Children will enter the pre-school group either on joining the nursery or having moved up from Toddlers, in which case there will be a transitional phase between the two groups as in the Toddler Room. They share a large room which is fully equipped for all of their activities and again has different areas for different types of play. The preschool children have usually outgrown their afternoon naps but if they still need them the facilities are there for them. The preschool group share a Key Person who plans separate or differentiated activities for the Lions, Caterpillars, Squirrels and chicken groups. The assistants and the Key Person form a team to organise and supervise the activities and care for the four groups. The groups will combine for some of the activities and work separately for others. Combining groups for activities, such as Creative, Physical or Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED), allows the younger children to learn from the older ones and allows the older children to develop a sense of responsibility and caring for the younger ones. However, separating the groups for activities such as Maths, Communication, language and Literacy (CLL) and Understanding the World (UW) ensures that the children’s activities are aimed at the right level for them so that they are neither bored nor out of their depth.
There can be a wide range of abilities within the preschool group. Children moving up within the nursery will usually have an advanced level of development compared with children joining from other nurseries or those who may not have been to nursery before. We observe and monitor each child to ensure that they are provided with activities, which are appropriate for their level of development in each separate area of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. If a child’s language skills are underdeveloped for example, either because they have had speech or hearing difficulties or if English is not their first language, they may join a mixed group for CLL activities but be in a separate group for Maths. Alternatively, if one of the children is particularly advanced in Maths, they may join the older group for that activity and be in a younger group for CLL.
The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum is followed by all of the children and extension activities are offered in all areas of the curriculum to ensure that they are able to achieve their full potential. It is very rare to find a child who is very advanced in all areas of development but most children will have a talent in a particular area, whether it be sport, maths, creativity, communication, model making or a great sense of humour. Our aim is to help each of our children to achieve the best that they can in all areas of their development by extending them in their areas of talent and supporting them in their weaker areas. When our children leave the preschool to start school they have the confidence to know that if they treat others with respect, try their best and ask for help when it’s needed, they can achieve anything. What better start can you offer a child?