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  • About Us

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    When staff and parents sign up to Fernhurst Court, they are signing up to a complex set of beliefs. Here we describe those beliefs and where we feel our role is in the big picture of childhood education.

    The Government’s Role, The Early Years Foundation Stage and Fernhurst Court’s Role:

    We believe the government’s role is to set and continuously improve standards in the childcare sector. We believe that the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ documentation is a step in the right direction. We fully support this document and use it as a basis for present and all future planning for our children.

    We believe Fernhurst Court’s role to be much deeper and wider than this since:

    (a) We cannot wait to deliver quality we must do it now and with this in mind we work to a variety of recognised quality standards whilst waiting for the government to give us a central ‘British Standard’.

    (b) We are a neighbourhood nursery, this has implications as to the way the nursery is operated, for example:

    Where practicable we recruit staff from the local neighbourhood

    Where practicable local children have ‘first call’ on our services

    We try hard to help our families gain access to funds to support their child care costs

    (c) We cannot ignore the many wider issues such as safety in settings, healthcare, etc., where we feel there is a need for tighter standards. Thus, for example, we use finger-guard on all our doors even though these have not yet been adopted as standard fair for all nurseries.

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    The Parental Role and Fernhurst Court’s Role:

    We believe that parents are prime motivators of the child.

    Because of this we believe that the parent is not only the prime carer but also the prime educator and as such should be well informed of the current level of ability of their child in each area of learning. We believe that we are here to help parents educate their child – we cannot be a substitute. We communicate a child’s progress via our learning journals, parent evenings and via continuous dialogue (on a daily basis) between parent and staff, including key persons.

    Equally the parent(s) should be listened to, they know much more about their child than we do.

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    The Parent, the Key Person and Fernhurst Court:

    We believe that it is not possible to run a large nursery without the use of a key person system. The key person system ensures that children do not become numbers and that problems are isolated early on. It also helps parents (and staff) keep abreast of how their child is progressing. The system also allows the key person to report to the rest of the staff any problems or difficulties certain children may be having.

    Conversely we believe that if parents or staff notice problems (if the child is sickly for example) their first port of call at the nursery should be the child’s key person. We believe that parents should keep their child’s key person informed of any major changes in their lives, as working in partnership will benefit the child overall.

    We also believe that the key person must have as much contact time with their key children as the planning of the nursery can allow, how else can they know them.

    A child’s key person may change over the time they spend at Fernhurst Court as they move up to the next age group. However, staff are encouraged to work closely with colleagues to pass on knowledge of children’s individual abilities and development when the transition takes place.

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    Children As Individuals … SEN, Equal Opportunities, Cultural Diversity and The Differentiated Curriculum:

    We believe in children as individuals … this is such an obvious statement that one could be forgiven for thinking ‘why say it?’ … We say it because this has significant repercussions for children at Fernhurst Court:

    For Example: Some children may have special educational needs. In the early years we may well be discovering this as their time at Fernhurst Court progresses. Fernhurst Court employs a SENCO – a special educational needs co-ordinator to ensure that we do our best for any child within this area.

     Another Example: Wherever possible we ensure that ALL children have equal opportunities to do all activities within Fernhurst Court – we have wheelchair access to both downstairs and upstairs rooms and our main stairwell has been designed for ambulant disabled children.

     Another Example: We believe that children’s cultural inheritance is of profound importance, their beliefs and their religion(s) are all respected. When and where appropriate a wide selection of cultural activities takes place during the year. We believe that opportunities to promote multicultural diversity exist at many levels such as: Food Asian food, Chinese food, Italian food, etc. Dressing Up: a variety of cultural clothes are available. Literature, etc., etc.

     Another Example: We have a large spread of ages and abilities within the nursery. Not only do the activities need to be age appropriate but also within each set age range activities must be structured to cope with differing abilities. Fernhurst Court believes that this is an essential element in ensuring that all the children that attend Fernhurst Court gain the maximum from their stay. To this end we have separate areas for babies (0 to 1yr), toddlers (1 to 2yrs) and we separate the 2-3 year old children from the 3-4 year old children when doing most activities.

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    Growing Up – The Early Years:

    We believe early childhood should be full of:

    Love and affection – you will find that we hug the children in our nursery; we do not stand off or keep some remote distance from the children.

    Play – you will find that in each session there is time for play, in fact our whole ethos is based around play; we do not however restrict ourselves to play only (see other text).

    Fun – we believe that the early years need to be fun years, we all have enough of the more serious matters as we get older – we leave as much of these as possible for when we are older.

    Fresh Air – we believe in fresh air, we play out every day (weather permitting) and in summer we have group activities outside also – our only restrictions to being outside are health ones: is it too hot? Is it too cold? Is it too wet or slippy? Is there any work being done in the gardens we have to avoid; etc.

    Discovery – in the early years there is so much to learn and discover. We believe that we are there to aid in this area. We believe that we should resource well to ensure that our children are able to discover things in a broad range of activities.

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     Child Choice and Adult Control:

    We believe a child should have the ability to choose what he/she does during the day BUT not at the expense of their learning. To this end we lay out rooms with lots of choice but with defined learning goals in mind.

    An Example: we believe that children should be allowed to choose what they would like to do – but we also believe that there has to be guidance from adults to ensure that the child is “learning appropriately” from the activities they are choosing. A child may choose to play with a train set all day because s/he feels comfortable with this activity and/or more probably that s/he is afraid of trying other activities in case of failure. On noticing this it is appropriate (nay essential) for the adult to guide the child to another activity, staying with the child to ensure that s/he does not fail in this new activity.

     Another Example: a child may choose to climb on tables and equipment that are not meant to be climbed on, this inability to know what is acceptable behaviour is quite common in the early years. We believe that children should not behave inappropriately, we equally believe the child does not need admonishing – s/he simply needs guidance and an explanation of what is and what is not acceptable behaviour – then the child needs to be lead to an appropriate activity.

     We believe that adults should ‘play’ with children in order to enhance the child’s learning experience, not just to ask: how many, what colour, what shape, etc. but to introduce new vocabulary, suggest different ways of doing things, show surprise/approval and excitement about the children’s own ideas, etc.

     We also believe in encouraging child independence, for example toileting themselves, knowing where their own coat hook and pigeonhole are. Where possible and practicable to put their own artworks away, to tidy up after play, to hand out drinks and collect cups at break times. In fact to do as much for themselves as possible and be proud of it.

    Adult Choice –v- Child Choice:

    Besides children having choice, the adults choose to do things also – this means that sometimes the children don’t have the choice of what they do as their main focused activity in that particular session, but the way in which rooms are set out for continuous provision means that they have other options available to them. For example the home corner, the quiet area, construction mat etc…

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    Play Curriculum, Rote Learning and The Worksheet Ethic:

    We believe that a nursery should be biased strongly to the “Play Curriculum”, in layperson’s terms: children do their best learning through play. BUT we also believe that there are times children need to sit down and practice skills that are nothing to do with play. Some practitioners & theorists would have us throw away everything that is not play – we will not do this – we believe they are wrong!

    For Example: we believe that children should practice holding their pencil correctly at all times – we believe this because if a child learns to hold the pencil incorrectly in the early years it sometimes cannot be corrected later. Even if correctable it can sometimes take a great deal of hard work to undo the harm done. We believe this so strongly that you will only find three sided pencils in the nursery.

    We do a great deal of this learning during normal play activities and by providing children with opportunities, enthusiasm and encouragement, in a print and number rich environment to explore letters, words, language and number.

     Another Example: we believe there is room for (a small amount of) rote learning – at carpet time we learn the days of the week through rote learning – there are other areas where we use rote learning – especially in number work. We do not believe that rote learning is a substitute for experience and discovery BUT we do believe it supports these better methods of learning so we will not abandon it.

    We believe that children should spend a reasonable amount of time (both a.m. and p.m.) doing structured activities which are practitioner led. We believe these activities encourage children to work individually and as a group, to learn how to follow and carry out instruction and to learn social skills (for example: to sit down when needed, to listen when needed, etc.).

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    The Three R’s and a Balanced Curriculum:

    We believe there should be a slight bias towards “the three R’s” in our teachings, but there is no substitute for a well-balanced approach to education. Again, in layperson’s terms: “a bit of everything” rather than too much or too little of any one thing is good.

    In nearly all of the activities we do there are elements of the Three R’s.

    I want to!

    We believe, for best results, you need to create a want in each child. A want to read. A want to write. A want to count etc. We do this in many ways; it is the basis of how we work.