Learning through Play
The children in Nursery and Pre-Reception benefit from a carefully planned day coordinated by our 2 fully qualified teachers who are based solely in the Nursery with responsibility for rising 3s and rising 4s. Our generous setting includes 6 Nursery areas including a purpose built kitchen, an art and craft room, indoor role play area and beautiful outdoor dedicated areas. After registration and Phonics Fun the children are guided by their Key Group leaders with a starting point for the day and can then free-flow inside and also outside. Throughout the day, they enjoy an additional roleplay area, a themed writing area, a water/sound wall, a mud kitchen, a sand pit and a range of large construction kits. They also have a bike and scooter area which has its own painted road and sign posts.
We are very fortunate to have a wonderful outside classroom which can be used for quiet circle time activities or guided group work.
Open Plan Learning
In our Nursery and Pre-Reception we have designated group times in addition to flexible open plan learning areas where children are inspired and motivated to learn.
Each term, learning is planned by the two teachers who lead the rising 3 and rising 4 children. Learning is linked to a topic or theme which will exceed all requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum.
There are 7 areas of learning identified by the EYFS divided into 3 prime areas and 4 specific areas. The prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These 3 areas, the prime areas, are: • communication and language • physical development • personal, social and emotional development
The 4 specific areas, through which the 3 prime areas are strengthened and applied are: • literacy • mathematics • understanding the world • expressive arts and design.
In Yellow Room the children can access a range of fine motor and writing activities read a variety of books and use age appropriate computer software on the interactive Smartboard or Tablets.
In Red Room the children can access a quieter area which includes a cosy reading corner, a table for puzzles, problem solving and investigation work.
In Blue Room this is a creative space for the children to experience being an engineer through junk modelling and wood work, sand and water play. Independent access to a range of art media, including paint, collage and malleable materials.
In Green Room the children are involved in creating and developing their own roleplay area. This is continually changing but always linked to the books or themes that the children are learning about. An additional interactive Smartboard in this room enables wider access to computer software where the children can listen to stories, rhymes and songs.
The Nursery has a purpose built kitchen which is used daily by the Nursery children. Again, cooking is linked to the story or theme the children are learning about. When a nursery child has a birthday, they get the exciting task of baking a cake to share with their friends. In our Green room is the children’s ‘Snack Cafe’, which is open all morning for the children to access when they want a drink of milk or water and a fruit or biscuit snack. To further encourage independence, the children pour their own drinks and help cut the fruit. This is monitored by staff to ensure all children over the morning have a drink and a snack.
During the school day, all nursery children will have ‘phonics’ with one of the nursery teachers. Phonics is the association between letters and the sounds that the letter makes. When learning to recognise and then blend these letters the children learn to read. They then learn to segment the sounds as they learn to spell independently. We operate a system of vertical phonics throughout the School so that every child can work at their own ability and move onwards according to achievement and understanding not age. This means that some of our nursery children are ready to join the older Reception groups for their daily phonics. Two EYFS qualified teachers listen to the children read and the children have books and book bags in Pre Reception as they are rising 4. They are also able to borrow books from our school library in order to develop and nurture a love of reading. These can be used for reading to your child just as much as the child spotting the letters and sounds that they know.
As well as small group phonics, over the course of the day, the nursery children will have guided group time with their Key Workers. This will be to teach new concepts or to embed taught learning across all areas of the curriculum. Small groups are carefully managed during each morning to ensure the rotas for focused art work and cookery involve every child. The children will have Musical Movement and Wake and Shake sessions to aid their physical development and co-ordination, stamina and concentration.
Additional Specialist Teaching
We have a range of specialist teachers at St Christopher’s who work with the Nursery and Pre-Reception children as well as the older children.
Our younger children benefit from their Music lessons taught by a qualified teacher who is herself a gifted musician. The children learn songs for both performance and class entertainment and enjoy rhythm and percussion sessions every week.
The Pre-Reception children enjoy learning French taught by a qualified Modern Languages teacher. They are quick to pick up the language through a range of enjoyable games and songs.
Our Art Director introduces Nursery and Pre-Reception to a new artist each term and the children are taught to tackle a range of exciting mediums under her careful guidance and tuition.
The youngest members of the school begin to receive P.E. lessons from our qualified P.E teacher in addition to their physical development sessions that take place every day in Nursery.
The Woodland Adventures area is a valuable resource. This builds upon the learning the children experience in their Forest Schools’ sessions which are provided by a trained external specialist three times a term. Children have lots of fun using the natural environment to create, imagine and explore including our delightful willow tunnel. In the process, they learn to problem solve outdoors in these well stocked and stimulating areas.
We have a commitment to live theatre at St Christopher’s and in addition to joining in with the whole school to enjoy visiting theatre group productions; Nursery and Pre-Reception annually visit the local theatre at Christmas time. This is a wonderful opportunity to walk down into Epsom with staff and parents to enjoy an age appropriate production each year. Pre-Reception children begin to experience their first school trip on a coach in the summer term and head to a day of fun to enhance their termly topic such as the popular Dapdune Wharf trip. The children also enjoy some local visits in the spring term, such as a trip to the library or the park accompanied by very generous staff – pupil ratios.