At Hockley Heath Academy we greatly value the important role that the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) plays in laying secure foundations for future learning and development. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, delivering the areas of learning through topics and themes. We observe, assess and plan, taking into consideration the interests and personalities of the children.
A balance of adult and child initiated activities provide stimulating experiences both indoors and outdoors. We share the children’s progress and developments with you, through our online learning journal ‘Tapestry’.
Over the last few years we have made many positive changes to the nursery and we are proud of these improvements. They support us in offering excellent provision for each and every child. We have a lovely Forest School where we have great fun finding out about nature, exploring and climbing trees. We focus on the children’s strengths and pride ourselves on the secure relationships we build. Our skilled practitioners support play based learning and ensure the children in our care feel safe and happy. We offer places in the afternoon for children aged 27 months until they are eligible for a nursery place.
In Nursery we learn through a theme-based curriculum using the ‘Cornerstone’ approach. This centres on the belief that children learn better when their interests and fascinations are allowed to flourish.
What we’re learning
We begin the year setting routines and getting to know each other within the themes ‘Why do you love me so much?' and 'Why do leaves go crispy?' Role-play becomes a shoe shop as we think about our hands and our feet and what we are able to do with them. As practitioners we wish to get to know the children really well so a week is spent on ‘My favourites’. We talk about how to keep healthy using ‘The Hygiene Heroes’ as our role-models and looking at foods and activities that are good for us. Role-play becomes a dentist practice. We complete the term thinking about our five senses.
This half-term our themes are ‘Can we explore it?’ and 'How many colours in a rainbow?' Taking a mini theme within it each week, we begin ‘On Safari’ followed by ‘Expedition’, ‘Walking in the Jungle’ concluding with ‘Holes, spaces and tunnels’. At Forest School we have great fun looking for creatures and exploring. During this term we celebrate Diwali, Bonfire Night and Children in Need. The second half of this term is busy preparing for Christmas, learning songs for our Christmas production which we perform in the hall alongside Reception. We end the term with a Christmas party and Parents and Carers are invited to a Christmas Sing Song where we share mince pies!
The year begins with our new themes ‘Did dragons exist?' and if the weather co-operates 'Where does snow go?' Each week all our activities revolve around a different story; Goldilocks, The Gingerbread Man, Snow White, Cinderella, and The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Baby Bear goes home each night with a different child for a sleepover. His visits are recorded in his diary which is shared each morning with the rest of the class. We also celebrate Chinese New Year during this half term and hear the story of ‘The Race’ in which it is decided which animal the first year was to be named after.
‘Are eggs alive? ’ is our first focus. We spend much time looking for the signs of Spring and changes in the world around us. We celebrate ‘World Book Day’, reading Fergus The Farmyard Dog. Humpty Dumpty involves looking at eggs and new life. We hope by this time the Forest School pond will be filled with frogspawn. The week preceding ‘Mother’s Day’ we focus on Five Little Ducks and how Mother Duck felt when they all swam away! The term finishes with us celebrating Easter and its meaning within the theme 'Why can't I have chocolate for breakfast?'. All parents and carers are invited to join us for our ‘Hot Cross Bun Sing Song’. If we have been good we may even get a visit from the Easter Bunny!
This half term our themes are ‘How does that building stay up?’ and 'How high can I jump?' We have great fun exploring different versions of the story of the ‘Three Little Pigs’ and testing structures that we have built using a variety of materials for their strength. Role play begins as ‘The brick house’, becoming an estate agents while we think about ‘Homes for sale’ and ‘My Home’, turning into a builders merchant. We look at different types of building in particular those in and around Hockley Heath. At Forest School the trees are in full leaf so there are many places for us to build and hide. We think about different types of homes and habitats, hunting for mini-beasts and other creatures that live in our Forest School area. During this term we go on our trip with Reception.
Our final topics of the year are ‘How many pebbles on the beach?’ and 'Why is water wet? We begin by reading ‘The Rainbow Fish’, thinking about the characters in the story and the feelings that they experience. We look at creatures that live below the sea and have a smelly time dissecting a fish! We then begin to really think about water- what we can do with it and what it can do for us. Hopefully the weather will be good to us so we can spend much time in the nursery garden exploring the properties of water. Pirates and mermaids is an exciting theme, we use maps in Forest School to find the buried treasure. Role-play begins as Neptune’s Kingdom before we sail the seven seas as pirates in our galleon before finishing as a sea-side shop when our thoughts turn to the seaside and holidays.