Early Years (Pupils age 3-5)
The Early Years pupils at Waverley School are based on a separate site. ‘Waverley Pre-School’ is 1.5 miles away from the main school. The Pre-School offers pupils aged between 3 and 5. A specific early years experience. The Pre-School opened in Sept 2016 and has 17 pupils.
Pupils at the Pre-School follow an adapted version of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. The focus is on developing skills in the 3 prime areas of learning – Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. These areas of learning are particularly important for the pupils at Waverley and we aim to provide high quality early intervention to enable all pupils to develop their skills and increase their independence. In addition to the 3 prime areas, we also cover the specific areas of learning – Literacy, Mathematical Development, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. The pupils have access to a wide range of play-based activities which are appropriate to their individual and developmental needs. The pupils are supported by input from therapists and specialist equipment to enhance their access to the curriculum.
The Pre-School environment is set up to provide stimulating play activities which are accessible and appropriate for all pupils. Pupils are learning to follow the routines of the class, to move around as independently as possible and to try new activities and experiences. They are having lots of fun exploring new toys, activities and experiences and getting to know the staff and their peers. We believe in working very closely with parents and carers to support children’s learning. This is particularly important for early years pupils. Parents have been involved in the starting and settling into school and, once the children have settled in, we will be having regular times when parents can come in and work with their child.
The Pre-School is divided into 2 classes based on pupils’ needs. The 2 classes work within a large shared classroom space with daily opportunities for the 2 groups to mix for snack times, lunch time and for the afternoon session when all children access topic-based play activities together.
We follow a significantly adapted version of the EYFS with lots of opportunities for physical development, communication activities and sensory play. Pupils have a daily physical programme in order to develop their physical skills, which is planned in conjunction with the physiotherapist.
We do lots of activities to develop pupils’ communication skills and use a range of strategies including intensive interaction, choice making, adapted stories, object cues, photos, Makaton and on-body signing as appropriate to each individual. Some pupils are also learning to use symbols to communicate such as PODD and PECs. Staff listen very carefully to enable all pupils to have a voice and that their early communication is heard, respected and acted upon.
All activities are differentiated and matched to pupils’ needs to enable them to engage and work on their individual targets. We have very clear routines in the pre-school and build in sound and object cues to enable pupils to know what is happening next. We are currently setting up an ICT/dark room to use to develop children’s access to ICT and visual skills in a motivating environment.
Our topic at the Pre-School this half-term is ‘Once Upon a Time’ and we will be doing lots of activities around traditional stories. These are brought to life for the pupils by using a range of sensory activities, switches, rhythm and props. We will also be celebrating World Book Day by dressing up as our favourite characters from books.