Every day at Forest Footsteps Childcare is focussed on Learning through Play, exploration, and enjoying the outdoors. Children’s ideas and interests will be reflected in the activities, resources, materials and outings that will be provided. All experiences, activities and routines will be a learning experience developing the children in all areas of learning. We encourage the children to contribute their ideas, take part in risk assessing their choices, giving them independence and having choices to support their development to become resilient lifelong learners.
All experiences for the children will be play based; some free choice, others adult led structured activities. This allows the children to follow their own patterns of play, build on their own natural curiosities, and learn at a pace suitable to their age and stage of development.
Typical experiences/activities are:
*painting/drawing/collaging *holistic play (pasta/gloop/rice/sensory baskets)
*role play/dressing up *visit to the shops or play park
*woodland walks *music sessions
*counting/shapes/ *physical/gross motor play
alphabet/colours *small world toys
*cooking on the fire pit *puzzles/shape sorters
* gardening *Mud kitchen
*loose parts (exploring and investigating)
In our roles as Early Years Educators we follow the curriculum, The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Children naturally develop in line with the curriculum section of the areas of learning. We follow these guidelines put into place to listen to, observe, evaluate and assess each child in our care. Every child will be given a key person. By doing this the key person can then provide for your child’s next steps in their development and interests. All information regarding your child’s development is recorded in their own Record of Development, using an online software, Tapestry Learning journal. Any observations will be crossed referenced to the 7 Areas of Learning and the Characteristics of Effective Learning. From this we can plan experiences, activities and resources needed to support your child’s development.
The Tapestry Learning Journal software is a secure website or app requiring log in details and a password. We use this software to provide a photo diary of the children’s day, a Record of Development containing observations, next steps and progress reports about your child and to send newsletters and information. This software is also used for key persons and managers to track progress and attainment of the children and various cohorts. Parents and other family members/childcare providers who have permission to access the child’s account can contribute to observations by adding replies or posting their own observations.
As stated in the EYFS, key persons must know and understand their key children’s level of development, interests and provide next steps to enhance their learning. Therefore observations will be made on your child and recorded using the Tapestry Learning Journal. All observations will be used to contribute towards the child’s Record of Development and be kept confidential.
Outdoor Learning Policy.
Physical development is a vital part of children’s development. Young children must develop their large gross motor skills before progressing onto their fine motor skills. For example, children will need to develop their arm muscles to control their whole arm whilst painting, even though the paint brush is held with a fine motor grip. Outdoor learning environments also gives opportunities to children to engage in active lifestyles, appreciate nature and the natural environment, develops social skills, encourages independence and understand risk. All these factors support the children’s health and emotional wellbeing. In relation to The Department of Health’s guidelines, children are recommended to be physically active for 3 hours throughout the day. As an Early Years Provider at Forest Footsteps Childcare we encourage the children to have a healthy lifestyle, in diet and exercise following the guidance from the Department of Health by providing free flow access to the outdoor learning environments and outings within the local community and woodland walks to explore Ramalley Copse.
In our outdoor areas we have an extensive range of garden toys including Mud Kitchen, creative area, messy area, water area and loose parts. Whilst this provides plenty of opportunities for developing new physical skills, the children need to learn about the danger and risk taking whilst exploring these toys. We encourage the children to take an active role in risk assessing their chosen activities and experiences allowing the children to explore in an environment that allows this with the support of qualified practitioners. In order to make our outdoor area a safe environment and to reduce the risks of accidents we have put the following procedures in place:
· All children must be supervised at all times.
· Children will be taught the dangers of the equipment in a way that is suitable for their stage of development and understanding.
· Children will be encouraged to take turns and share equipment.
· The garden will regularly checked for animal faeces.
· The equipment will check for wear and tear / damage and withdrawn from use if faulty.
· Children will be encouraged to initiate activities, seek challenge, to show a can do attitude and take risks, engaging in new experiences and learning by trial and error as stated in the Characteristics of Effective Learning in the EYFS.