Do your Early Years classrooms truly reflect your vision for learning? Have they come together by accident or been carefully planned to offer rich, meaningful and joyful experiences for young children?
Here, Liz Marden, founder and CEO of Early Excellence, takes a look at a few things to help you reflect on your environments, and shares the impact story from Stockport Grammar School.
Securing the development and progression of skills
As well as encouraging children’s independence and nurturing a wide range of learning behaviours, a well-planned and carefully resourced environment supports the acquisition, development and progression of knowledge and skills – promoting mastery learning.
By creating spaces that are appealing, continually available and familiar to young children, you support deeper levels of learning as children return to, repeat and extend their ideas over time.
And when each resource is chosen to not only connect with children’s interests and their natural curiosity to investigate, but also with its curriculum purpose in mind, we ensure that what is made available to children in continuous provision supports learning across the curriculum.
Offering core learning experiences
Planning these core learning experiences is essential and best not left to chance.
The intelligent classroom provides a blend of teaching and learning strategies with continuous provision used to empower children to learn through hands-on experiences on their own, with their peers and with supportive, skillful adults.
Alongside continuous provision, using enhancements to focus on particular aspects of learning brings new and exciting opportunities to enrich language, deepen understanding and embed prior learning in new and diverse contexts.
And, of course, directed activities (both small group and whole class) are vital for teaching key concepts and helping children to practice skills.
If we consider the words of Julie Fisher, then we truly have the opportunity to create classrooms that truly support young learners:
“The quality of learning is stimulated, supported and provoked by the quality of the environment in which young learners are being educated.”
Case study: inspirational learning with Stockport Grammar School
By Catherine Hampson, EYFS co-ordinator, Stockport Grammar School
The whole process to refurbish our indoor learning environment in partnership with Early Excellence worked really well from start to finish.
We worked with one of their experienced consultants to work out how to use the space and we were really impressed with the innovative ideas we achieved to maximise space and the use of shelving to create cosy corners.
Once the classroom was set up, we saw immediate benefits and impact. The children are calm and settled and they fully engage with the resources. It is definitely “their” classroom and “their” resources!
The cosy corners make the children feel safe and secure and play and talk evolves quickly throughout the day.
We are thrilled to see deeper levels of learning and a clear impact on children’s progress and their levels of development.
Our parents are incredibly impressed with the environment, which looks so inviting and welcoming but also purposeful and with appropriate challenge. They often comment that they want to stay, play and learn too.
The Early Excellence environment has not only transformed our provision but also helped to deepen our understanding and develop our practice.”
Contact Early Excellence for advice and support
To get help in developing your practice and provision, talk to one of Early Excellence‘s curriculum consultants.
Call 01422 311314 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.