At Sundridge and Brasted we believe that all young children are unique and that they are naturally driven to learn and explore and therefor have the right to create and lead their own learning. We value the interests of the children and support them to develop skills and knowledge through these curiosities. We also aim to provide children with new and exciting opportunities that spark fresh interests through an inspiring and child centred environment that ignites curiosity and fosters independence. This is facilitated and supported by highly skilled adults that nurture, care and educate.
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Child-initiated learning through play is at the heart of our practice at Sundridge and Brasted and is embedded in every aspect of our learning environment. We deeply value and strive for the children to become independent thinkers and explorers who are confident to make their own choices and solve problems themselves. With this aim in mind we ensure every element of the learning environment is continually accessible to all the children and that they are given the opportunity to explore these freely for extended periods of time as and when they are motivated to do so and in ways that are meaningful to them.
We believe that children learn best through active engagement with the world around them; and through meaningful and relevant experiences, supported by responsive adults who know them as individuals. We aim to give children the broadest opportunities to play and make sense of the world whilst challenging them to develop their thinking and problem solving abilities, putting budding new skills into action. We observe their play and plan around their interests and next steps. Self-initiated learning and exploration are key ingredients to having independent children who are motivated to learn.
Through daily observation and interaction, we are able to build a rich and accurate understanding of each child across all aspects of learning and development. Our assessments are meaningful and impact on our children’s learning and development and are used to inform our children’s next steps which are personalised and challenging. Through continual conversations as a team we ensure we are able to respond to each child with challenges that match their next steps and that our interactions are meaningful. We bring our knowledge of a child together to make a summative assessment about where they are in relation to key developmental milestones. In addition to these assessments we also value the importance of the parent’s unique knowledge of their child and engage in conversations as often as possible in order to truly understand the whole child.
Leuven Scales of Well Being and Involvement
At Sundridge and Brasted we use the Leuven Scales every day as part of our practice and acknowledge the critical importance of a child’s emotional well-being on the quality and depth of learning. We use the Leuven Scales to indicate a child's level of Well-Being and Involvement at the time of assessment (low, medium or high level) and throughout the day during different moments, scanning and checking for any children that maybe showing signs that more support is needed or when less adult interaction is required. With this as our starting point we are continually responsive to a child’s needs and ensure children are engaged, involved and emotionally secure at all times.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
The characteristics of effective learning underpin our pupils learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage. The ways in which they engage with others and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically – underpin learning and development across all areas and support the children to remain effective and motivated learners. We make judgements about a child's demonstration of the Characteristics of Effective Learning during child led activities as well as during adult direct tasks. Moments where children show determination, involvement and thinking skills are noted and go towards building a picture of that child as a learner. In turn these observations enable us to ensure our provision provides ample opportunity for children to foster these skills and that fresh opportunities are made available.
This feeds into our continuous provision that supports us to plan our learning environment. The purpose of continuous provision is: "To continue the provision for learning in the absence of an adult". Each and every part of our learning environment has been carefully planned to meet and challenge the development needs of all our children and respond to interests. We ensure there is opportunity for children to practice and embed skills but also add new areas of provision as children’s needs evolve.