Bishop Aldhelm's CE

Primary School

Loved by God; United in Learning

About our Pre-School

About Our Pre-school

Implementation – How will we achieve this…

"Tell me and I will forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” (Benjamin Franklin).

Our Pre-School at Bishop Aldhelm’s is committed to preparing each individual child for their future, by nurturing the development of the whole child and making them an integral part of our amazing school community. We are passionate about making a difference to the well-being and education of children in our care, therefore, providing an outstanding team of key workers and an Early Years teacher to draw upon the knowledge and experience of staff already in our school; truly creating a unique pre-school.

We believe learning through play is vital and our purpose-built establishment is designed for our children to become immersed in practical, first-hand learning experiences with the opportunity to develop through exploration, enjoyment and autonomy. With the indoor and outdoor environments equally important, the children will learn through continuous provision and enhanced provision from all their surroundings. We are very fortunate to have such a stimulating outdoor setting with our extensive school grounds, a SSSI, heathland and lovely local community visits on our door step.

We pride ourselves on the quality of our relationships. We understand that when we develop a genuine relationship with a child that we can obtain a deep understanding of their individual learning needs and true passions. Our early years educators start by becoming a learning companion and seeing the world through the child’s eyes. Through play, the educator and children work together to find solutions to problems, make sense of concepts, extend stories or evaluate activities. Both adult and child contribute to the thinking, which develops and extends using existing understanding. This ‘co-educator’ and ‘co-researcher’ approach supports synaptic growth (long-term memory) and creates powerful learners and problem-solvers.

The strategies used by the educator include open questioning, role or social play and role modelling. The interactive dialogue and communication can aid, develop and support; language acquisition, vocabulary, symbolic representation skills, articulation and expression. It also importantly develops self-confidence, independence and curiosity, which empower children to learn. We recognise that language and communication are vital in all areas of a child’s development and provide a rich language environment, where conversations, singing and sharing stories also become a regular part of the children’s day.

Our bespoke child-centred approach to planning allows your child to delve further into existing interests, discover new curiosities and develop their creativity and imagination, thus developing interpersonal skills, building resilience and becoming critical thinkers. It starts by taking the individual interests of the child and placing it at the centre, then branching out and planning a complete range of activities, quality real-life experiences and interactions, linked to the 7 areas of learning and development. These experiences provide a secure and memorable foundation for all children as well as embed a positive disposition towards life-long learning.

At Bishop Aldhelm’s Pre-School we pride ourselves on ensuring that we provide children in our community with the best possible positive start to their school learning journey. With our school values (Love, Unity, Courage and Inspiration) at the core of our provision/characteristics of effective learning; this promotes a child’s achievement, confidence, independence and helps them to become well rounded wholesome characters. Our children and staff genuinely feel ‘Loved by God, United in Learning’. 

What we offer your child: 

  • Fun, stimulating activities and provision that relates to each child’s next steps and interests
  • Individual care and attention made possible by a high ratio of highly qualified staff to children
  • Nurturing and caring staff, we are always available for a cuddle!
  • A key person that has been carefully chosen through an early recognised special bond
  • An enabling environment indoors and out. Children will have access to our nursery garden every session
  • Links to the main school to support your child with transition should you chose for your child to continue their learning journey with us

Our Curriculum

Teaching in the EYFS is delivered in accordance with the government’s statutory document ’The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2020)’. This document is a principled approach to Early Years education, bringing together children’s welfare, learning and development requirements through four themes: ‘A Unique Child’, ‘Positive Relationships’, ‘Enabling Environments’ and ‘Children Learn in Different Ways and at Different Rates.’

At the heart of the curriculum sits the Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL),

The characteristics help us to see when children are learning. Put simply, they tell us that children are learning when they are:

  • Engaged
  • Motivated
  • Thinking

In planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners must reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice. Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:

  • Playing and exploring – Children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
  • Active learning – Children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.
  • Creating and thinking critically – Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

The EYFS curriculum is centred on three prime areas of learning:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development

Providers must also support activities through four specific areas which strengthen the prime areas. These are:  

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

These Areas of Learning and Development address children’s physical, cogitative, linguistic, social and emotional development. No one aspect of development stands in isolation from the others as all Areas of Learning and Development are all closely

interlinked. This ensures the delivery of a holistic, child-centred curriculum which allows children to make lots of links between what they are learning. All Areas of Learning and Development are given equal weighting and value.

We recognise that language and communication are vital in all areas of a child’s development. We welcome children from culturally diverse backgrounds and are experienced at supporting learners who are at an early stage of learning English as an additional language (EAL). Communication and language development are therefore a constant focus. We support children’s development by providing a rich language environment, where conversations, singing and sharing stories become a regular part of the children’s day.

Our pre-school focuses on developing a child’s early phonics through phase 1 and into phase 2 of letters and sounds.  Phase 1 is divided into 7 aspects:-

Aspect 1 - General sound discrimination - environmental

The aim of this aspect is to raise children's awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills.

Aspect 2 - General sound discrimination - instrumental sounds

This aspect aims to develop children's awareness of sounds made by various instruments and noise makers.

Aspect 3 - General sound discrimination - body percussion

The aim of this aspect is to develop children's awareness of sounds and rhythms.

Aspect 4 - Rhythm and rhyme

This aspect aims to develop children's appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech.

Aspect 5 - Alliteration

The focus is on initial sounds of words, with activities including I-Spy type games and matching objects which begin with the same sound.

Aspect 6 - Voice sounds

The aim is to distinguish between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting.

Aspect 7 - Oral blending and segmenting
In this aspect, the main aim is to develop oral blending and segmenting skills.

At Bishop Aldhelm’s Pre-school, whilst we read a wide variety of stories with the children, we also have a set list of 8 books that can be re-visited again and again, on different levels to support language development and understanding.. The idea is that children will develop language and increase vocabulary in addition to gaining a love of books and will become very familiar with these known texts so that they can remember and retell them. Our core books are:

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

The Tiger who came for Tea

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Dear Zoo

The Gruffalo

Monkey Puzzle

Owl Babies

Rainbow Fish

We also have ‘core rhymes’ which support language development. Children chant or sing the rhymes at group and carpet times. By the time the children leave nursery they are familiar with each core rhyme. Our core rhymes are:

Twinkle, twinkle little star

Hickory dickory dock

Jack and Jill

Hey diddle diddle

Humpty dumpty

Incy wincy spider

Baa Baa black sheep

Mary Mary quite contrary

I’m a little tea pot

Tommy thumb

12345 once I caught a fish alive

Cultural Capital

The term "cultural capital" was popularised by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, who proposed that it refers to everything from tastes to manners, knowledge of the arts, economy, the world, communication skills and social skills. The more cultural capital a person has, the greater their chance of social mobility.

The catchment area for our school is very diverse. Our aim is to address social disadvantage and, as a result, our curriculum reflects the school’s local context by addressing typical gaps in our pupils’ knowledge and skills.  We also actively encourage children to share their culture and heritage with each other so that we can grow and learn from one another.

Research shows that there is a direct link between levels of deprivation and children’s language skills. This can lead to difficulties when comprehending and inferring from texts, and when writing with understanding and creativity.  It is therefore crucial that as well as being taught essential knowledge and skills, our pupils are taught explicit and engaging vocabulary across the curriculum to ensure all children have the language they need to fully access their future learning.

Our EYFS curriculum outlines the vocabulary, knowledge and skills that pupils need that will in turn enable them to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.  There is a difference between knowledge which will be retained close to the point of teaching it, and that which will be retained forever. Our curriculum contains essential 'sticky knowledge' (embedded) that will be needed in order to access the next years objectives  i.e. the end points in each subject that pupils need to know and be able to do, in a logical progression.  Hence our EYFS  curriculum is planned and sequenced so that children are ready for their KS1 experience.