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At Educare Small School, we know the whole child must be nurtured and this is achieved by not just focusing on one aspect, which can often be the intellectual side only. Our children are happy, balanced, inter-dependent, fulfilled, self reliant, responsible, functioning, kind, thoughtful, loving, creative, inquisitive and confident.
We use The National Curriculum and the Foundation Stage Curriculum to inform planning for teaching but age related targets are not applied. Equally important is the development of creative skills in art, music and drama. The Creative Arts have a special place in Educare because they allow our children to release and express themselves and to learn and practise skills which they need in their daily lives. We dedicate an equal amount of time to music, art and drama each week.
Fostering an early understanding of moral issues and social responsibilities is essential. We encourage our children to think and act for themselves, and as part of the Educare community. We allow time to help them to understand their own feelings and to manage relationships with each other. We join together as a whole group as often as possible and work together to care for each other and value our strengths.
"I have been delighted with Educare - the staff are caring and plan innovative, fun work with lots of trips. My daughter (10) has been there 2 years and her self-esteem has grown." - Natasha
Or as teachers of the Alexander Technique say 'use of the whole self affects functioning,' which stems from the knowledge that our intellectual and emotional health is inseparable from (intimately connected to) our physical well-being. Elements of the Alexander Technique are integrated into every school day and the classroom furniture has been specifically chosen to support this. In addition, our Alexander Technique teacher is in school for one whole day a week working with groups, children individually and teachers. Listen to this podcast to hear how Alexander Technique is used at Educare Small School.
To complement the Alexander work we also use a variety of energy balancing techniques on a daily basis, particulary during Movement Circle and Quiet Time.
We have a strong healthy food and water policy because we know that nutrition can infleunce and affect the way that children learn and grow. Parents can access advice on health, nutrition and parenting if they request it, we put them in touch with complementary therapists whom we know and respect.
This is at the heart of everything we do. We are attentive to many different aspects of each child's development, with the aim of ensuring a balance between them, because a child's happiness is our priority.
Children learn at levels which match their development and we recognise that each child develops in a unique way. We guide children through their learning journey by attending to their individual learning styles, encouraging their strengths and supporting their weaknesses. At Educare, the children are used to moving groups to suit their ability level or match their progress through the National Curriculum. Sometimes these are mixed age groups and the teaching and learning outcome is different for each child, as in topic work covering History, Geography, Science and Art. - This means that they are all learning about the same subject i.e water or animals but there are different expectations for what each child will learn. i.e 3 years different to 4 years or 8 years different to 11 years.
We are innovative in our approach to teaching, in that we combine well-established learning and teaching methods in a unique and common sense way to promote the balanced development of the whole child. Some of these techniques, such as Movement Circle, Quiet Time, good use of our bodies etc, are intergrated into every school day. We nurture individual progress using a range of approaches to build on what each child can already do. For example, we teach handwriting and letter formation with help of the Alexander Technique, energy-balancing and labyrinths. Some children have moments in their lives when they need extra support, and when they do, we give it in a way which is personal to that child, not a 'cure all' for everyone.
"You have a good knowledge of each child, you listen and help them achieve, give encouragement and support in a wonderful small environment"
Children learn most easily and willingly when they are actively involved and interested. Our children are encouraged to learn through meaningful, relevant experiences that require them to talk, listen, think, explore, experiment, observe and discover.
We regularly review our approaches to provide a range of rich learning experiences which will motivate and extend their interests.
Young children learn best when they are valued, happy and secure. We believe that they will go on to reach their full potential if they are allowed to express themselves in a safe and supportive environment.
Our school is warm and welcoming and each child is encouraged to value themselves, each other and their surrounding cultures. Small group sizes ensure a close supportive relationship with teachers and support staff in which children feel confident and motivated to learn and progress.
We join together as a whole group as often as possible, (examples - Friday music and Friday circle), lunchtimes, playtimes, birthdays, farewell circles and work together to care for each other and value our strengths.
Children work and play in groups which cross age, sex and ability barriers. We know our children well enough to support and encourage their balanced development and with the support of their parents we can help them grow.
The old proverb 'it takes a community to raise a child' still holds true. Our parents are included in a partnership which relies on the participation of teacher, parent and child. The children know that all the adults around them are working together in their interests, in a strong supportive community.
Parents are involved in school activities and are part of the fabric of the school, creating a safe, nurturing and balanced environment.