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Pownall Hall School
Pownall Hall School

Early Years at Pownall Hall School

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The majority of our children embark on their learning journey at Pownall when they enter the Early Years. The Early Years is a magical  place to be for our children. Each day is exciting with opportunities for the children to discover a sense of ‘awe and wonder’ in our rich and exciting environment. An Inspector recently described our Early Years as “delightful”.

Nursery

We see our nursery as a family, where we come together to discover the ‘awe and wonder’ in the everyday. The nursery offers a magical ‘Hygge’ inspired environment, bringing in the Danish approach of warmth, simplicity and wellbeing. A calm space filled with cosy nooks, warm textures and interesting objects to engage curiosity and discussion. Our children are comfortable to have fun, explore or just snuggle down when they want to. We plan ‘in the moment’ and follow the children’s lead, joining them in their learning journey. We offer a highly flexible timetable, allowing children to engage in long periods of deep level play. We love to use open-ended, natural resources and ‘loose parts’. These items can be anything the children want them to be and facilitate high levels of engagement, creativity and imagination. 

We love being outside and are extremely fortunate to have direct access to our incredible outdoor area. We spend large amounts of time outside allowing us to connect with nature every day and inspire our future Explorers, Adventurers and Scientists. (We are proud to have formed a collaboration with Sarah Seaman, ‘The Muddy Puddle Teacher’, who invited us to become a ‘Muddy Puddle Flagship School’, flying the flag for excellence in outdoor learning. Sarah said “The nursery boasts one of the best outdoor spaces we have ever seen”.) We embrace the outdoors in all weathers, in order to experience the ‘awe and wonder’ of nature and the natural world. We believe this creates resilient characters who understand that happiness does not hinge on sunshine. 

We are a ‘Community’ and believe wellbeing is key to our provision. Children should experience happiness and other emotions in an ‘emotionally safe’ and nurturing environment – developing self-regulation tools and strong emotional literacy. Our children take part in yoga sessions, which incorporate the core values of traditional yoga and mindfulness. Our philosophy encourages children to develop love, care and respect for the environment and living things – encouraging the ‘green architects’ of the future. Our guinea pigs, Mickey and Caramel, provide opportunities for teaching the children about caring for something that is not able to care for itself, being gentle and understanding boundaries such as how best to handle the animals. 

Kindergarten

We are so proud of the balance and variety of activities that we are able to offer to our Kindergarten class through our flexible timetable. The children are excited and curious to take on new experiences and challenges, which in turn will allow them to make informed decisions about their likes and interests. 

We offer an environment that caters for the children’s need to explore independently and take on their own risks and challenges, but we are also able to provide focused learning and opportunities where we can deliver new information. We teach and learn in a combination of ways and each day is different, based on the children’s interests and what is happening in the world around us. Each member of staff in our Kindergarten class is able to get to know every child well, by being given the opportunity to spend valuable time to play and explore together. We firmly believe that our children will learn best in an environment where they can firstly and most importantly feel safe and happy.

Reception

We have two Reception classes which are well resourced with a reading area, role play, creative, maths area as well as space for focused teaching. There is a strong emphasis on the key skills of mathematics and literacy with phonics being taught daily. We recognise that children learn best when they are actively engaged so our planning is flexible to meet the needs and interests of the children. The children have specialist lessons in PE, Music and French. Throughout the year we will continue to observe and monitor the children’s progress to plan for their next steps in learning.

We love to be outside and we are extremely fortunate for each class to have their own outdoor area and we have beautiful grounds to explore. The children have regular Forest School lessons where they have the opportunity to connect with nature and develop their self-esteem, independence as well as developing their social and physical skills.

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