what we do

The day’s activities are carefully planned so that children will feel secure, happy and confident. The children are encouraged to form good relationships with adults and peers. We provide an environment that encourages the children to be interested, excited and motivated to learn. The children will begin to understand what is right, what is wrong, and why, and to consider the consequences of their words and actions for themselves and those around them. We strive to make children feel valued as individuals. 

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We provide a wide range of activities to help develop speaking and listening skills, for example circle time, story telling and imaginative play. Seeing, hearing and using language is fundamental to a child’s knowledge of themselves, of others and of the world around them. Speaking and listening are the aspects of language which they learn first, and which form the foundation for the development of reading and writing.

Mathematics, like language and literacy, is an integral part of everyday life in the Nursery. Understanding will be developed through songs, stories, games and imaginative play. The Nursery provides a rich variety of practical activities which help the children learn about number, shape, pattern, capacity, weight, length and space. Children inevitably become involved in mathematical experiences through many aspects of every day life. 

Emotional Development

From the very first day your child starts at the Ark, we pay careful attention to getting to know your child and your family.  We make sure your child is completely content, secure and showing an interest in his or her surroundings.  By building strong bonds with your child and helping them to develop personally, socially and emotionally we can then encourage them to feel secure enough to venture forward, make friends and try new activities.

WHY EMOTIONS MATTER

Parents and carers have an important role to play in supporting children’s emotional development. They do this through responding effectively to children’s emotions, through providing examples of how they manage feelings, and through talking with children about feelings and how to manage them. In similar ways, school staff can provide important support for children’s emotional development. 

Recently there has been a massive increase in mental health problems in very young children, including eating disorders and self harming. There has been a great deal of research into wellbeing and mindfulness and as parents and carers it is our responsibility to make sure our children develop high levels of self-esteem, confidence and a general feeling of wellbeing from birth.

CHILDREN’S EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Emotional development begins in infancy and continues into adulthood. The first emotions that can be recognised in babies include joy, anger, sadness and fear. Later, as children begin to develop a sense of self, more complex emotions like shyness, surprise, elation, embarrassment, shame, guilt, pride and empathy emerge.

Very young children’s emotions are mainly made up of physical reactions (eg heart racing, butterflies in stomach) and behaviours. As they grow, children develop the ability to recognise feelings. Their emotions are also increasingly influenced by their thinking. They become more aware of their own feelings and better able to recognise and understand other people’s. 

Primary school children are still learning to identify emotions, to understand why they happen and how to manage them appropriately. As children develop, the things that provoke their emotional responses change, as do the strategies they use to manage them.

SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

Spiritual Growth is of great importance to everyone.  Spiritual Growth is the basis for a better and more harmonious life, a life free of tension, fear and anxiety.  It helps us to learn not to let circumstances influence our inner being and state of mind.

Spiritual growth is not a means of escaping from responsibility, behaving strangely and becoming an impractical person.  It is a method of growing and becoming a stronger, happier and more responsible person.

Creative Learning

Creativity is intrinsic to effective learning. The children are given the freedom to choose what they want to do and explore their own ideas for a significant part of the day. Domestic play, spontaneous play, stories and music all play a key part in the children’s creative development. Art and craft activities include painting, collage, drawing and sculpture. We would also like to point out that everything your child brings home should be praised however unrecognisable it appears. We will not be perfecting your child’s efforts when they are not looking! 

Planning & Curriculum

Every day is planned around the child’s learning. This begins with the babies and follows through to the Pre-School. Planning is available for parents to see, displayed on the planning notice board in each room.

The way the planning for all daily activities evolves is by using the Early Years Foundation Stage which sets the standards for learning, development and care of children from Birth to the end of the Reception year at five years old. More information will be available once your child begins Nursery. The children will learn through play and more structured activities. We encourage children to be involved in activities planned by adults and those which they have initiated themselves. French is also offered, as an extra.

The importance of play must never be under-estimated. Through play children develop their imagination and communication skills. They learn to share, speak and listen to others, to express their feelings and develop self-control. 

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Parental involvement

We enjoy watching children develop and we strongly encourage our parents to share information with us about their child. We operate an open door policy and parents are welcome to phone any time during their child’s sessions if they would like to speak to a member of staff. This enables the staff to facilitate a good understanding of each child’s individual needs and home circumstances. Regular news letters help us to keep parents informed of what’s happening each week in Nursery.

Nativity Play and Christmas Party

In the autumn term, the older children perform a Nativity play in Church. This is always a wonderful occasion and a great time to all get together with coffee and mince pies afterwards. The children also have a Christmas party.

Outing & Sports Day

In the summer term we hold a very informal Sports Day on the school playing field and an outing further afield.

Leavers’ Assembly

At the end of the academic year we hold a leavers’ assembly and all children leaving for “big school” put on a performance. There are always lots of tears, and they are not usually from the children! 

Big School

We work very closely with the staff at St Gilbert’s and St George's Schools. Whether your child will be going to either school or not, there will be many opportunities for your child to visit a “big school.” This will provide the children with a wonderful opportunity and a valuable experience. Children moving up to school in September will visit their new school, either with a parent or a member of staff. Reception teachers also visit children in their homes or nurseries.