What do we aim to do?

Teaching and learning at Crocodoodle is individual. We believe every child is unique, capable, competent and creative. Our role as educators is to facilitate and encourage each child on their journey of independent learning and discovery and to nurture in them a curiosity about and a passion for lifelong learning.

How do we do this?

We start with the child and their family. We understand that we need to get to know the child and their family as well as possible, as quickly as possible. We do this through: initial visits to pre-school, settling in sessions, all about me forms, discussions with parents and carers (and other agencies where applicable) and home visits. Through interaction with and observation of the child in our environment as they begin to explore their interests and build relationships within the setting, as well as an on-going relationship with the child and their family throughout their time with us. We aim to build upon a child’s strengths, abilities and fascinations by using their schemas, interests, the characteristics of effective learning, positive relationships and by adapting our environment to meet the needs of the children at all times.

The role of Crocodoodle’s staff is to scaffold learning, to be good role models as learners, thinkers and communicators, to question and develop thinking and ideas and to facilitate children’s ideas by providing resources and equipment to enable them to fulfil their plans and explorations. Adults also present new learning opportunities to the children in ways that will appeal to them individually and in small or large groups. The children are always given plenty of time and space to pursue their interests and personal learning preferences. Adult led activities are balanced with these child initiated activities and are carefully planned to equip the children with the necessary skills to further their ideas and meet their own goals.

We place utmost importance on the Prime areas of learning and development (Personal and Social Education, Communication and Language and Physical Development). Our initial focus at the beginning of the year, or as soon as a child joins us, is on the personal, social, emotional and communication skills needed to work together with the children and adults in our group. We continually and consistently promote positive behaviour, develop understanding of a child’s own emotions and those of others and promote independence, confidence and self esteem in all our daily routines, activities and interactions.

Our activities are designed to be process led, open ended, creative and expressive for all children, allowing them the possibility of a high degree of individuality. We use real life examples as much as possible including visits (regular forest and beach Crocodoodle sessions) visitors, real life resources, tools and good quality materials and equipment. We understand that the learning to be obtained from first hand experiences is the best opportunity for developing understanding, making cognitive links and facilitating future learning.

Observation, Planning and Assessment

"Assessment should not entail prolonged breaks from interaction with children, nor require excessive paperwork. Paperwork should be limited to that which is absolutely necessary to promote children's successful learning and development." EYFS Statutory Framework Sept 2014 p13

All Pre-School staff undertake continual, formative observations in all interactions with all children at all times. These observations are acted upon, in the moment, for each child/group of children and are recorded on weekly planning sheets, where relevant. This information is used to inform planning for future sessions on a sessional, daily or weekly basis. We realise that the most impact we can have on the children is when we are working with them and have put a great deal of effort into devising a system of paperwork that is productive, supports the learning journey of the individual child and does not require adults to spend large amounts of time away from the children. Written, formative assessments are made in the case of a significant step in learning and/or development (ie for WOW moments). Parents are encouraged to record any of these noticed at home so that we can celebrate achievements outside the setting and add to learning journals to help build up a picture of the whole child.

Summative assessments are conducted for every child every half term. These are completed mainly by key persons but are rigorously monitored by managers and during whole staff team meetings. “Next Steps” are set depending on individual or group requirements and are discussed both with parents and as a staff team to ensure personal interests, learning styles and needs of children are understood by all adults and are continually and frequently addressed.

Any children needing extra support at any time (for any reason eg Special Educational Needs, health reasons, a child lacking confidence in a particular area…) are identified quickly and will immediately be focussed upon for a specific period of time, by all Pre-School staff. (Focus child system) This method ensures all children needing extra support receive this quickly and consistently from every adult in every session that they attend. Thereby, ensuring specific, targeted intervention and rapid progress for these children.

Managers set termly Pre-School development targets dependent upon summative assessments using a gap and strength analysis. This determines specific areas of focussed improvement within the pre-school: budgeting for resources and equipment, staff training, staff deployment and business development.