As Early Years Practitioners, we are often asked the following questions:

  • How do you get children ‘ready’ for school?
  • How will they adjust to a classroom environment after all of this freedom?
  • When will they read or write their name?
  • When will they sit still?

The truth is we don’t get children ‘ready’ for school.  We certainly don’t pull them away from their play to trace over letters or play matching games to teach them numbers.  We don’t plan adult directed themes/topics weeks ahead.  We don’t place unrealistic expectations on children to sit still on the carpet for prolonged periods of time…instead we trust that our approach will engage and motivate learning unique to the individual child.

We provide an environment that is appropriate to facilitate quality interactions for all children . Enabling environments that promote curiosity and motivate children to learn. Two-to-four-year old’s are not built to sit still!  Children are innately curious and eager to learn.  Given the right environment and the right adults, children will learn and make progress.  Staff are not bystanders who solely watch children play.  They are highly trained and enthusiastic Early Years specialists who will identify and take full advantage of hundreds of teachable moments each and every day!

Staff support and encourage children every step of the way.  It may be a gentle push or an exciting challenge, a quality interaction or the introduction of a new provocation.  Sometimes it might simply be a cuddle and a story.  Other times it might be discussing the detailed anatomy of a Giant African Land Snail or working out how to build a fortress with branches and loose parts.  Whatever opportunities arise learning is fun, practical, meaningful, often contextual and tuned in to children’s fascinations.

Here at Boldon Outdoor Nursery learning is facilitated through carefully tailored routines and systems which underpin effective practice. The right balance of direction, choice, and freedom. Freedom to follow their own lines of enquiry, their own interests and curiosities.

Quality practice is defined by a clear philosophy. By allowing children to become immersed in their own interests and themes children begin to make progress you could only dream of from a planned tabletop activity.  By giving children time to explore and investigate, problem solve and review learning, children flourish.

Does this approach work?  ABSOLUTELY!

With staff at hand to gently encourage prompt, suggest, model, praise and support, children begin to show an interest in all the thing’s school requires of them. Through meaningful, contextual experiences children develop the transferrable skills they require for school.  For example, storytelling in a beautiful spot in the garden will lead to a love of creative language which can be used and applied in all aspects of Literacy. Take writing as another example.  If you pull a child away from their fascinations to ‘do writing’ with you, it is highly likely they will not be interested.  We join in their play, follow their line of enquiry and we find that the perfect opportunity arises to introduce a clipboard and a writing tool.  Just like magic he/she is writing…. for a purpose…. with meaning… within a relatable context!  Moreover, if they aren’t interested then they just are not ready yet and that is fine by us.