The Opportunity Centre’s vision is for all children to develop a love of learning through play.
We foster a commitment to valuing differences, building a foundation for all children to develop and cultivate social and emotional independence. We enable learning through our work with families and the wider community.
The curriculum is driven through the principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The Centre is a fully integrated setting with the embedded philosophy that every child can have the same opportunities in a safe and stimulating environment. All children are supported to play, learn, and develop in an inclusive, stimulating way. We celebrate the individual and holistic way that children learn, recognising that every child is unique.
Our planning reflects the uniqueness of each child in its flexible approach. Planning is driven by children’s interests and their individual next steps in learning and development.
Pedagogical approaches fostered throughout the Centre are steeped in strong theoretical studies of best practice in the early years, Every child has a dedicated Key Person to support healthy attachments and planning reflects elements of many Early Years approaches with a strong emphasis on the need to support children in the moment, scaffolding children to develop their learning.
The Gloucestershire Total Communication approach is adopted for all at the heart of all our practice. The Forest School approach is also followed at the Centre with the ethos embedded into weekly forest school sessions.
The Centre’s pedagogy recognises the importance of both child-centred and adult-initiated learning – sometimes space is available for children to invent and extend own play whilst other times practitioners take the lead.
The EYFS sets standards for the learning, development, and care of your child from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted registered Early Years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, pre-schools, nurseries and school reception classes. The EYFS framework supports an integrated approach to early learning and care. It gives all professionals a set of common principles and commitments to deliver quality early education and childcare experiences to all children.
As well as being the core document for all professionals working in the foundation years, the EYFS framework gives parents/carers confidence that regardless of where they choose for their child’s early education, they can be assured that the same statutory commitments and principles will underpin their child’s learning and development experience.
The unique curriculum developed at the Opportunity Centre is embedded in the core principles of the EYFS. The educational programmes are also reflected alongside fundamental British values in Early Years.
While creating the curriculum it is imperative that the ethos of the Centre is fully embedded. The Centre is an inclusive setting where at least 50% of our children have additional needs. Alongside the EYFS, consideration must be given to the Graduated pathway. My plans/My Plan Plus/EHCP also inform the curriculum design.
Within the EYFS, there are 7 defined Areas of Learning:
Three prime areas:
and four Specific Areas of Learning:
Practitioners also adhere to the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – these are clearly defined in the statutory guidelines and represent the different rates at which children develop.
These are broken down into three areas:
The Areas of Learning and Characteristics help to shape our early years curriculum at the Opportunity Centre and we recognise how all elements are interconnected.
Our youngest children will first be supported to develop strong foundations in the Prime areas of learning. It is imperative that a solid foundation is built in these areas so children can use these foundations to develop and extend their existing knowledge, learning more complex skills within the Specific areas.
In each room – Under 2s , Rising 3 and Preschool – the curriculum is based very much on the children’s Next Steps alongside their current interests.
Practitioners observe, plan and make regular assessments to support each child. Observation feeds into planning. Planning does not always take written form; it may be a discussion between staff or planning that has been developed from the children’s play as it is happening.
Communication between practitioners and home will also be key to the success of the curriculum. Home provides the setting with “All about Me” supporting information about the child’s interests. Termly parent meetings are held so that information remains current.
There is adult-directed planning and teaching occurring daily. These activities are developed from a desire to encourage the children to develop and move forward.