The learning and assessment process
We are a Montessori nursery This means we teach through the method pioneered by Maria Montessori
Your child will learn by exploring the activities we have in our prepared environment. Most of the resources in our classroom are Montessori materials. Within the Montessori ethos there are 5 areas of learning:
Children have the freedom to choose what activities they would like to do in the indoor and outdoor classroom.
They are encouraged to be self-directed in their play. Children will work on activities that are of interest to them, from shelves assigned to the various Montessori areas of learning. So from day to day or week to week, they may enjoy exploring activities from one or two main areas of learning or be very broad in their activities.
As a setting, we must also assess and track children's learning using the Early Years Statutory Framework.
When a child starts at our nursery, our focus is on encouraging their learning in its three prime areas: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, and Physical Development, as well as developing their social skills and independance.
Their keyworker will plan for their learning on a weekly basis, with activity suggestions or extensions for each child depending on what stage of development they are at in the different areas of learning, and what interest they are displaying. This means that every child will be working on different learning goals of a curriculum developed around their own needs and interests and abilities. During the week each child is observed during their play. These observations are used by the keyworker to plan for the next step of your child's learning.
From Guide to the Early Years Years Foundation Stage in Montessori Settings, The Montessori Schools Association, 2012
On a termly basis, each child's learning development is tracked against the Early Years Statuatory Framework and a progress summary report is produced. The framework looks at children's development from birth until the child is 5, so is also used in the first year of primary school. There are seven areas of learning here, each with their own learning aspects.
Children's ages are banded:
Within these age bands for each area of learning are expected milestones of learning and achievement. It is expected that a child's development when assessed will fall into their age band for some, if not most areas of learning. All children develop and learn at different rates, and the Montessori method encourages children to learn at their own pace. So it is normal for a child's development to be varied across one or two age bands. The development tracker helps practitioners to monitor children's learning and development and identify children who may have additional learning needs.
As parents and guardians, your role is invaluable to your child's first years of learning. By communicating with your child's keyworker about your/their home life and what you witness of their well-being and development, you will support our role in your child's learning. Through discussions face-to-face, reading through your child's online diaries and assessments, and sharing your own observations, the more we learn about you and your child, the better placed we are to support your family.
If you have any questions about the Early Years Framework, or about your child's development, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Click to download the 4Children 'What to Expect When' guide to early development
Click to download the 4CHildren guide to early years development for parents
The Foundation Years website's parent section has a wealth of information about child development, special needs, and family services, among others