At Woodlands Primary Academy we spend a lot of our time learning through play, which is a very significant part of our curriculum. Play is important, as it allows the children to learn practically.
We follow the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ and this forms the basis for our planning. Throughout the Foundation Stage, we follow the seven areas of learning. These are:
· Personal, Social and Emotional Development
· Communication and Language
· Understanding of the World
· Physical Development
· Expressive art and design
We plan following children’s needs and interests’, looking for evidence through their play demonstrates children are making progress in the seven areas of learning.
The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child's own natural desire to learn
A play based curriculum
In the Foundation Stage, play is at the centre of everything we do. We recognise the value of play and active learning in the Foundation Stage. Play is totally absorbing, extremely serious and a natural desire for young children. We acknowledge that through play in a secure environment, with effective adult support children can make the required academic progress.
In the Foundation Stage we recognise that -
· every child is unique and must be treated as an individual.
· every child develops at differing rates.
Activities are matched to the abilities and needs of each child. Through challenging play activities, the children learn and expand their knowledge. The children learn through quality interactions with each other and the adults around them. The efforts of the children are recognised, accepted, supported
and valued which fosters within them a positive feeling of self-esteem and self worth. Children are actively encouraged to access resources for themselves and engage in self-chosen activities. The adults work alongside them to guide, support and extend their learning.
What can children do?
Sand – We have wet sand and dry sand. We build sandcastles, scoop, dig, make holes, pour and fill, make patterns and pictures. We also add people, animals, shells, pebbles and cars to provide opportunities for imaginary play.
Water – We have water to play in to explore floating and sinking, bubble making, washing and water wheels. We also put in animals, people and boats to provide opportunities for imaginary play.
Paint – We always have paint available to use. We learn about different textures of paint, how to mix colours. We also include a range of paintbrushes of different sizes and different papers.
Creative – There are always lots of materials to use to make pictures and models. We encourage the children to use their imagination when model-making. A range of boxes, yoghurt pots, wool, lollipop sticks, pipe cleaners etc. are available for the children to do this, as well as a wide variety of different ways to fix things.
Mark Making – This is where the children can write and draw. There is always a selection of paper, pens, crayons, pencils, scissors and paper clips to use. The children’s names are also available to encourage them to write their name on their work.
Book Area – This is an area, offering a wide selection of quality books to enjoy and read. Puppets are always available to encourage children to retell the stories they have read.
Role-Play – Our home area is resourced with a variety of appropriate items to enhance play. It is equipped with furniture and resources to reflect the familiarity of a home environment.
We also set up different role-play areas that are linked to our themes e.g. a cafe, Fruit and Vegetable Shop. Every role-play opportunity provides the children with a stimulus to increase their imagination.
Malleable – This area provides the children with many opportunities to experience feeling and smelling different resources e.g. clay, play dough, plasticine, shaving foam and cornflour. We also include various cutters, rollers, modelling tools and items to cut, roll and make patterns.
Construction/Small World – In this area we build using a range of small and large equipment. It can be combined with a variety of small world equipment (trains, animals, cars etc.) to encourage imaginative play.
ICT – Within our Unit, we have access to an interactive whiteboard in each classroom. We also have ipads that the children use to practise letter and number formation, play various games and find information. Other ICT skills that children develop include operating the tape recorder and using electronic toys.
Table–Top/Number Areas – The children complete jigsaws, play games and explore a range of mathematical concepts e.g. sorting, counting and comparing sizes.
Music Area - The children experience a range of musical instruments and it also gives them the opportunity to dance to the music they have made.
Investigation Area – These areas help to promote exploration and discovery, using our senses. They particularly support our ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’ work.
Outdoor Learning – This area develops the children’s physical skills (gross motor) and provides opportunities to experience all areas of learning. We include bats, balls, hoops and quoits to encourage throwing and catching, rolling and retrieving. We also provide many of the activities found inside, outside e.g. mark-making, role-play, den building, music area and water area. It is always supervised by a member of staff to ensure the safety of all our children. Please bring a named pair of wellies for your child to leave at school as it will allow them to access the full range of activities