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☰ Instilling key skills from an early age

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Instilling key skills from an early age

Posted on: 26 Mar 2018 by Weston Green School | Category: Early Years, Kindergarten, Reception

The Early Years Foundation Stage is so called because of the essential role it plays as the foundation for all that follows during your child’s journey through education; their journey through Weston Green.

As our new Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has alluded to himself in his first weeks on the job, developing life-long learners is not just about academic excellence, but rather this is just one aspect of the ‘whole picture’. We must also focus on creating an ethos whereby the children develop a sense of ownership, independence and resilience in their own learning, as this greater level of engagement can only lead to wonderful things now and as they move up through Weston Green.

With this aim in mind, as an Early Years Team we have begun to implement the “Reggio Emilia Approach” to teaching and learning. There are various facets to this approach and I will share a few of them with you now to give you a fuller understanding of our ethos and mindset in the Weston Green Early Years.

A major goal is to strengthen relationships for the children - ensuring they can fulfil the ‘Team Player’ element of Weston Green’s Learner Profiles, as represented by the Bee. This is both between each other and with the community as a whole. To this end, we are embarking upon our collaborative Early Years Art Project, drawing on the expertise of artists in the Weston Green parent body to create a large scale piece of art based around the local community. This project will involve all of the children working together, and it will not be finished in a day. We’ll have to be persistent woodpeckers (another of Weston Green’s Learner Profiles) to finish this masterpiece, but the children will feel real pride in their resilience come the end of the project.

Another characteristic of the Reggio Emilia Approach to learning is to stimulate creativity and independence. Linking again to Weston Green’s Learner Profiles, the children will need to be spiders  (“I make things”) and badgers (“I work independently”). Have you noticed the abundance of tyres and crates in our outside areas? This is not a side-business in recycling, but rather a conscious move towards open-ended resources in our environment. For example, a toy car will always be a toy car, but in the hands of a Weston Green pupil, tyres and crates can be a car, pirate ship, circus stage or whatever else their imagination wants it to be!

You can see how these essential life skills are built upon as the children move through the school, with our superstar Year 1s sharing their thoughts on a Growth Mindset here. The benefits of this will again be seen over the coming weeks, in the imaginative and enthralling project work that the children produce further up the school.

And to think, it all begins in the Early Years. 

Mr. Jason Lang (Head of Early Years)

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