Pre-Kindergarten welcomes children to Broomfield. There are many firsts in the Pre-Kindergarten year. It may be a first book read and understood from cover to cover to our head teacher, it may be class trips to the Polka Theatre, or Kew Gardens, or the first song performed in a school play. In all our Pre-Kindergarten activities, we aim for children to begin their school life by learning in a fun, caring and stimulating environment.
At Broomfield we understand that every child is a unique child and we are able to provide experiences so that she/he is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. With sixteen children in a class and two full time practitioners, the children are able to build positive relationships with their peers, teachers and others becoming strong and independent. Our classroom offers all the areas of learning and is set up to be stimulating but also allow the children to develop their sense of independence and belonging. The classroom has access to an outdoor area that is available to the children at all times. Parents come into class to drop off their child and we develop a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
The children enter a carefully prepared environment filled with activities helping them to order sensory stimuli. Children derive emotional security from truly knowing their environment and they learn through their senses. We have an array of exciting activities enabling the children to refine these senses thus indirectly preparing them for writing, reading and mathematics. All children develop and learn indifferent ways. We teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development. They foster the characteristics of effective early learning which show how a child learns. These characteristics are:
- Playing and exploring – engagement
- Active learning - motivation
- Creating and thinking critically - thinking
During their mornings in Pre-Kindergarten we want children to be:
Finding out and exploring: showing curiosity about objects, events and people; using senses to explore the world around them; engaging in open-ended activity; showing particular interests.
Playing with what they know: pretending objects are things from their experience: representing their experiences in play; taking on a role in their play; acting out experiences with other people.
Being willing to ‘have a go’: initiating activities; seeking challenge; showing a ‘can do’ attitude; taking a risk, engaging in new experiences, and learning by trial and error.
Being involved and concentrating: maintaining focus on their activity for a period of time; showing high levels of energy, fascination: not easily distracted; paying attention to details.
Keeping on trying: persisting with activity when challenges occur: showing a belief that more effort or a different approach will pay off: bouncing back after difficulties.
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do: showing satisfaction in meeting their own goals: being proud of how they accomplished something – not just the end result; enjoying meeting challenges for their own sake rather than external rewards or praise.
Having their own ideas: thinking of ideas; finding ways to solve problems: finding new ways to do.
Making links: making links and noticing patterns in their experience; making predictions; testing their ideas; developing ideas of grouping, sequences, cause and effect.
Choosing ways to do things: planning, making decisions about how to approach a task; solve a problem and reach a goal; checking how well their activities are going; changing strategy as needed; reviewing how well the approach worked.
All these characteristics are crucial to how we observe, plan and evaluate the learning experiences we provide and how your child interacts with them. This good practice is continued into Kindergarten so that the Early Years Department allows children to become thoughtful, confident and independent learners.
The curriculum is split into the three prime areas of learning: Communication and Language (C&L), Physical Development (PD), and Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED), and the four specific areas of learning: Literacy (Reading and Writing), Mathematics (Number and Shape, Space and Measures), Understanding the World (UW) and Expressive Arts and Design (EAD). However, all the Areas of Learning are linked together and planned activities are usually cross-curricular ensuring a holistic approach to the children’s education.
The curriculum not only happens in the classroom but during outdoor learning sessions too.
Communication and Language
The curriculum builds on and extends the national early learning goals. Our communication and language activities aim to nurture the desire to communicate to look, listen, think and talk.
Our physical development work includes exercises in controlling co-ordination, breathing, agility and balance, amongst others, to build the children's self confidence with their bodies so they can learn to take measured risks and to make considered judgements to solve physical and mental problems. We also introduce children to cutting skills and correct pencil grip. This work develops fine and gross motor skills, balance and co-ordination and a sense of rhythm. A highlight of the sporting year for Pre-Kindergarten is Junior Sports Day in the Summer term. Karate tuition is available on Mondays until 12.30pm.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
In personal, social and emotional development the emphasis is on positive feelings, encouraging the confidence, security and self-esteem in the children that enables them to acquire control of themselves, their environment and their learning.
In literacy, we encourage our children to link sounds and initial letters using the Jolly Phonics Scheme. All this, along with communication and language, fosters the basis of articulate self-expression and provides a sound basis for reading and writing.
Expressive Arts and Design
Expressive arts and design is at the heart of our Pre-Kindergarten experience to develop opportunities for exercising imagination and creativity through art, music and movement, and drama. Art works regularly adorn the classroom and come home for parents to see, while the story making, singing and percussion work are the basis for our annual nativity play and summer workshop held in our school gymnasium. Children also take part in the school’s Harvest Festival and Poetry Day. Music is taught by our specialist class music teacher, supported by our Head Master on certain occasions. All Pre-Kindergarten children attend a class in movement given by the Lester School of Dance.
In mathematics the children recognise and begin to form numbers up to 10, through practical games, songs and activities they develop an understanding of what numbers mean and how to use them in their daily lives. They recognise shapes and learn the difference between 2D and 3D shapes by making models and pictures (as well as doing worksheets, number rhymes, and count to 20 and onwards).
Understanding the World
Learning in understanding the world focuses on understanding the children's environment, other people, and features of the natural and made world, with tasters of history, geography, nature study, science and technology. We aim to build on children's natural curiosity as we investigate topics including: our homes, our school, materials, new life, spring, growing , summer holidays and our environment, starting with the universe and the world. Pre-Kindergarten has an on-going nature table.
These all contribute to general learning about time, days of the week, seasons and the weather and colours. To support our children's development, we ask parents to read at home over the weekend with the children and to do occasional letter and number writing practice. Before children enter Pre-Kindergarten it is important they are toilet trained and most helpful if they have plenty of practice at dressing themselves particularly putting coats and socks on and off!
The Pre-Kindergarten classroom is located next door to the school gymnasium, with adjacent toilet. In 2013-14 new resources were purchased to enhance the children’s learning both inside and outside the classroom. An awning allows children to play outside during wet weather.