- Prime Areas
- Phonics & Literacy
- Science & Botany
- Culture & Geography
- Expressive Arts
- Home Learning
- Extra-Curricular Clubs
At Bright Little Stars Nursery, we believe that the development of children is achieved by making learning fun. Children are stimulated by planned and child initiated activities, which not only include play but educational elements as well. Learning is guided by our exceptional and passionate staff who skilfully support children’s learning and development with effective teaching. Through stimulating activities and learning opportunities we strive to make a difference and create the most solid foundation for your child’s future learning and development preparing them for school.
We follow a broad-based curriculum to ensure each individual child is supported and has a variety of opportunities to learn and develop in all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Accordingly, the EYFS Statutory Framework sets the foundation of our curriculum and our unique Bright Little Stars Learning Programme provides challenges for each child individually whist preparing them for school, it nurtures a love of learning with measured amounts of formal teaching – the aim ‘to bring play and teaching together.’ This is achieved by incorporating:
- Prime Areas
- Phonics & Literacy
- Science and Botany
- Culture and Geography
- Expressive Arts
- Home Learning
- Extra-Curricular Clubs
Each child’s learning and development is recorded and celebrated through Bright Little Stars individual child’s Learning Journey, using the Footsteps software.
We aim to support every child with a learning experience that is planned from the very beginning with activities that are challenging yet achievable so that children can continue to enjoy learning. Your child’s Key Person will be sensitive to the individual development needs of each child to ensure that the activities they undertake are suitable for the stage that they have reached.
Practitioners will complete on-going observational assessment in each child’s Learning Journey every month to inform planning for each child’s continuing development. The records are shared with parents regularly and include parental involvement at every stage.
At Bright Little Stars Nursery we also hold two formal parent’s evenings each year.
A Room Leader is allocated to each of the age groups that occupy different rooms, ensuring continuity of care and a sense of security for the children.
We adopt a Key Person approach from the very beginning to allow each child to build a strong relationship with an adult in the nursery to support their well-being. Each child will not only have a Key Person, but a Key Person ‘buddy’ also. This ‘buddy’ will also ensure early attachments are made in order to ensure consistency and security at all times during and especially in the absence of the Key Person. It is very important that parents and carers share information about their child with their Key Person to facilitate this approach and to enable the Key Person to coordinate your child’s care and education. Having a Key Person also ensures that each child’s achievements are shared with parents on a regular basis.
The EYFS, revised in March 2017, is a Government Framework covering the stage of children’s development from birth to 5 years old, when they are at the end of their first year in school (Reception). The EYFS Framework describes how early year’s practitioners should work with children and their families and what your child will be learning to give them a firm foundation for a successful start at school.
The EYFS is defined in section 39 of the British Government’s Childcare Act 2006 and comprises a set of welfare and learning and development requirements. This is a statutory framework for all children below the age of 5 years old.
EYFS identifies seven areas of learning and development. We use these when observing, assessing and planning to meet the needs of children as individuals.
The areas of learning and development ensure that we continuously challenge children and help them to develop and succeed.
There are seven areas of learning and these are split into two parts:
The three prime areas are for all children aged between 0-5 years old and are our main focus when planning activities for babies and children under 3 years old:
- Communication and Language;
- Physical Development and
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in the four specific areas. These are mostly used for children over the age of 3 years old but can also be relevant for younger children:
- Understanding the World and
- Expressive Arts and Design.
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Language represents the foundation of learning to read and write and is the starting point of the Bright Little Stars Literacy Programme.
Children’s oral language skills and opportunities to express themselves through babbles, and later speech, is nurtured and highly valued. This is because, young children use words and speech as a way to understand important concepts. We understand that language drives children’s cognitive development and thought processes about the wider world and therefore the way that children process information to inform learning. Language is used to ignite children’s interest and passion for literacy by allowing freedom of expression.
Younger children are exposed to a deep love of story times whilst sharing books with passionate storytellers. Through the introduction of books, songs, rhymes and poems during role play and interactive story sessions children become growing readers and natural narrators themselves.
Children build a desire and true appreciation for reading and recognising that symbols have meaning through story sacks, author visits, singing nursery rhymes, listening to audio books and on-the-move acting and role play. The environment is rich with text for reading opportunities and mark making media for early writing skills.
The learning is extended as children grow and children are challenged with identifying weekly ‘special sounds’, appropriate use of phonics and phonetical reading. This phonic acquisition is supported by the introduction of Jolly Phonics and the Ben & Betty interactive, multi-sensory learning programme. Letter formation is also developed with the introduction of Read, Write Inc. Children are encouraged to use descriptive language and hold intellectual conversations with peers.
Mathematics is one of the specific areas of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, and features prominently within children’s daily learning.
Children learn about maths through their play and daily life. While ‘experiencing’ maths children learn about numbers, shape, space and measure, whilst becoming confident using mathematical language in everyday conversations. A variety of teaching styles are used to create a wide range of mathematical learning opportunities across the learning programme by using the touch screen computers and the multi-sensory Ben and Betty programme.
Children explore the characteristics of familiar objects and shapes whilst learning to use every day mathematical language to describe them and talk about quantity, size, weight, capacity, distance, time and positioning.
Through implementing the Ben and Betty programme children engage in a range of activities involving creating patterns during the ‘special sound p week’, traffic surveys during the ‘special sound t week’, reciting rhymes with mathematical content, comparing measurements and finding the best fit, talking about temperatures for cooking and time.
Healthy Risk Taking and Challenging Play together form a unique part of our Maths programme. Within these sessions children work in small groups with close adult supervision to experiment with the cause and effect of real life tools. Children build an awareness of personal safety, strong hand eye coordination and the importance of boundaries and following rules.
During their time at Bright Little Stars each child will begin to build an understanding and knowledge of Science and Botany. As science is a key part of a child’s entire educational journey, we believe in getting children off to a flying start.
Science is introduced indirectly and holistically, incorporated in activities within the typical nursery day both in- and outdoors whilst also linking to the weekly ‘special sound’. The activities that we provide promote a greater understanding of the world through a ‘hands on’ approach. We do this with investigations into the behaviour of objects, conducting experiments, exploring and discovering and lastly presenting findings.
We use the study of botany to teach children about the importance of life, living, nurturing and caring. Children are actively involved in growing, caring for and observing plants in the learning rooms as well as caring for nursery pets.
Some examples of the skills children learn are prediction, observation, problem-solving, making decisions, discussion and critical thinking.
By utilising children’s natural interest of living things practitioners are able to tailor the learning to the children’s interests with ease through activities involving: colours, light and shadows, sound, forces and magnets, fossils, floating and sinking, electricity, weather, liquids and solids. We use activities such as ‘my body’ during the ‘special sound b’, ‘a plant’s life’ during the ‘special sound p’ and learning about where the food we eat comes from to support children’s understanding of themselves, their friends, plants and animals.
It is our goal that children understand at an early age to nurture and care for something living and to be proud of doing so.
Shared culture is communicated through daily life events, such as familiar music, foods and the ways we dress. We believe that young children of every culture need to develop a secure and positive sense of their own identity and a positive sense of pride in their family origins as well as respecting and celebrating their differences.
At Bright Little Stars the teaching of Culture and Geography go hand in hand and fit within our holistic learning approach. Each area ties into another and culture is determined as:
- What we know: Where we come from, where a frog lives or how to use a computer
- What we do not yet know: Where our friends come from, a frogs life cycle or how to catch a fish
- What we want to be: A Teacher, a Lawyer, an Astronaut or a Ballerina
There are many ways that cultural differences are taught to young children. By working with hands on materials, stories and through carefully planned activities and a purposeful environment, children develop sensitivity towards:
- Other people
- The environment.
We believe that young children of every culture need to develop a secure and positive sense of their own identity and a positive sense of pride in their family origins as well as respecting and celebrating their differences. By promoting a varied knowledge and understanding of the world through geography we encourage children to investigate the physical and human features of their immediate surroundings and the wider world.
Some examples of the skills children learn are a sense of self, a knowledge of others, observation, questioning, problem-solving, making decisions, predictions, discussion and critical thinking.
Activities involve making and reading simple maps and identifying land and water, looking at similarities and differences of homes, countries and climates, noticing and recording the weather and taking part in local outings to learn about their surroundings.
Children learn on a daily basis to understand themselves, their friends and their environment.
ICT is inclusive of modern interactive LCD computer screens.
The use of ICT in our nurseries makes the Bright Little Stars Learning Programme current and progressive; children are surrounded by ever evolving technology and naturally this becomes a fascination very early on.
In order to focus this interest and promote child centred learning, ICT is embedded in the children’s daily routines and experiences. Our computer based learning programme appeals to the natural direct learning style of young children while building children’s confidence when using touch screen technology.
Children’s basic need for information and the development of communication skills are key to their success in life. We provide opportunities for playing, socialising and learning through the use of ICT; these activities are not solitary or restricted activities therefore children are learning many skills other than just the operation of equipment. Children’s learning around the ‘special sound of the week’ is extended by viewing real life demonstrations, images and footage using the touch screen computers and taking images of real life objects to investigate and share with peers.
Some examples of skills children learn are co-operation and turn taking, investigation and explanation, problem-solving and elaboration and how to role play and imagine.
The development of the child’s whole self is nurtured and these learnt skills are transferable across the curriculum; problem solving is a Mathematical skill, co-operation and explanation support children’s communication, social and Literacy skills and investigation provides a combination of skills needed for early science, communication, understanding and self-confidence.
Resources and activities include; interactive LCD computer screens used for the Ben and Betty Programme, digital recorders and cameras, activity centres, musical keyboards, robots and remote controlled devices, cash registers and interactive books. The essence of ICT is that it is a combination of communication, information and technology.
The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage sets the standards for learning development and care from birth to five. Within the “Understanding the World” area of learning and development there is a specific technology learning goal:
“Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.”
Why we encourage ICT?
- Children are often motivated by using ICT
- ICT creates and extends both play and learning opportunities
- ICT can be the medium for child-initiated, peer guided and adult-led activities
Children will be familiar with using technology when they start school and this aids their transition
Creativity comes naturally to children, therefore, it is necessary for children to be given the time to imagine, explore and experiment with ideas, materials and activities whilst learning about thoughts and feelings during the process.
In Expressive Art and Design, at Bright Little Stars, children are inspired to have vision and to self-express with the aim of forging rich memories of childhood moments and for children to grow to become confident individuals. Children are supported to be creative by encouraging attitudes of curiosity and questioning and are also taught skills and techniques. Children notice everything and closely observe the most ordinary things that adults often take for granted. By building on children’s interests we lead them to create amazing inventions or make marks on paper that represent for them an experience or something they have seen.
Children choose and use materials and resources in an open-ended way, they make choices and have confidence in their own ideas. Retaining childhood confidence in their ideas and skills can easily be lost if others ‘take over’ and try to suggest what the child is making, thinking or doing. At Bright Little Stars practitioners express an interest in the process a child has gone through by asking open questions such as ‘Can you tell me about it? That looks interesting’. This may be all that is required to help a child hold on to their remarkable creativity.
Our holistic Learning Programme approach includes, sensory experiences, music, dance, interactive story-telling and cold cooking, all of which encourage children’s creativity and imagination as they discover the world of colour, sound, texture, shape and form around them.
As Under 5’s are enthused by imaginative play our role play areas are regularly transformed into every day environments. These include café’s, hospitals, construction sites and beauty salons to stimulate the children’s imagination to the full and encourage interaction with other peers. Being Imaginative is a key developmental skill which will enable children to grasp abstract ideas in later learning.
At Bright Little Stars Nursery, we are committed to equipping parents with the knowledge and ideas to support their child’s learning at home as we recognise their important role, being their child’s first and most enduring educator, is crucial in underpinning learning. We are therefore committed to developing our parent partnership in such a way that all children have the advantage of being able to reinforce this learning outside the nursery. We aim to give parents the skills they need to ensure that their children do not miss out on any possible learning opportunities.
The key to successful Home Learning is using ordinary occurrences for purposeful learning. Using the knowledge and experience our Head of Teaching, Qualified Teachers and other Early Years Professionals we have put together suggestions of day-to-day activities in each area of learning and how they can be used to support children’s progress (these can be found on our secure Parent Area of the Bright Little Stars website.)
How we support Home Learning
Bright Little Stars parents with children in the Supernova room are informed, by email, on a weekly basis of what learning took place in the previous week and what is to come in the week ahead. This enables parents to become involved in that learning, for example, encouraging their child to bring in an item beginning with that week’s sound and sharing it with their friends during group activities.
By accessing the Home Learning Tab in the Parent Area, parents have a wealth of ideas to help them further their child’s learning. This includes guidance and resources on teaching phonics and letter formation, maths and number formation. It details opportunities in daily life that provide learning across all seven areas of the EYFS.
We also provide Workshops in ‘Teach Your Child Phonics and Home Learning’, led by our Head of Teaching, which introduce parents to some of the resources used by Bright Little Stars. This gives an overview of the BLS Learning Programme.
Parental involvement has a profound, positive effect on a child’s learning, both at home and in nursery leading into school. With the aforementioned provision, we are enabling our parents to further support their child and give them the best possible preparation for ‘Big School’.
Literacy – ‘write’ a shopping list before you go (this can be mark making to begin with)
Communication and Language – asking questions such as “What shall we buy?”
Maths – counting items into the shopping basket and recognising coins
Physical Development – a discussion on healthy eating and food choices
Personal, Social & Emotional Development – encouraging your child to ask shop personnel where a certain product can be found.
At Bright Little Stars Nursery we offer an exciting range of club activities that play an important part in helping children to develop learning and practical life skills. We employ external agencies, teachers or qualified professionals who add quality towards the development of all our children. In addition, we regularly visit local facilities such as shops, museums, libraries, fire stations, dentists, parks and farms when possible.
We believe all our children should have the same learning opportunities so we are pleased to incorporate club activities as part of our curriculum. They are included in our fees so there is no extra charge to you.
We have a number of different activities, listed below, that we offer as well as special classes for babies. These classes are subject to change at our discretion and may vary at each nursery setting. Some are weather-permitting and/or available during the term-time only. Sometimes, we may rotate the clubs throughout the year to give the children variety and a well-rounded approach.
Baby Sensory and Heuristic Play Programme
The Bright Little Stars Baby Sensory and Heuristic play program features a four-weeks rotation of themed activities to excite and stimulate the children based within our Milky Way Rooms. Each session involves singing, baby sign language and actions, sensory light and bubble shows, floating fabrics, bouncing balloons, role play and exploration of natural interest bags, bottles and boxes to delight our littlest ones.
Challenge Sports & Education
Challenge Sport and Education bridges the widening gap between learning and athletic prowess in an innovative, challenging but age appropriate and fun way!
Computer Based Learning
Our computer based learning programme appeals to the natural direct learning style of young children while building children’s confidence when using touch screen technology. Children learn higher-order skills and work independently and collaboratively with peers to solve problems. Children learn to recognise techniques, processes and key concepts through the repetition of our daily interactive programs.
A class for enjoying music and dancing which equally promotes physical fitness. The children begin the session with a warm-up and end with a cool down. The sessions are themed and each week takes the children on a different adventure which is explored through progressive dance and physical exploration. Themes include: ‘Amazing Animals’ and ‘At the Circus’.
Gymboree classes utilise a unique and exciting blend of music, movement, props and imaginary play. The classes are adapted to meet the growing needs of the children and they create a fun and magical world where children learn, flourish and most importantly have fun.
Our Spanish lessons for children aged 2 to 5 years introduces our little ones to the everyday realities of a different country and their culture. The lessons are structured according to age and differing levels of ability. Each weekly lesson combines fun with exciting games, songs and activities. Certificates are awarded on completion of each programme. Tutors are fully vetted and DBS checked.
Little Supernovas run adventure storytelling classes encouraging babies and children to join in the action and develop dance and drama skills. Their aim is to bring adventure storytelling to children from all backgrounds and provide them with confidence and a chance to develop their communication and creativity skills in a fun environment.
Moo Music is a fun, interactive session where children sing, dance, play and learn. The songs used within the sessions are positive, uplifting, fun and educational and are unique to the Moo Music programme. These sessions support children in gaining confidence and develop memory, language and coordination in an exciting, enjoyable and multi-sensory way.
Rugby Tots is a specifically designed sport programme which is fun and dynamic. Children are taken on an imaginative journey with energy, enthusiasm and excitement, whilst teaching them how to catch, pass, kick and run with a rugby ball and play as part of a team; Rugby Tots provides a fantastic introduction into the game of rugby.
A football inspired training programme for both boys and girls aged 2 years and above. Soccerbears aim to develop children’s ball skills as well as their co-ordination, concentration, fitness levels and encouraging sharing and sportsmanship.
Stretch-n-grow teaches children the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle by creating positive habits at a young age. The wobblers programme caters for children from 18 months to 2.5 years. The main Stretch-n-Grow programme begins at 2.5 years old. As well as taking part in a weekly exercise class, the children are taught about their bodies and the importance of healthy eating.
Super Star Sport
The Super Star Sport curriculum is based around the Early Years Foundation Stage and offers a wide selection of sporting opportunities; children can partake in gymnastics, tennis, basketball, dance, athletics and more. Each sport works on a 6-week programme that enables children to develop a variety of skills each week. All sessions are designed to ensure children’s enjoyment and to support learning and development.
The Bollywood Co
The Bollywood Co provide a fun, educational and unique experience to all our babies and children starting from age 6 months to 5 years. Children are exposed to musical beats and are able to follow instructions to create their very own dance moves to varied music from a Bollywood background. This class stimulates mind and body encouraging our young children to enhance their gross motor skills.
Mini Mites for children from 6 months to 2 years old is specially designed for the very young. Classes focus on using puppets, percussion instruments and babies and toddlers love to shake rattle and roll to the rhythms in these gentle, fun and stimulating classes. Mega Mites for children over three years old are action packed classes covering dance, exercise, imaginary play, numeracy, literacy, team-work, action songs and rhymes along with fun with percussion and musical games.
Tinytalk Baby Signing
Baby signing is a form of pre-verbal communication which helps babies to communicate before they can talk. From as early as 6 months old, babies are beginning to tell us what they are thinking , feeling and want. We have chosen to sign to our babies as it is said to reduce frustration, boost self-esteem and self-confidence which in turn makes happy babies and happy parents.
Wild Fangs is all about an exotic animal encounters specialising in delivering interactive, educational and entertaining talks on the natural world, using live animals. Their key philosophy is ‘education through engagement’ and they believe that children learn better through first hand experiences. They activate prior knowledge, promote excitement through discovery and expose to new information.
Yoga classes for children aged 18 months to 5 years old bring stories to life through specially developed moves inspired by yoga. Combining fun with exercise, children go on wild adventures where they may roar like a lion, fly like a bird or blast into outer space. Balancing postures help children to focus their mind and concentration techniques keep the mind in one place instead of letting it wander.