All our staff at Sandy Bears are passionate about children's happiness and engagement in all aspects of their life. Whilst behaviour and respect for their surroundings, peers and adults are important, it is also our goal that children become active in their learning and passionate to discover in their surroundings. In our modern life we feel one of the most important things we can provide children with is self-esteem and confidence. This comes from supportive staff who realise that all children have different strengths skills and learning styles. This is one of the main reasons that we avoid ‘testing’ children and using work sheets or whiteboards where children can compare pieces of work that should be identical. Instead we celebrate their differences and build their sense of self-worth for when they begin school and the testing begins!
We think children should enjoy being little, should learn elements of freedom and be as happy as can be!
All of the staff who work with our pre-schoolers are trained to very high levels in Early Years. This means you have a team of early innovators, people who have studied closely the theories and up to date practice. Our short courses list is huge and shows the dedication we have to professional development. From cluster meetings with our local authority to courses on specific age groups we feel it is important to stay in the loop with the constant changes our field faces within theories and government legislation.
At Sandy Bears we feel outdoor time is essential for a healthy and happy child and this is no exception for our pre-school children.
We encourage all of our children to explore the outdoors in all weathers and use our highly qualified staff to mould their interests and learning when they are outside. Often you will find us having a snack picnic or having our tea outside during the summer months! The learning is endless from the different areas we have outside. Children develop concepts of the world by tending to our plants and animals and from learning from our Eco Officer too! We take children out into the local area to make them aware of places and people who contribute to our local area developing their British Values and sense of community.
From being outside and away from 4 walls and technology we feel that we are giving children an amazing start to a healthy and happy childhood.
Whilst we focus on exploration and discovery we do understand that children need to be prepared for school and to develop skills that will support their learning when this becomes more formal.
We put lots in place to develop their literacy, from the day the children start with us - the messy play activities, use of loose parts and physical activities support the strengthening of children's writing muscles. As the children get older we do activities surrounding phonics – these could be sorting dinosaur bones into letter formation, writing signs for the builders hut, painting underneath a table and signing sound songs. All of these provide amazing FOUNDATIONS for learning.
We have liased with a consultancy company who specialise in Maths to review and assess our Maths development. We use Numicon within our setting. These tiles develop early maths concepts of numbers, weight, value and more, and support children with learning throughout key stage 1&2 for adding subtracting multiplication and division. It can be used in many ways and is a tool that promotes independent learning, they naturally explore maths when using it. For example, colouring in the holes, naturally counting as they go.
Our maths focusses on the value of the number. When a child can count to 50 and fill numbers in on a work sheet it displays very impressive memory skills, however a child that knows the value of 3 in relation to 5, can group numbers, order numbers by value and is beginning to understand addition and subtraction is much better equipped when starting in reception class.