Learning through play
A typical day at Happy Hearts
At Happy Hearts Nursery we maintain the highest standards throughout a child’s learning journey by following the Early Years Foundation Stage complemented with aspects of the Montessori Method. In practice, this means encouraging self-directed activities, guided creative choices and collaborative play, to help develop independent learning that allows us to offer children a broad and well-rounded education.
Alongside Literacy and Numeracy, morning sessions usually include daily circle times, science, art, craft and cooking. There are also weekly music, dance, tennis and French classes, as well as monthly Forest School sessions, all of which are taught by specialist teachers.
In the afternoons, the children enjoy sports, such as football with Little Kickers, Yoga and Fitness Friday. These are normally combined with activities such as, drama, science, gardening, Art Attack! and Modelling Club, together with trips to the park and library.
Our high staff/child ratio means that each child is given as much individual attention as they need, in order that they can thrive; feel happy and reach their full potential. We practice purposeful planning and have consistent systems and measures, through which we report your child’s progress.
Weather permitting, we take the children to Holland Park on a daily basis. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the space, use outdoor equipment and continue our discovery about the natural world. Trained Forest School teachers help the children learn from the natural surroundings, while guiding their developing knowledge of how we respect the environment.
We encourage our children to explore their passions and pursue a wide range of interests. Children can participate in a range of activities such as Tennis, French, Cooking, Forest School, Dance and Music.
School Trips and Events
We give the children the opportunity to participate in a wide programme of carefully planned special events and trips. Recent trips include Dean City Farm, The Chelsea Physic Garden, The Wetland Centre, Battersea Zoo, The Science Museum, Buckingham Palace and The National History Museum. Trips ‘out in the world’ are always meticulously organised so that every child feels safe and secure, and able to enjoy participating in an exciting event.
In fostering children’s understanding of the world around them, we also invite skilled professionals as community guests for an “in-house field trip” where they talk to the children about their expertise or experience(s) on certain topics we might be engaging with at that given time. Previous guests included an animal entertainer, The Little House of Science, representatives from the fire brigade, local police officers, and dentists, to name but a few.
Happy Hearts annual events include Sports Day, the Christmas concert, a visit from Father Christmas, an Easter Bonnet Parade, a Halloween party and a Summer Concert at the end of the year where we say goodbye to the Graduating classes. We also take part in various fundraising and charity events throughout the year.
The Early Years Foundation Curriculum
The curriculum at Happy Hearts focuses on elements of the philosophy and practices of Montessori teaching and combines this pioneering child-centred education with the Early Years Foundation Stage. The Early Years Foundation Stage is made up of seven areas of learning:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
We know that every child is different to the next. Some children are naturally more confident and forthcoming than others. But occasionally, they’re not - children change and their needs fluctuate. Our teacher/child ratio means that we really get to know your child, so that we can be more finely attuned to supporting their emotional wellbeing, learning and development. We help them to work with others and take part in new activities in a way that makes them feel assured and empowered. Children learn best by doing, and in fostering self-motivated learning, we facilitate their development as confident, successful individuals capable of interacting effectively and exercising respect and compassionate consideration for themselves and others.
Communication and Language
Children gain confidence from being able to communicate. Speaking and listening are skills to be learned, like everything else. At Happy Hearts, we provide continuing opportunities for children to express themselves and develop their confidence in all aspects of communication. For children who speak English as an additional language, they will receive support and encouragement at every stage, while they master the English language.
We guide the children to develop an understanding of the importance of physical activity and making healthy food and lifestyle choices for themselves. We explore fine and gross motor skills through fun activities and implement lots of opportunities for children to develop and improve physical co-ordination. We have daily outdoor activities, and the children can enjoy a variety of sports, fitness and movement classes each week.
At Happy Hearts, the children have free access to a wide range of books. We also take the children on trips to the library, to encourage them to select their own reading material, practice reading skills and take part in researching topics. As part of our curriculum, we follow the Jolly Phonics and Letters and Sounds programmes, and help the children to incorporate what they learn in games and activities.
As well as helping children to understand mathematical concepts like number recognition, counting and calculating and shapes and measurements, we encourage the children to develop their mathematical skills by giving them opportunities to explore, discuss, practice and enjoy what they learn. We guide the children to see how mathematical ideas can be seen in the world around us, learning about time, money and space.
Understanding of the World
At Happy Hearts, we encourage the children to understand how community works, and to take an active part in it. We help them to develop their knowledge about local life, by talking walks, supporting charities, and observing different aspects of the neighbourhood. We also nurture a growing sense of the wider world, and how technology is a big part of that.
The children are taught about British values, as well as enjoying an introduction to other cultures and beliefs, by celebrating a variety of festivals and important dates on the calendar. These celebrations often extend to parents and carers, and it can provide a good opportunity for parents to augment the children’s growing comprehension and appreciation of other cultures. We also place great importance on the natural world and our environment, giving children the chance to try their hand at gardening, learning about wildlife and observing natural habitats.
Expressive Arts and Design
Creativity is crucial to a well-rounded sense of self, and we encourage children to explore their feelings and thoughts through various expressive mediums, such as art, music, movement, design technology and imaginative role-play. We provide materials and equipment for the children to use in their creative pursuits, as well as facilitating peripatetic support for specialist music, movement and artistic sessions.