“It’s not so much what children learn through play, but what they won’t learn if we don’t give them the chance to play. Many functional skills like literacy and arithmetic can be learned either through play or through instruction – the issue is the amount of stress on the child. However, many coping skills like compassion, self-regulation, self-confidence, the habit of active engagement, and the motivation to learn and be literate cannot be instructed. They can only be learned through self-directed experience (i.e. play). ~ Susan J. Oliver (author, Playing for Keeps)
During the Pre School stage at Circus Day Nursery we focus on giving children all they need to ensure they are prepared to make a smooth transition to school. Our setting follows the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) principles, from birth to five years for each and every child. This statutory framework instills a broad range of knowledge and skills however learning is still child lead and achieved in a very creative and exploratory way – mostly through play.
For example, instead of asking a child to colour a picture of an object, we will give the child the actual object to explore. So their sense of sight, touch, smell and even taste can be developed in relation to the object instead of experiencing it in a linear fashion on paper.
Following the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ gives assurance to parents and school teachers, that children will start school ready and able to learn. The EYFS covers three Prime area and four Specific areas of learning that are all interconnected: these areas are Personal, social and emotional development, Communication and language, Physical Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the world and Expressive Art and Design
These areas all help support and develop the Three Characteristics of Effective Learning which are, playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically. At Circus these are incorporated into each child’s daily routine through a variety of indoor and outdoor activities.
Our Secret Garden
Children from Clown Floor up all explore the outside world safely in our ‘Secret Garden’. So when our children reach pre school age they are accustomed to contributing to the development of our nature area by using their own ideas and imaginations. Will they create an area to welcome fairies into the garden? Or would they like to plant a specific type of flower? All this creativity combined with the benefits of outdoor play in the fresh air improve focus and increase a child’s self-esteem.
Ukulele Lessons Come to Circus
A great opportunity for our children to learn about the wonder of music, rhythm and learn a musical instrument. The sessions are fun-packed and designed to hold the attention of the children while they learn to read music and play an instrument, helping develop a love for music in general. This takes place with Ali (visiting mentor) every Friday morning. The cost is £18 for a six week course.
Pyjama Classes comes to Circus
These classes take children on exciting adventures where their imagination has the starring role. In each session the children explore new imaginary worlds. This takes place with Kate every Monday morning and the cost is £27.50 for an eleven week course. These exciting classes are also available to our younger children too.
French Comes To Circus
Anne our French mentor visits Circus every Wednesday afternoon and teaches the children the French lauguage which includes songs, stories, games and activities. This course is £35 for a ten week course. Exposing your child to a second language while young allows him or her to optimise his or her learning potential, developing and shaping the brain at its most flexible stage. Young children are uniquely suited to learning a second language. Learning a second language at a young age is cognitively as easy as learning a first language. These opportunities for learning a second language are available to younger children too.
Cognitive Benefits of learning a second language
While some parents may be concerned that introducing their child to a second language will interfere with developing English skills, the opposite is actually true and children can differentiate between two languages from a very early age, which according to Roberta Michnick Golinkoff Ph.D., author of How Babies talk, it can enhance a child’s overall verbal development.
Research shows a number of additional cognitive benefits to learning a second language and those who learn a foreign language show higher cognitive performance in overall basic skills as they progress in education. Children who learn another language at a young age also show better problem-solving skills, enhanced spatial awareness, and heightened creativity. Learning another language early in childhood encourages flexible thinking and communication skills, helping children consider issues from more than one perspective.
Children and parents also enjoy these benefits of Pre School at Circus:
- The children are responsible for registering themselves each morning
- Children wear a uniform consisting of a purple t-shirt and sweatshirt for parents to buy as the child starts their pre school year
- Optional French and Ukulele lessons for students
- Our Graduation BBQ every August celebrates the children’s achievements before they move on to school. They all make their own mortar boards to wear and receive certificates during the ceremony. Watch out for the red carpet!
- Zoolab visits us with various animals, from tarantulas and snakes to rabbits and insects
- The fire and police departments visit the children – along with their respective vehicles
- Our ‘Jungle’ area houses two degus, two terrapins and tropical fish
- Apple computers, I pads and printers are available for children to use to develop fine motor skills, knowledge and understanding of games, use of keyboard, letters, numbers, to name just a few skills.
When a child moves on to school (or another setting) the staff completing a Transition Record for each child. This record details where a child is within the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS), taking in to account the Three Characteristic of Effective Learning, the three prime areas and the four specific areas of learning. This record is then passed onto the new setting. This benefits both the child and the new setting by imparting an understanding of the stage of development and any individual needs.
We do invite and welcome teachers to visit our setting during the month of July to meet any of our children starting school in September. This is also a useful and beneficial opportunity for our staff to share completed Transition Records with the class teacher and discuss a child’s individual development.
We at Circus Day Nursery are proud of the start we give children in life. We are confident we can give your little ones the same great start. To find out more or schedule a tour please contact us.