Our Early Years programme is based on principles that drive processes in early years that we consider essential to our students’ learning and development.
We believe that:
- Young learners are successful when they are supported to learn and develop at their own pace and in ways that recognise their learning preferences.
- Play is essential for all learning and development in Early Years and for creating environments where young learners want to learn.
- Carefully chosen, developmentally-appropriate, child-oriented experiences utilise the natural curiosity of our students.
- Providing an environment where young learners are able to be Independent and interdependent develops resilience and perseverance, supports personal development and confidence, and builds young learners self-esteem.
- Successful learning in Early Years comes from providing opportunities for young learners to explore, discover and express themselves.
- Continuous assessment helps us to ensure young learners are progressing and enables us to provide the right support at the right time.
- Learning in Early Years should be engaging and fun, preparing young learners to be motivated and interested to learn as they progress into primary classes.
Ziauddin Early Years (ZEY) has three sections.
Students enter school in our Reception Classes. In Reception our students begin to learn about numbers and how to count twos, fives and tens, and work with numbers in simple, basic number operations. They are taught to describe and recognise 2D shapes, 3D shapes and the location of objects, as well as form patterns and describe events in a chronological order. We provide a foundation in literacy through communication and language activities such as role play, listening exercises and show and tell. In Reception, our students learn the alphabet and some high frequency words, and begin to be taught phonics blends. We also encourage beginning writing – how to hold a pencil, form letters and simple, short sentences. While our students are learning key listening and communications skills, they are also learning how to observe, reason and discuss in our Reception classes, as part of acquainting them with skills in science. In Ziauddin, we aim to ensure that we provide a digitally rich learning environment, so in Reception our students receive their first instruction in ICT as well.
After Reception, students move into our Junior Montessori provision and then follow this by moving into our Senior Montessori classes. We see these two years as an important preparation before students move into Primary classes. Our Montessori classes are the foundation for success in Primary and beyond. To ensure the strongest foundation, we employ a blended approach in our Montessori classes, which maximises each individual student’s attainment and progression. While our trained Montessori teachers use the prescribed equipment, they are also adept at using a range of other approaches and principles to engage students and respond to individual learning needs. Our teachers also use:
Inquiry Learning which involves students in planning and carrying out simple investigations and communicating their understanding of concepts in different ways.
Event-based Learning where our students enact events in real-life contexts drawing on their developing experiences and knowledge.
Project-based Learning where our teachers work with students to explore and investigate the world around them.
Explicit instruction to focus on and check understanding, and also direct teaching to take students through a step-by-step programme of learning.
Play-based learning which provides opportunities for our students to actively and imaginatively engage with people, objects and the world around them.
We do not see our Early Years classes as a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but as a responsibility to ensure every student is learning and every student is being prepared for success in Primary classes. For this, our teachers consider each child’s interests and capabilities, the curriculum learning outcomes, and evidence of each student’s learning. This blended approach enables us to and maximise our students’ cognitive skills development which they need for future social relationships and for a good start in our primary school.