At the Mill Nursery we aim to provide the highest quality care and education for all our children thereby giving them a strong foundation for their future learning. We create a safe and happy environment with motivating and enjoyable learning experiences that enable children to become confident and independent learners. We value the individual child and work alongside parents and carers to meet their needs and help every child to reach their full potential. Staff learn about children’s starting points working with parents from the start, with a home visit and our comprehensive settling in policy, this provides our practitioners with an enriched understanding of each individual child.
At The Mill we provide a balanced curriculum, based on the latest Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), across the prime and specific areas of learning, using play as the vehicle for learning. This is achieved by weekly team meetings with practitioners working alongside our lead teacher (Teacher across Early Years in our nursery and school) who supports and guides the planning. Practitioners input is shared and valued and meets the needs of individuals and their interests. This provides opportunities for regular pedagogical discussion about next steps, children’s interests and provision. There is a balance of adult-led and child initiated learning throughout our daily practice. We ensure that the environment is resourced with items and objects that interest the children and motivate them, from treasure baskets to story sacks and sets of open ended related objects. At team planning meetings practitioners comment on individual needs and potential next steps for progression for all abilities, these will then be collated into weekly plans and learning opportunities. The children’s interests are recorded and inform the basic provision plan for the following week, both in and outdoors. Basic provision displays children’s interests and learning needs. Areas of learning and activities link to the EYFS. Each day Practitioners deliver a short planned small group time activity early on in the session so as not to interrupt their own learning passage addressing characteristics of effective learning within the primary and specific areas for pre-school aged children. Younger children have their group time incorporated into their play. These focus activities are based on the Early Years Outcomes and are differentiated for the different abilities that we have in the setting. The result of the activities will lead into future planning.
Each member of staff has key children and they document children’s learning in personalised learning journeys through observations and photographs taken during the sessions. Children’s progress is tracked through observational assessment and profiling against the early years outcomes and development stages in their learning journey so staff can make sure that their children make a good level of progress. This also allows us to find any gaps in their learning and plan accordingly. Parental contributions are made through feedback and this is collated in the Learning Journey. Practitioners work with parents to ensure a partnership of learning and development is established thus enabling a complete picture of a child is obtained. Keyworkers share learning journeys termly with parents who give feedback and a dialogue is developed between both parties. As part of our 'shared voices' programme parents are given photographs of their child at nursery and are invited to comment with their child on their learning. The weekly notice board share photographs of learning experiences at the nursery.
Formative assessment is recorded against the developmental matters document descriptors against an individual’s development. As a starting point we obtain a parental assessment of their child, on entry, against the prime areas of development. A base line assessment is also made by practitioners against these descriptors at the end the child’s first six weeks in nursery. At the end of each term a summative assessment is made from the formative assessment judgements recorded against the developmental matters descriptors within the child’s Learning Journey document. The summative assessment data is recorded on a cohort tracker document. We provide early intervention for those children who require additional support working in partnership with parents, advisors and therapists within the wider context. Evaluation of data is made to plan support for the individuals, specific groups of children or cohorts.
The Mill nursery is committed to valuing and celebrating diversity by providing equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice for all children and families. The Mill nursery has a named SENCo, and ENCo, who work closely with practitioners and the teacher to implement the guidelines of the SEN code of practice. The differentiated learning opportunities offered in the setting encourages children to develop positive attitudes. It encourages children to empathise with others and to begin to develop the skills of critical thinking. We do this by: making children feel valued and good about themselves; ensuring that children have equality of access to learning. We provide appropriate provision within the curriculum to ensure each child receives the widest possible opportunity to develop their skills and abilities; positively reflecting our immediate community and beyond. This is achieved by providing a range of resources and celebrating festivals thus creating an environment of mutual respect.
To ensure expectations of achievement and the standard of delivery is high, Lead Practitioners within the team model sessions and observe focussed practitioner led sessions termly. Staff observe each other through regular peer to peer observations and practitioners appreciate the process of reflective support and challenge that leads to consistent provision across the nursery.
Parent/carers of pre-school aged children are invited to attend a series of school readiness information sessions throughout the year. The sessions are led by the lead Teacher and are evaluated and well attended. Recent parent feedback included ‘ the session was very useful as this is all new to me. Most interested in oral blending and what I can do at home to help prepare my child for school’. From this feedback we have developed a further session for parents on ‘school transition’. The process from induction to transition into school is evaluated regularly by parents (meetings) and practitioners (sharing child’s learning journey with Reception class teacher). Key workers liaise with other pre-school settings where a child in their care also attends another setting. This is done by formal written request for information about the child in their setting and by a follow up for our practitioners to visit the child in the other setting. This feedback ensures a partnership between practitioners across both settings.