At Shotton Primary School the children in our Reception and Nursery classes benefit from a Child Initiated Approach to teaching and learning. This is due to our belief that children learn best through their direct interaction with their environment and the people within it. We believe that children within the Early Years learn best through their own initiated activities , rather than by direct instruction by an adult. They construct their knowledge through the manipulation of concrete materials and the stimulation of their five senses.
Our classrooms are arranged into provision areas to encourage children to make choices. These areas include but are not limited to art, science, mark making, maths, books, sand and water, dramatic play, motor skills, small world, blocks, music and the outdoor learning environment to name but a few. As a result of this our children gain ownership of their learning through their choices within these well thought out classrooms.
In addition to child initiated learning time accounting for the majority of the school day for the children in Nursery and Reception, we also have times of the day when children meet in family/key worker groups. During these times children will have the opportunity to work in larger groups and have some direct teaching to support them gaining new skills, knowledge and understanding which they can then use to enhance their child imitated play.
The Role of the Teacher
The teacher’s role in a child centred learning environment is that of a collaborative learner, facilitator and extender of the children’s learning. The primary role of the teacher is to arrange the learning environment to encourage choices and to allow children to work independently. In addition, the teacher interacts with the children while encouraging problem solving and language experiences through the use of open ended language and questions. The teacher also spends a great deal of time observing the children during their play and can then plan activities that extend the interests of the children. These observations also allow the teacher to assess how well children are progressing against their developmental matter profile targets.