The Early Years curriculum within the Pre-Preparatory School has a wide range of learning opportunities aimed at stimulating and nurturing your child’s development and interests, in an intellectual, physical, spiritual, social and emotional sense.
Reception, Kindergarten and Nursery
During these early years, the curriculum follows the Foundation Stage framework across seven learning areas. This is a statutory framework taught in all schools that receive Education Grant Funding.
The seven key areas of learning (Early Learning Goals) for the Foundation Stage are:
1. PERSONAL, SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
This area of learning is about emotional well-being, promoting self esteem. It is also about developing respect for others, social competence and a positive disposition for learning.
2. COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
The development of communication and language is at the heart of young children’s learning. It includes giving opportunities for speaking and listening for different purposes; developing children’s confidence and skill in expressing themselves.
3. LITERACY DEVELOPMENT
This involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters, being read a wide variety of books, and beginning to read and write.
Within the Early Years/Foundation Stage, the alphabet is learnt by a method called Jolly Phonics. Phonics are the building bricks of all words and will eventually help your child decipher new vocabulary.
In Jolly Phonics the 42 main sounds of English are taught, not just the alphabet sounds. For each sound there is an action which helps the children remember the sound the letter makes. In Reception, as the letters are taught, they are stuck into a ‘Sound Book’ which your child will bring home. The letters are not introduced in alphabetical order. The first group ‘s, a, t, i, p, n’ has been chosen because they make more simple three letter words than any other six letters. Sounds with more than one way of being written are first taught in one form only; for instance, the sound ‘ai’ (rain) is on the Sound Sheet, the alternatives ‘a-e’ (cake) and ‘ay’ (day) will be taught later.
Children’s mathematical development arises out of daily experiences in a rich and interesting environment. It involves becoming confident and competent in learning key skills in numeracy and simple mathematical problem solving.
5. UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD
In this area of learning, children are developing the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help them make sense of the world. This forms the foundation stones for later work in science, design and technology, history, geography, information and communication technology.
6. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT
Physical development in the Foundation Stage is about growth of co-ordination, skills, control, manipulation and movement. Two other very important aspects are increasing self-confidence in what can be achieved and learning about the positive benefits of being healthy and active.
7. EXPRESSIVE ARTS AND DESIGN
Creativity is fundamental to successful learning. Being creative enables children to make connections between one area of learning and another, extending their understanding. This area of learning includes art, music, dance, role play and imaginative play.