Early Years Ethos

Early Years at Swansfield Park consists of Cherry class (2 year olds), and Apple and Pear classes (Nursery), together with Plum class (Reception) and Ash class (Reception/Year 1).

In Cherry, Apple and Pear classes, and to a certain extent Plum and Ash classes, we follow a fully child-led approach to play based learning with the belief that each child develops at his or her own pace. The teacher and teaching assistants support and develop your child in their learning, focussing upon your child's interests rather than an adult formulated plan. Play is a child's work, and we make no distinction between the two, therefore you will probably hear from your child that they play all day, however this is where the learning takes place.

The adults in the classroom will join the children in their learning, whether that's in the sand pit, building with blocks, in the garden or somewhere else. They will observe what an individual child or group of children is doing and will help develop their knowledge and understanding by asking them questions, providing information, or demonstrating a skill. This quick 'in the moment' planning and teaching means that the new knowledge or skill is immediately useful and meaningful to your child, and is therefore more likely to be retained and used independently in the future. It also means that your child is taught new skills and information at the right level for them.

To maximise learning opportunities, the children have daily access to both an indoor and outdoor classroom, and are encouraged to make their own choices. We have many different areas and activities always available which include (but are not limited to):

  • role play

  • blocks and construction

  • arts and crafts, including painting, drawing, and junk modelling

  • playdough

  • small world

  • sand

  • water

  • music and movement

  • ICT and technology

  • a mud kitchen

  • gardening

  • bicycles, tricycles, scooters and other wheeled toys

Early reading, writing and mathematics skills are seen frequently across all areas and activities. Phonological awareness and development are encouraged when children show an interest.  All children in reception follow the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme 3 times a week, as well as reading using the Oxford Reading Tree scheme.

We come together as a whole class or in small groups at the end of each session to sing songs, read stories, act out the stories we have made up, share our learning and hear about special items children have brought in from home.

The older 2 year-olds spend increasingly longer times with the nursery children, ensuring that the transition between one class and the next is a smooth one.  Similarly during the summer term, nursery children spend more time playing alongside reception children to enable an easy transition to full time school.

We update pictures on the website regularly to give you a flavour of some of the things we get up to. As a parent/carer, you will also be invited in  to school for various activities, for example ‘stay and play’, song time, class assemblies, workshops and events. You will also be invited in to discuss your child’s progress termly, although all staff are happy to answer any concerns that you may have as they arise.