Curriculum

  • Laying Foundations For The Future

    At Little Willows we believe that we are laying the foundations for our children's future, and we take this responsibility very seriously.
  • We champion learning without limits alongside transparency and our current curriculum plans are displayed on the Parents’ Noticeboard outside beneath the canopy, together with all other relevant documentation and correspondence relating to your child’s education.

    All pre-school settings are subject to The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five. The principles which guide the delivery of the EYFS are grouped into four guiding themes which work together to underpin effective practice in the delivery of the EYFS:

  • The very best for every child

  • Learning on their level

    At Little Willows we are proactive in removing limits from children as early as possible to facilitate learning at their level. We believe that by identifying the individual educational needs and disabilities of a child in the early years, we can release them into a strong, confident future.

    Little Willows view children with additional educational and physical requirements as having special rights to support, not special needs. Our teams work alongside parents/carers and other statutory professionals or agencies to support children at every stage, age and ability, as they progress through their academic career.

    • We offer two dedicated Special Rights Co-Ordinators
    • Appropriate support strategies
    • Individual Educational Plans (IEPs)
    • 1:1 support for short periods of the session in accordance with the child’s IEP
    • Visual Timetables, Visual Aids, Makaton
    • Multi-­Sensory Learning Environment
    • Small Group Work
    • All members of staff attend SEN specialist training as required
    • 2 Speech & Language Champions
      • Little Willows has a dedicated Special Rights Co-­Ordinator and a Special Rights Policy to support inclusive planning in accordance with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and 2005

    Reach for the stars

    At Little Willows Pre-School, we seek to help every child reach for the stars within our play-centred curriculum. We promote an inclusive, nurturing environment where children of all abilities are both celebrated and challenged collaboratively. We adopt a child centred approach to learning at Little Willows, facilitated gently by our observant staff who quickly identify individual learning needs and gifts, and encourage children to take the lead within a safe social setting.

    Gifted and talented learners are:

    • Challenged appropriately
    • Seen as valuable members of the learning community
    • Have their gifts and talents recognised and celebrated
    • Developed as the whole child
    • Encouraged to reach for the stars

    Extra fun for extraordinary children

    At Little Willows Pre-School, we know that our children love to have fun, and we are delighted to have sporting extra-curricular activities for our Butterflies.

    Go4Goals

    Jason Davies, an experienced and fully qualified coach, offers the Butterfly children weekly football sessions, helping to develop skills across all areas of the Early Learning Curriculum. The physical exercise and encouragement the children receive from Jason has proved hugely beneficial as he coaches them to achieve high but realistic expectations.

    It is always a pleasure and a delight to witness the children’s progress and development during the year. Please visit Jason’s website: www.go4goals.co.uk

    Thinking outside the box

    At Little Willows, we believe that children learn best through play and exploration, not sitting at desks, which is why we like to think outside the box when it comes to Early Years Education.


    Child-led Learning

    We believe in facilitating, not forcing learning, and all educational activities take place within a free flow area where children can choose what they want to do. Our staff set out and supervise several learning activities available to suit all levels of academic and physical ability, to ensure that every child feels welcome and included, and has appropriate help and support when necessary.


    Forest School

    Forest School has become such a huge part of our curriculum as we seek to provide young people with an education which promotes appreciation of the wide, natural world and encourages responsibility for nature conservation in later life. Using the outdoor environment, children are encouraged and inspired to grow in confidence, independence and self-esteem through the mastery of small achievable tasks. We have access to a dedicated Forest School site at Dobson Lane Allotments next to the school and a small group of Butterfly children attend once a week.

    By setting small, manageable tasks at which they are unlikely to fail and giving genuine praise, children are given a good foundation for future learning. It has been found that the combination of freedom and responsibility has been particularly beneficial to children with little confidence or challenging behaviour. The experience is fun and child led, and the programme allows children to grow in confidence, independence and discover their abilities without fear of failure or criticism.


    Boogie Bug Club

    One of our most popular interactive learning sessions is delivered by Annie Middleton, a professional musician, who runs the musical club Boogie Bugs. Annie visits the Butterflies at Little Willows every week, offering a uniquely refreshing blend of live performance, singing, story acting, mime, rhythm, percussion, interpretation and dance. The programme has been specifically designed to support the development of early years children, and they are utterly absorbed and transfixed as she transports them to outer space, beneath the sea and into the jungle through a wealth of musical experience, intuitive interaction, energy and performing skills.

    Please visit Annie’s website www.boogiebugclub.co.uk


    Special Praise Assembly

    Every Friday in the Summer Term, the Butterflies join the children from Whitnash Primary School in a special praise assembly. During the assembly, the children are recognised and rewarded for good work and behaviour for which the pre­-school children will receive a Special Praise certificate from the Head Teacher.

    The pre-school key workers will nominate one child each week from their group for the award and parents/guardians are warmly invited to attend the assembly.


    P.E. Sessions

    The Butterflies participate in a P.E. session every week, this may consist of apparatus work, group games or track racing.


    Barnaby Bear

    The children have the opportunity to take Barnaby Bear home for the weekend and it is a fantastic way to celebrate family celebrations and home life.


    Show and Tell

    The children may bring in a special toy from home or if you have participated in an event over the weekend, your child may wish to bring in a souvenir to share their thoughts, opinions and ideas with their key worker and the other children.

  • Themes:

    • A Unique Child – every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
    • Positive Relationships – children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
    • Enabling Environments – children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers
    • Learning and Development – children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development
  • The Characteristics Of Effective Learning

    The unique child reaches out to people and things through the characteristics of effective learning, which move through all areas of learning:
    • Playing and Exploring – engagement

      • Finding out and exploring
      • Playing with what they know
      • Being willing to “have a go”

    • Active Learning – motivation

      • Being involved and concentrating
      • Keeping trying
      • Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

    • Creating and Thinking Critically – thinking

      • Having their own ideas
      • Making links
      • Choosing ways to do things

  • The three Prime areas are fundamental, work together, and move through to support development in all other areas:

    • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

      • Making relationships
      • Self-confidence and self-awareness
      • Managing feelings and behaviour

    • Communication and Language

      • Listening and attention
      • Understanding
      • Speaking

    • Physical Development

      • Moving and handling
      • Health and self-care

  • The four specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society:

    • Literacy

      • Reading
      • Writing

    • Mathematics

      • Numbers
      • Shape, space and measure

    • Understanding the World

      • People and communities
      • The world • Technology

    • Expressive Arts and Design

      • Exploring and using media and materials
      • Being imaginative

  • All the areas of Learning and Development are connected to one another, are equally important and underpinned by the above principles of the EYFS. They make up the skills, knowledge and experiences appropriate for babies and children as they grow, learn and develop. The children’s learning and development occurs as an outcome of their individual interests and abilities and practitioners’ planning takes account of these.

  • “…. It is like a “bowl of spaghetti” where play, exploration, active learning, creativity and critical thinking all tangle together in one mass. This is how it should be.”

    — ~ Loris Malaguzzi, Reggio Emilia
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