The Princess of Wales launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood in 2021 to drive awareness of the extraordinary impact of the early years, in order to transform society for the future. Part of the Royal Foundation’s remit was to carry out a research project about a child’s development in their formative years.
Did you know that 90% of a child's brain develops by five?
The published report shows that the brain connections required for many important higher-level abilities are formed during these early years.
Like the Royal Foundation, we at Gateway School, share the belief that the first five years of a child’s development are pivotal for their future health and happiness. We are proud that our philosophy and carefully planned curriculum embraces every element of a child’s potential to learn and flourish in our Preschool setting. We strongly believe that a child's early years are the foundation for their future development. It provides a strong base for lifelong learning abilities, including cognitive and social development.
At Gateway School, our learning environment encourages a child to learn skills that challenge their thinking and help them to embed new concepts. Throughout the day, children are encouraged to engage in learning conversations where there are rich opportunities for adults to model and extend speech and vocabulary. This allows every child to move from Preschool, to Reception and beyond with confidence, social awareness and a readiness for learning..
If you visit one of our early years classes in Preschool or Reception, you will likely see an Ownership of Learning session. During these sessions, the children work with an adult to plan the activities, resources and learning that they would like to be included in following week. Teachers understand the importance for all children to be involved in this process because it ensures every individual has their voice heard and enables the children to fully engage with and have ownership of their learning. The teachers use the individual interests shared during this time and closely link them to the curriculum, ensuring individual stretch and challenge are included in the different learning opportunities.
The younger pupils at Gateway do not only experience learning in the classrooms. School trips and enrichment activities transport education to new and exciting locations and help to nurture a child’s individual perspective on the world they live in. At Gateway, Early Years children have many opportunities to grow outside of the classroom; from reciting a poem in our whole school poetry competition, to performing on the stage, visiting the Synagogue or through a visit to the local library.
At Gateway, we enhance the curriculum, offering the perfect blend of educational expertise, nurture and a global outlook, to give our children the very best start in life. Mrs Woods, Head of EYFS, explains ‘At Gateway we believe in delivering a solid start from the point a child steps into our Early Years setting. Our experienced team understands that Early Years is not the time before ‘real school’ starts, but is in fact the foundation for life and we absolutely strive to give every child at Gateway the very best start.’ This is ensured by creating a safe, stimulating and fun environment where children have ownership of their learning, form strong relationships and are brave enough to face challenges with a positive mindset.