|Age Range||3-5 years|
|Year Groups||EY1 and EY2 (Early Years Foundation Stage)|
|Key Contact||Ms. Cath Okill (Early Years Phase Leader)|
Our approach is based around five core themes:
HOLISTIC, ROUNDED DEVELOPMENT: We aim to develop the whole child - academically, socially and emotionally - through a creative curriculum approach; a happy confident child is a successful one.
PLAY BASED: We provide children with carefully-chosen play experiences and access to high quality resources that nurture skills and help them to develop in the core curriculum areas.
CHILD-LED: We take the lead from children themselves, and plan our daily activities in response to their interests and ideas.
A PARTNERSHIP WITH HOME: We strive to promote and enrich positive relationships with our parents and the community. It is important that parents are informed and enabled to continue the learning journey at home. We work with parents giving practical ideas on how to develop and support learning experiences with their children.
A LEARNING JOURNEY: We pride ourselves on providing a supportive, caring, enriching and exciting learning journey through our Early Years, planting the seeds for a life-long love for learning and establishing the foundations for successful education in Primary school and beyond.
The Early Years education we offer is based on the following principles:
- It starts with the child and builds on what our children already know and can do
- It makes the most of a child’s personal interests and enthusiasms
- It is nurturing and nurtures high quality relationships
- It offers a structure for learning through individual Learning Journeys
- The content matches the needs of young children
- It ensures opportunities for active learning both indoors and outdoors
- It provides a rich and stimulating environment
|OUR TEACHING AND LEARNING PRINCIPLES|
A Unique Child
|Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self assured.|
|Children learn to be strong and independent, from a base of loving and secure relationships.|
|The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.|
Learning & Development
Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. All areas of learning and development are equally important and inter-connected.
These principles influence our staff roles, organisation, planning, assessment, environment, equipment and relationships with parents.
Shrewsbury International School Early Years Department is in a beautiful purposeful setting with its own specially-designed garden area. It caters for children aged 3-5 years, and children follow the Early Years curriculum for two years. There are 8 EY classes staffed with qualified international and local teaching assistants.
We plan a learning environment both indoors and outdoors that encourages a positive and enthusiastic attitude to learning. We have selected quality, carefully chosen materials and equipment that reflects the community that the children come from and the wider world. We encourage the children to make their own choices of the activities on offer and of the equipment as we believe that this encourages independent learning. We fully utilise the sensory and physical opportunities inside and outside, as this enhances the children’s learning.
We regularly review our resources and maintain our equipment to ensure that we have a high regard to health and safety.
A typical day in EY1
After the initial induction period, the typical day for an EY1 child will follow this routine:
|7.30am - 8.00am||'Soft Start'. Arrive at school through the EY1 garden. Go to the classroom and unpack bag. Morning routine, introduction to today’s learning|
|8.00am - 11:30am||
Active Learning Time: Child initiated and adult directed learning inside and outside, with offer of snack.
Specialist lessons: Thai, Music, PE or Swimming
Splash Play: in the splash pool
|11.30am - 12.00pm||Lunch|
A typical day in EY2
After the initial induction period, the typical day for an EY2 child will follow this routine:
|7.30am - 8.00am||'Soft Start'.|
|8.00am - 8.10am||Registration Time. Morning routine, introduction to today’s learning|
|8.10am - 11:20am||
Active Learning Time: Child initiated and adult directed learning inside and outside, with offer of snack. Specialist lesson.
|11.20am - 11.50am||Lunch|
|11.50am-12.20pm||Play outside in the EY2 Garden|
|12.20pm-1:45pm||Active Learning Time: Child initiated and adult directed learning inside and outside, with offer of snack. Specialist lesson - Thai, Mandarin, Music, Swimming and Splash Play.|
|1.45pm-2.00pm||Story Time and Song|
|2.00pm-2.30pm||'Soft Finish'. Home Time. Children to be collected by 2.30pm.|
The Early Years Foundation Stage has seven areas of learning, all of which are connected and are of equal importance. Every child is unique and has particular interests, skills and needs; they will have opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments, both indoors and outdoors. Through “Active Learning”, the children experience a range of challenges and playful learning opportunities across the Prime and Specific Areas of learning and development. They will take part in a balance of carefully planned child-initiated activities in order to develop as individuals, and as effective learners.
Each child's progress and achievements are recorded in their own Interactive Learning Diary - an online record which Parents are given password access to in due course.
Personal, Social & Emotional Development: Developing emotional well-being. Becoming more confident and self-assured and forming friendships. Learning how to share and take turns. Discovering how to manage their feelings and behaviour.
Physical Development: Developing coordination, control, manipulation and movement. Improving physical skills has two other important aspects; it helps children develop confidence in what they can do and enables them to feel the benefits of being healthy and active as wells as creating a positive sense of well-being. Develop self help skills and independence at managing their personal hygiene.
Communication & Language: Developing listening skills so they can understand what is being said and can learn how to pay attention. Developing speaking skills so that they can improves their vocabulary and fluency when they communicate with others.
|Literacy: Children will be exposed to a wide range of books, introduced to letter sounds and begin emergent writing.|
|Maths: Includes matching, counting, sorting, seeking patterns, making connections, recognising relationships and working with numbers, shapes and measures. Mathematical understanding will be developed through stories, songs, games and imaginative play so that children enjoy using and experimenting with counting and numbers.|
|Expressive Arts & Design: Being creative allows children to make connections between one area of learning and another and so extend their understanding. This area develops music, art, dance, role play and imaginative play.|
|Understanding the World: Where children will begin to develop the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding to help them comprehend the world around them. This forms the foundation for subjects of Science, Geography, History, Design Technology and ICT (computer skills).|
In Early Years, we look for the following behaviours and characteristics as indicators of a child's progress and development:
A) Playing and exploring
FindING out and exploring
- Does the child show curiosity about objects, events and people? In what way?
- Does the child use their senses to explore the world around them? Any sense perhaps used more than other?
- Does the child engage in open-ended activity? How?
- Does the child show particular interests? In what?
Playing with what they know
- Does the child pretend objects are things from their experience (symbolic play)? What examples can you give?
- How does the child represent their experiences in their play?
- Does the child take on a role in their play? Any particular role?
- Does the child act out experiences with others (children or adults)?
Being willing to have a go
- Does the child initiate activities/experiences? What kind of activities/experiences?
- How does the child seek challenges?
- Does the child show a ‘can do’ attitude? What example do you have?
- Does the child take risks, engage in new experiences and learn by trial and error?
B) Active learning
Being involved and concentrating
- Does the child maintain focus on their activity for a period of time? Is this at any activity or always at a particular activity or area in the environment?
- Does the child show high levels of energy, fascination? In what way?
- Does the child concentrate despite distractions? Any examples?
- Does the child pay attention to details?
Keeping on trying
- Does the child show persistence with an activity when faced with challenges?
- How does the child demonstrate aspects of problem solving and show a belief that more effort or a different approach will work/pay off?
- Does the child bounce back after difficulties?
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
- Is he/she proud of their accomplishments- not just the end result? Have you got an example of when the child displayed this to share?
- Does the child enjoy meeting challenges for their own sake rather than for rewards or praise?
C) Creating and thinking critically
Having their own ideas
- Does the child think of ideas? Any examples?
- How does the child find ways to solve problems?
- Does the child find new ways of doing things?
- Does the child make links and notice patterns in their experience?
- Does the child make predictions? What examples can you give?
- How does the child test out their ideas?
- Does the child develop ideas of grouping, sequencing, cause and effect?
Choosing ways to do things
- Does the child plan, make decisions and about how to do something, solve a problem to reach a goal? Can you think of any examples that support this?
- Does the child check how well their activity or what they are doing is going? How do you know this?
- Does the child change strategy if needed? Or does the child always do what he/she knows?
- Does the child review how well their approach worked? With support or on their own?
A messy uniform shows that I’ve been learning a lot!
Paint shows I’ve been developing creativity
Pen marks show I’ve been developing my writing and drawing skills
Playing in the mud allows me to develop imagination and descriptive language
Grass stains show that I’ve been outdoors developing physical skills
I may get food on me as I’m learning to use cutlery to eat
We often use water to learn about science and maths - I may get wet
In the Early Years, the children spend most time in the care of their class teacher. However, we also have fully qualified specialists for certain subjects, that help to deliver Shrewsbury's uniquely adapted curriculum:
Every EY child is visited by a qualified Thai teacher in their learning environment twice weekly. The aim of the Thai programme is to give children a thorough immersion into the Thai language through stories, singing, hands-on activities, rhymes, a variety of games, role-play and some formal letter recognition and vocabulary work. Children are not only learning Thai, but are also being immersed in the richness of Thai culture through celebrating traditional festivals of Loy Krathong and Songkran.
Our EY children will be exposed and introduced to Mandarin on a weekly basis by a native mandarin teacher. This will include songs, rhymes and child-initiated activities.
Our specialist Early Years Music teacher visits each class every week. The session allows hands-on experiences of percussion instruments, singing and movements which encourage children to be sensitive to beat and rhythm.
PE lessons are based on the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and children have daily opportunities for physical exercise. Skills include Games, Gymnastics, Dance, Athletics and Swimming (see below). EY children learn basic movement skills to develop hand-eye coordination, foot-eye coordination, balance, body and space awareness and moving with control.
In EY1 we have space in our garden for physical activities and a splash play area for weekly water-play activities. Swimming is taught by specialist PE teachers and develops water confidence and basic skills in the swimming pool. We also have access to the EY gym and the field for running, chasing and parachute games.
EY2 have specialist PE lessons twice a week and class teachers also provide regular class activity time using the equipments in the garden, splash play pool, studio and garden spaces.
Swimming at Shrewsbury is focused on the Aquatic Movement Fundamentals of:
- Flotation & Balance: Developing an understanding of buoyancy and balance, what can affect it and how to become buoyant in the water.
- Rotation & Orientation: Developing skills such as: how to turn around, how to lie back, how to lie forward, how to regain an upright position, and how to twist from the back to the front and vice versa.
- Streamlining: Understanding of streamlining, how to be streamlined and why it is important. Aquatic breathing Developing confidence in the water and being at ease with water around the face, learning how to breathe correctly, which consequently is developing a `safe’ swimmer.
- Travel & Coordination: Developing movement forwards, backwards, sideways, how to travel effectively, exploring different ways of travelling in water.
The easiest way for a child to acquire these skills is through fun and games. Games are an ideal way for children to develop their jigsaw of skills and may even lead to combining one skill with another to support the process of building the jigsaw. This ultimately results in a stroke such as front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke or butterfly as well as skills that may become transferable to another aquatic or land based sport.
The time it takes for a swimmer to develop the crucial skills and build their jigsaw will depend on their own personal development, as swimmers progress at their own pace.
Our main aim within the library is to encourage a love of books from a very early age. The library is designed to be fun and inviting for EY children, and we have a vast range of picture books, easy non-fiction, and books in other languages.
All EY children will regularly borrow library books during class time, and in addition parents/nannies are strongly encouraged to visit the library with their children before and after school. Each week we also have English and Thai Storytimes for families with children in EY.
- It takes a long time to acquire an additional language.
- The school provides plenty of practise and instruction in English.
- Maintaining mother tongue at home helps development of English.
- Playing with English speakers is the best way to help develop English outside of school.
- Reading and talking about books in English or mother tongue with your child helps develop English.
Your child may be starting school with limited English proficiency. This is perfectly okay. In fact, at this age even native speakers of English have only just begun to really explore the language and develop their vocabulary for use outside the home.
The Early Years programme is designed to provide high quality learning experiences that encourage language acquisition and development in all our children, from the moment they begin their first day at school.
The process of acquiring a language takes time and you should not be worried if for the first few weeks or even months you child appears not to be speaking much or any English. This “silent phase” is perfectly normal, and you can be reassured that your child will be observing, listening and taking in the English around him or her until the moment that he or she feels ready to start using it.
It is also important to know that the time it takes for a learner of English to go from no English to full academic fluency can be as long as seven years. Throughout that time your child’s teachers will be providing the right environment to make this lengthy process as rich as possible.
However, there are things you can do at home to help your child during this time. It is important to value your child’s mother tongue. Your child will have plenty of exposure to English at school. Research tells us that by maintaining mother tongue while learning an additional language, both are strengthened. Children who are proficient speakers of Thai, Korean, French and so on become proficient speakers of English more readily.
If you speak English, you can be a good role model for your child by using it where appropriate. This does not mean speaking English artificially, when your mother tongue would be the most efficient way to communicate, but to show your child that when English is needed (when you are talking to English-speaking parents in the playground, members of the school staff, visitors to Thailand etc) you use English confidently. This gives them something to aspire to.
You should look for opportunities for your child to play with English-speaking children outside school. At this age, play is the most authentic language-rich situation you can create for your child, one where the need to speak English is clear. If your child needs to use the language he or she will.
Reading is also an important activity that helps to develop your child’s language. In the early stages, before your child is reading formally, it is important to share stories with them in your child’s mother tongue as appropriate. This helps develop a love of books, and to show him or her that you value reading yourself. Your child’s love of books in his or her mother tongue will then more readily transfer to their relationship with English books. As your child begins to bring home books from school, listen to him or her read then discuss what you have read in your child’s mother tongue. If he or she can discuss an English story in his or her own language we can be confident of deep understanding and rich language ability.
There are many more ways in which you can help, and your child’s class teacher and the EAL specialists at Shrewsbury are happy to help with advice.
At Shrewsbury we enjoy celebrating many different cultures and festivals such as Diwali, Loy Krathong and Chinese New Year. There are a number of different community celebrations throughout the year, as well a fun days that are designed to enhance children’s learning. For many of these events we encourage children to come to school dressed in a special costume for the day.
Many of these special events will be listed in the main school calendar, which can be found on the Parent Portal. We will also notify you of some events by email/parent portal letter, Junior School overviews and communication books.