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"The Poppies children learn through active exploration of the environment."

All aspects of the environment - the natural, social, physical, and material worlds - are part of the context of learning. Exploration incorporates some of the strategies which enable young children to explore, learn from, and make sense of the world. Implicit in the concept of the child as explorer is the importance of respect for the environment.

We believe that children learn through play - by doing and engaging in an activity, by asking questions, by interacting with others, by setting up theories or ideas about how things work and trying them out, and by the purposeful use of resources. Children also learn by making links with their previous experiences. The attitudes and expectations that are formed at an early age will continue to influence a child's learning throughout life. In early childhood education, as in later learning and development, exploration will be guided, supported and challenged by adults and other children. This strand is founded particularly in the principles of Holistic Development and Empowerment. The child will experience open-ended exploration and play in an environment where the consistent warm relationships help to connect the child's experiences and where the tasks, activities, and contexts all have meaning for the child. Through exploration, children learn useful and appropriate ways to find out what they want to know and begin to understand their own individual ways of learning and being creative. These experiences enhance the child's sense of self-worth, identity, confidence, and enjoyment.

Because strategies and experiences in exploration build both on what children bring to them and on their own initiatives and reasoning, the links between Exploration and the principle of Family and Community are fundamental and valuable. Exploration involves actively learning with others as well as independently and helps to extend children's purposeful and enjoyable relationships. The Poppies environment offers a wide variety of possibilities for exploring, planning, reasoning and learning, with space arranged to encourage active exploration, providing both new challenges and familiar settings so that children develop confidence. Both indoor and outdoor environments are used as learning resources.

The teachers at Poppies understand the progression and variations of children's development and provide time for gradual growth of independent skills. The teachers support and extend children's play without interrupting or dominating the activity and avoid unnecessary intervention. We plan the daily programme to provide resources and equipment which encourage spontaneous play and activities that can be initiated by the children. Our teachers plan activities, resources, and events which build upon and extend children's interests. Equipment is provided for scientific, mathematical, and technological learning. This includes such diverse resources as computers, blocks and puzzles, cooking utensils, prisms and seashells, which all help children develop concepts.

The teachers at Poppies respond to children's questions, assist them to articulate and extend ideas, take advantage of opportunities for exploration, problem solving, remembering, predicting, and making comparisons, and be enthusiastic about finding answers together. We encourage children to understand and learn what is happening and why and where to go to find the answers.

We have procedures in place for the safe and hygienic housing of pets and for conservation, recycling, and waste disposal. By the time children move to school, we aim for Poppies children to:

  • have extensive prior learning and experiences which provide starting points for further learning
  • enjoy and be able to participate in adventurous and creative thinking through role-play, film-making, projects, and investigations
  • have experience in making choices and decisions, setting their own goals, and using their initiative
  • continue to develop their loco motor, non-loco motor, and manipulative skills in a variety of settings
  • have some skills in using a range of equipment safely; be able to share responsibility for the class and school environment
  • be able to use discovery, invention, innovation, imagination, experimentation, and exploration as means of learning
  • demonstrate flexibility and creativity in applying mathematical ideas and techniques to new problems
  • be able to observe, compare, classify, and group objects
  • have developed some initial strategies of active exploration in the wider context of the biological, physical, and technological worlds
  • have begun to make sense of the living world by observing, identifying, and describing animals and plants and by investigating changes over time
  • be ready to make sense of the physical world by describing the properties of everyday materials; by investigating changes in different physical conditions
  • have initial strategies for exploring observable features of Earth and beyond and appreciate their environment and its changes over time.