active learning
• Creating and thinking critically
These tell us about how each child learns not what they are learning
Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals, and solve problems. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults.
The new curriculum gives us the opportunity to spend more time interacting and playing with your children. This means that we will not be completing as many written observations and putting them on Famly. This does mean that we will know your children very well and be able to share observations verbally with you. It is important that we continue to listen to you as parents regularly.
What can you do to help your child?
• Chat, play and read to and with them
• Encourage them to be independent
• Play board games with them
• Teach them about their own environment and community
• Teach them to be creative with craft and Role play experiences.
There is a new focus on early language and extending vocabulary. You can help us do this by:
• Having quality learning conversations and interactions with your child
• Reading a range of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction texts
• Teaching your child new words and vocabulary
• Sharing what you are doing with your child at home
Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s Family worker.
It is the role of the practitioners to then differentiate learning to ensure that every child is included. The practitioner will then write observations of individual children in play celebrating achievements. Next steps will also be planned in order to take individual children’s learning forward; this in turn will enable children to achieve their full potential. Your child’s learning journey will be formally put together by their Key Person (we use the phrase Family Worker), who will document your child’s learning and development on an electronic learning journal called ‘Famly’. Upon joining us, you will be provided with log in details to access the learning journal, once set up you will be able to see your child’s learning journal from the comfort of your own home.