Your child’s first experience at school is crucial to how they will approach learning for the rest of their life. Here at Tenby Schools, Setia Eco Park, we adopt a play-based approach, as we believe that it is through playing that children are most engaged to learn.
Here, Ms. Nicola Brown, Head of Tenby International School, Primary, shed some light about our Early Years programme.
What is the theory behind our Early Years?
The new Early Years setting is an area based on the play philosophy. It was designed around exploration and enquiry based learning, really allowing for individualised attainment. We use the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) here at Tenby and this Curriculum is built with learning stages leading to children achieving the Early Learning goals by the time they leave Reception.
One of the underlying principles of this is that every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. Children will achieve their goals in the 7 areas of learning at different times and in different ways. There are 3 prime areas, which are:
• Communication and Language
• Physical Development
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
and 4 specific areas:
• Understanding the world
• Expressive Arts and Design
Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. This is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, negotiate the world around them and relate to others. Children learn by leading their own learning, and by taking part in adult-guided play in areas such as roleplay and construction. There is an ongoing judgement to be made by practitioners about the balance between activities led by children, and activities led or guided by an adult. The most important thing to note is that play is learning, this is how children develop and it needs to be seen as this.
Why is our Early Years Learning Centre build the way it is?
Our fantastic new Early Years is built around the play theory. Children have a big open space in which to explore, build and most importantly learn at their own pace. Adults are the facilitators of learning and we are there to guide children through questioning and prompts.
We have an art area, water play, sand and bark as well as role-play, a library and writing areas. Children are encouraged to use all areas daily to meet the learning strands mentioned above. The children do baking, swimming, Physical Education, Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin weekly to further enhance learning for the whole child.
How do we know what learning is happening?
We use the online assessment/ tracking system called Tapestry. This allows a firm partnership between home and school. Parents and teachers upload photos, videos and examples of work to this online platform. A member of staff is allocated to looking after this and will comment on the different upload, suggesting ways to further extend learning for individual children.
What makes us Amazing?
Our space is unique, we have big open classrooms, a stage for performances and lots of room for children to learn and grow. The adults in our space facilitate the learning. Our practitioners respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction. As children grow older, and as their development allows, it is expected that the balance will gradually shift towards more activities led by adults, to help children prepare for more formal learning, ready for Year 1.