Each Kindergarten group has a mixed age range of 3- 6 year olds.
The Early Years curriculum supports and values the benefits of an unfettered childhood. The children are not rushed or over-stimulated and are allowed space to develop physical coordination and personal, social and cognitive skills. The focus is on child-led play with simple props to encourage creativity, ingenuity and problem solving skills. For example a block of wood can be a ship, a telephone, or a loaf of bread.
Free play is interwoven with more structured, hands-on activities with an emphasis on domestic, artistic and craft activities to emulate a lively extended family where children can learn through imitation – the easiest and most natural way for the young child to learn. They sing, paint, draw and move to music. They listen to stories told by the teacher, create puppet shows and little plays; bake, grind flour and help prepare their daily snack. They plant and harvest and tend the gardens; weave, sew and use simple tools. Festivals, so significant in creating community, are a major part of kindergarten life, with parents joining in the celebration. The patterns and routines of the day run through the week and the year and many of the activities following the cycle of the seasons and the celebration of festivals.
The Early Years curriculum is based on the understanding that
- imitation and activity are the young child’s natural way of learning;
- activities aim to develop gross motor skills, speech, awareness of others and self-regulation;
- collaboration in play, the sharing of food and other activities promote social development;
- experiencing the natural world and sharing responsibility for such things as the care of their environment, for cleaning and tidying and for the preparation of food fosters responsibility, respect and self-reliance;
- participation in the celebration of festivals inspires a sense of awe and reverence.
The Early Years curriculum includes the following foundations for effective learning:
- pre-literacy: songs, rhymes, stories, social engagement through play and at snack time;
- gross motor skills: in dance and movement, outdoor play;
- fine motor skills: in sewing, finger knitting, baking, painting, drawing.
- pre-numeracy skills: counting songs, counting opportunities in play and snack preparation;
- science: experiencing nature in the outdoors, nature table, seasonal songs and verses, food preparation and seasonal cooking;
- technology: the use of simple hand tools in craft and cookery;
- art: painting, drawing, model making;
- music: daily singing.
Please note: The kindergartens have been granted permanent exemptions or modifications from those aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Learning and Development Requirements which relate to the formal introduction of Literacy, Numeracy as well as Technology.
The current EY Handbook can be downloadedHEREFORD-STEINER-ACADEMY-EY-HANDBOOK-3RD-EDITION-MAY-2015-WEB.pdf