Learning extends way beyond the confines of the classroom. We are fortunate to have a large, outdoor area in addition to our school playground, where the children in the Early Years classes are able to carry out a variety of carefully planned games and activities. We believe that outdoor learning is an important part of the Early Years Curriculum as it plays a key role in developing the children’s creativity, imagination, motor skills, language, social interaction and wellbeing.
Included in our outdoor area, at the bottom of the garden, we also have The Hollow. Here, the children in Early Years and beyond are given the opportunity to explore, work together and learn in a natural outdoor environment. A mud kitchen, den building materials, planting tools, a willow dome and log seats are just a few of the resources in this exciting learning area.
Synthetic phonics is the main approach we use to teach reading. In this approach sounds are matched to letters or groups of letters in a systematic way. The children follow a basic sound and letter recognition programme and, from an early stage are encouraged to form simple consonant-vowel-consonant words, e.g. sat, can, pot. They are also introduced to a basic sight vocabulary. All children progress through a series of clearly identified phases when they begin to encounter books and subsequently learn to read. This method has been shown to be the most effective method for teaching children to read and also helps to support spelling.
In Nursery we use the interactive Jolly Phonics scheme. This enables the children to become familiar with the initial letter sounds through a variety of actions, songs and games. In Reception and through Key Stage 1, the Read Write Inc scheme is used to teach letter formation and the order of the sounds. Additionally, the teachers plan and teach a range of differentiated phonics games and activities to run alongside this scheme.
Although developed in the early 20th century, Montessori remains a buzz word in education today.
At Prospect House School, selected aspects of the Montessori philosophy are included in our teaching methods for our younger children, simply because they work extremely well. All the more so when incorporated with the early years foundation stage (EYFS) curriculum.
The Montessori method centres on mental and physical freedom and child-initiated learning. This encourages pupils to explore concepts and develop skills through their choices and interaction with specially-designed apparatus and materials.
Montessori offers a journey of active personal discovery rather than passive learning and consistently proves to be an invaluable launch to the start of academic life.