Over the past few weeks, our two-year-olds have settled into life as part of our new Little Lambs Nursery. I am sure that many of our parents remember, with great fondness, those days when their Year 6 child was toddling down the path for their first day at SVPS. I certainly remember all of the children and it is a joy to see them developing such confidence as they grow and move through the School.
Early Years education underpins our pupils’ educational foundations for the rest of their lives. For our two-year-olds, the focus is on personal and social development, physical development, and communication and language development. These three skills ensure that the children are walking, talking, toileting, eating and making friends. These are all things that we do each day without thinking, but for a two-year-old, they mark the beginning of a journey towards independence that will continue as they move through the School.
Communication and language development is a rather complex area for our youngest children to grasp. There is not just the spoken word to learn, but also the non-verbal cues, the little nuances of our English language and phrases that just sometimes do not make sense to a little person. The children in Nursery and Pre-Prep are given lots of opportunities to experience and explore a language-rich environment. The staff take time to listen and let children express themselves. Teaching children to stop and think about things, to be inquisitive and ask questions is a fundamental part of this process.
This is a journey that continues right through the School. Children in the Prep department continue to have the opportunity to learn and use new vocabulary, to communicate clearly, both in their writing and through classroom discussions. Communication is a key skill in all walks of life, from emails and letters to public speaking and working together on the sports field. In order for our children to develop these skills, we must ensure that we model the way in which we want to be communicated with, and a big part of this is leaving space to listen. Learning to give others space to express themselves is not always an easy thing to do, but we will continue to encourage this, both through instruction and through demonstration.
Clear communication is also vital between home and School, particularly at this time when there are fewer opportunities for an impromptu chat at the classroom door. With Parents’ Evening fast approaching for our Pre-Prep, Year 3 and Year 4 pupils, this will be a good opportunity for us, as staff and parents, to reflect on how the children have settled back into the routines of School life, as well as sharing some of their successes and targets. As ever, we do encourage parents to keep lines of communication open, should there be any issues. After all, School always works best when we work together for the benefit of the children in our care.