Inspiring Curious Minds is What We Do Best!

In this fast moving world of technology and robotics, traditional careers are changing. How much has changed in the job world over the past 20 years with manufacturing, financial and retail automation. The future of our children will be dependent upon their ability to invent and accept new ways of doing and making things. So our aim is to create the ‘thinkers and doers of the future’.

Recognising Letters and Words

Linking Written and Spoken Language

Visualising and Imagining

Calm Area for Books

Both inside and outside the Book Nooks are used for quiet looking/reading either individually or groups as appropriate .   Children choose from a broad range of fiction and non-fiction media including some which relevant to what the children are learning ie when hatching caterpillars – Very Hungry Caterpillar, a walk in the woods – The Gruffalo.  The indoor space is also used for group songtimes, rhyming and rhythmic activities.  Storysacks contain everything for the children to reenact stories, retelling the story or making up their own using costumes and props.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.

Einstein

Home Corner

Using authentic, homely resources encourages children to role play in familiar, cosy surroundings.  Making cups of tea using real teabags they  measure and pour, playing co-operatively. Modelled careful use of kitchen utensils practises controlled handling of tools – two and single handed.

“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”

Eleanor Roosevelt
Home Corner at Potley Hill Preschool

Uninhibited Play

Demonstrating Cause & Effect

Learning Consequences

The Joys of Mud and Sand

Connecting to the environment

Expressing creatively

Exploring natural materials

Oh the joys of mud and sand!

Mixing soil or sand, water and loose parts to make mud pie/sand castles, digging for worms, making streams and dams creates joyful experiences. Social skills flourish with cooperation, negotiation, communication and sharing as children work together.  Emergent maths and science skills develop as they compare before and after, test theories and measure or count ingredients.  Mud can be an art medium – easily moulded like playdough but producing a different sensory experience when squidged between the toes or poked with a finger.  Children are able to freely create, without fear of making mistakes, promoting an inner sense of competency.  Playing with mud and sand stimulates the immune system, creates happy memories and produces endorphins – reducing vulnerability to depression in later life.

Playdough

Malleable fun for investigation and exploration, building up strength in hand tendons and muscles making them ready for scissor control.  Squashing, squeezing, rolling, flattening,  chopping, scoring, poking and extruding all uses fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and concentration.  As loose parts are included, experiences and benefits continue to grow.   Objects from nature with different textures and shapes add to the multisensory experience and a plethora of mathematical opportunities emerge to sort, compare and estimate lengths, weights and lump sizes.   The scientific process of making playdough involves questioning and prediction skills; observing with fascination, the changing state of unrelated ingredients as they form a ball of dough.

Playdough at Potley Hill Preschool

Therapeutic stress relief

Experimenting & discovering

Creating masterpieces

Dress Up at Potley Hill Preschool

Extending imagination

Playing collaboratively

Independent dressing

Dress Up

Just the process of donning costumes practises the key manipulation skills required for buttons, velco, zips and buckles.  Adding props and backdrop creates a fantasy world of dreams, hopes and imagination, with permission to be something or someone different.   Children determine what their characters will do and say and how to react to evolving situations.   Freely expressing imagination develops storytelling, collaboration and productive social interactions.

When you’re curious you find lots of interesting things to do”

Walt Disney

Loose Parts

The opposite of toys (which are designed with specific purpose in mind), loose parts know no such restriction.  They have no set instruction, can be combined, moved, taken apart, redesigned, lined up, stacked….– the only boundary being that of the imagination.   Loose parts can be natural or synthetic, small or large; anything from boxes, to pine cones, Scrabble letters to marbles.   Play isn’t directed and evolves in amazing ways – becoming increasingly purposeful as children start to plan what to act out or invent.  Corks or drainpipes – a healthy imagination finds uses for them all.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Albert Einstein
Loose parts

Open ended play

Creative inventing

Mixing and matching

Fine motor skills

On-task concentration

Keeping safe

Construction

The creation of abstract entities, develops problem solving skills, encourages thinking outside the box, decision making and flexibility, basic geometry, spatial awareness and collaboration.  Encouraged using natural and authentic materials:  tubes, blocks, planks, tyres, crates and boxes a whole new environment and community can be built.  Tinkering and experimenting, exploring cause and effect and hypothesising all develop children’s innate curiosity.  The Wood Shack is where real tools and real wood are used to create masterpieces of carpentry.   Noticeably children who normally will not persevere at a task will work longer at woodwork, realising that it is something not only truly challenging but is producing something ‘real’ – the process is more important than the product.  Children are guided to keep themselves and others safe – learning to treat tools with care and respect.

Small World

Playing with dinosaurs, cars, trains, animals, figures, fairy gardens and model houses all helps build language skills, vocabulary and understanding.  In groups or independently, civilisations and fantasy worlds can be created in familiar, safe surroundings with high levels of collaboration and interaction.  Children communicate knowledge about life and the world around them, acting out stories and different scenarios.  Emotions can be explored and worries or concerns expressed through a character, doll or animal.

“Curiosity is the spark behind the spark of every great idea. The future belongs to the curious.”

Unknown

Active Learning

and

Imitation

Writing area at Potley Hill Preschool

Hand eye coordination

Linking literacy to the real world

Communicating ideas

Writing Area

Exposure to examples of handwriting and printed text increases awareness of language and literacy by linking the spoken to the written word.  From basic mark making using paper, pens, pencils and envelopes in this area (we visit the local postbox too), to using an old typewriter (great to show cause and effect), children explore writing and it’s function at their own level.

Wisdom begins in wonder.”

Socrates

Water Play

The intriguing properties of water ignite curiosity as the children transport, pour, splash, stir, squirt and explore flow, displacement and floatation.   Playing with water incorporates imagination, problem solving and hand eye coordination.  Playing together develops language and social skills with questioning, collaborating and experimenting.

“Play is the highest form of research.”

Albert Einstein
Water Play

Solitary or cooperative play

Critical thinking

Facts and concepts

Eco Garden

Active Learning

Connecting with nature

Learning about life cycles

Eco Garden

In collaboration with Hart Biodiversity, our eco garden provides habitats to attract bugs and insects, encouraging  appreciation of nature and the environment.  Tadpoles thrive in our pond, turning into frogs – showing the cycle of life along with our caterpillars and butterflies that love the buddleia trees and wildflower meadow.  Fruit and vegetable peelings from our snack buffet are composted to help grow our own fruit and vegetables.

“Curiosity is the engine of achievement.”

Ken Robinson

Outdoor Learning

Pick up the backpack and go for a walk. Our extensive campus is our playground – we are always discovering something new, tree stumps alive with insects, birds nests with eggshells, trees to climb.   We can practise crossing roads walking safely, do tree bark rubbings, explore beneath rocks and leaf piles.  We run, jump, roll down hills and make as much noise as we like.  Making noise actually relaxes us and helps reduce stress and anxiety.  We discuss discoveries, question and form hypotheses.

Outdoor learning

Exploring the environment

Curiosity & discovery

Encourage inquisitive minds

Actions and consequences

Thinkers and Doers of the Future

How it works

Technology

Around the setting are authentic resources encouraging children to push, pull, twist, lift, turn and see or evaluate the consequences of their actions, from coffee grinding to spong mincing playdough.  Solar power is explored with a solar fountain and children can practise photographic skills with cameras which can download pictures and videos to the computer.

Community

Being part of a community gives children a sense of belonging and stability.  We are lucky that on the campus we have access to other groups in our community and we take every opportunity to take advantage of this.  We visit the primary school to see their Christmas production, children visit the College library to hear stories read by older children and borrow books, and at Frogmore Day Centre we have intergenerational play with our senior friends who really enjoy playing and talking to our children.  We invite people into the setting too with Mums In, Lads In, Grandparents In for playdates and tea parties and a variety of people who help in the community like the fire service, police, lollipop lady and a representative from Hart Foodbank visits to take delivery of our Harvest Festival collection.

Respect for others

Social interactions

Sense of belonging

Inspiring Curious Minds is What We Do Best!

Recognising Letters and Words

Linking Written and Spoken Language

Visualising and Imagining

Calm Area for Books

Both inside and outside the Book Nooks are used for quiet looking/reading either individually or groups as appropriate .   Children choose from a broad range of fiction and non-fiction media including some which relevant to what the children are learning ie when hatching caterpillars – Very Hungry Caterpillar, a walk in the woods – The Gruffalo.  The indoor space is also used for group songtimes, rhyming and rhythmic activities.  Storysacks contain everything for the children to reenact stories, retelling the story or making up their own using costumes and props.

Home Corner at Potley Hill Preschool

Uninhibited Play

Demonstrating Cause & Effect

Learning Consequences

Home Corner

Using authentic, homely resources encourages children to role play in familiar, cosy surroundings.  Making cups of tea using real teabags they  measure and pour, playing co-operatively. Modelled careful use of kitchen utensils practises controlled handling of tools – two and single handed.

The Joys of Mud and Sand

Connecting to the environment

Expressing creatively

Exploring natural materials

Oh the joys of mud and sand!

Mixing soil or sand, water and loose parts to make mud pie/sand castles, digging for worms, making streams and dams creates joyful experiences. Social skills flourish with cooperation, negotiation, communication and sharing as children work together.  Emergent maths and science skills develop as they compare before and after, test theories and measure or count ingredients.  Mud can be an art medium – easily moulded like playdough but producing a different sensory experience when squidged between the toes or poked with a finger.  Children are able to freely create, without fear of making mistakes, promoting an inner sense of competency.  Playing with mud and sand stimulates the immune system, creates happy memories and produces endorphins – reducing vulnerability to depression in later life.

Playdough at Potley Hill Preschool

Therapeutic stress relief

Experimenting & discovering

Creating masterpieces

Playdough

Malleable fun for investigation and exploration, building up strength in hand tendons and muscles making them ready for scissor control.  Squashing, squeezing, rolling, flattening,  chopping, scoring, poking and extruding all uses fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and concentration.  As loose parts are included, experiences and benefits continue to grow.   Objects from nature with different textures and shapes add to the multisensory experience and a plethora of mathematical opportunities emerge to sort, compare and estimate lengths, weights and lump sizes.   The scientific process of making playdough involves questioning and prediction skills; observing with fascination, the changing state of unrelated ingredients as they form a ball of dough.

Dress Up at Potley Hill Preschool

Extending imagination

Playing collaboratively

Independent dressing

Dress Up

Just the process of donning costumes practises the key manipulation skills required for buttons, velco, zips and buckles.  Adding props and backdrop creates a fantasy world of dreams, hopes and imagination, with permission to be something or someone different.   Children determine what their characters will do and say and how to react to evolving situations.   Freely expressing imagination develops storytelling, collaboration and productive social interactions.

Loose parts

Open ended play

Creative inventing

Mixing and matching

Loose Parts

The opposite of toys (which are designed with specific purpose in mind), loose parts know no such restriction.  They have no set instruction, can be combined, moved, taken apart, redesigned, lined up, stacked….– the only boundary being that of the imagination.   Loose parts can be natural or synthetic, small or large; anything from boxes, to pine cones, Scrabble letters to marbles.   Play isn’t directed and evolves in amazing ways – becoming increasingly purposeful as children start to plan what to act out or invent.  Corks or drainpipes – a healthy imagination finds uses for them all.

Fine motor skills

On-task concentration

Keeping safe

Construction

The creation of abstract entities, develops problem solving skills, encourages thinking outside the box, decision making and flexibility, basic geometry, spatial awareness and collaboration.  Encouraged using natural and authentic materials:  tubes, blocks, planks, tyres, crates and boxes a whole new environment and community can be built.  Tinkering and experimenting, exploring cause and effect and hypothesising all develop children’s innate curiosity.  The Wood Shack is where real tools and real wood are used to create masterpieces of carpentry.   Noticeably children who normally will not persevere at a task will work longer at woodwork, realising that it is something not only truly challenging but is producing something ‘real’ – the process is more important than the product.  Children are guided to keep themselves and others safe – learning to treat tools with care and respect.

Active Learning

and

Imitation

Small World

Playing with dinosaurs, cars, trains, animals, figures, fairy gardens and model houses all helps build language skills, vocabulary and understanding.  In groups or independently, civilisations and fantasy worlds can be created in familiar, safe surroundings with high levels of collaboration and interaction.  Children communicate knowledge about life and the world around them, acting out stories and different scenarios.  Emotions can be explored and worries or concerns expressed through a character, doll or animal.

Writing area at Potley Hill Preschool

Hand eye coordination

Linking literacy to the real world

Communicating ideas

Writing Area

Exposure to examples of handwriting and printed text increases awareness of language and literacy by linking the spoken to the written word.  From basic mark making using paper, pens, pencils and envelopes in this area (we visit the local postbox too), to using an old typewriter (great to show cause and effect), children explore writing and it’s function at their own level.

Water Play

Solitary or cooperative play

Critical thinking

Facts and concepts

Water Play

The intriguing properties of water ignite curiosity as the children transport, pour, splash, stir, squirt and explore flow, displacement and floatation.   Playing with water incorporates imagination, problem solving and hand eye coordination.  Playing together develops language and social skills with questioning, collaborating and experimenting.

Eco Garden

Active Learning

Connecting with nature

Learning about life cycles

Eco Garden

In collaboration with Hart Biodiversity, our eco garden provides habitats to attract bugs and insects, encouraging  appreciation of nature and the environment.  Tadpoles thrive in our pond, turning into frogs – showing the cycle of life along with our caterpillars and butterflies that love the buddleia trees and wildflower meadow.  Fruit and vegetable peelings from our snack buffet are composted to help grow our own fruit and vegetables.

Outdoor learning

Exploring the environment

Curiosity & discovery

Encourage inquisitive minds

Outdoor Learning

Pick up the backpack and go for a walk. Our extensive campus is our playground – we are always discovering something new, tree stumps alive with insects, birds nests with eggshells, trees to climb.   We can practise crossing roads walking safely, do tree bark rubbings, explore beneath rocks and leaf piles.  We run, jump, roll down hills and make as much noise as we like.  Making noise actually relaxes us and helps reduce stress and anxiety.  We discuss discoveries, question and form hypotheses.

Respect for others

Social interactions

Sense of belonging

Community

Being part of a community gives children a sense of belonging and stability.  We are lucky that on the campus we have access to other groups in our community and we take every opportunity to take advantage of this.  We visit the primary school to see their Christmas production, children visit the College library to hear stories read by older children and borrow books, and at Frogmore Day Centre we have intergenerational play with our senior friends who really enjoy playing and talking to our children.  We invite people into the setting too with Mums In, Lads In Grandparents In for playdates and tea parties and a variety of people who help in the community like the fire service, police, lollipop lady and a representative from Hart Foodbank visits to take delivery of our Harvest Festival collection.

Actions and consequences

Thinkers and Doers of the Future

How it works

Technology

Around the setting are authentic resources encouraging children to push, pull, twist, lift, turn and see or evaluate the consequences of their actions, from coffee grinding to spong mincing playdough.  Solar power is explored with a solar fountain and children can practise photographic skills with cameras which can download pictures and videos to the computer.