My name is Claire Woolmer and I am proud to be the Assistant Principal leading Phase One which is for our youngest children from age 2-7 years. I have had the privilege of working with many delightful children and their families for many years here at Milestone. I have also had the pleasure of observing the progress that the children make when they become active and independent learners as they move through the school, having laid the foundations when they were very young.
The Phase One provision at Milestone Academy is based on the main site in New Ash Green. Children from the ages of 2 to 7 years old are provided with a sensory based, interactive curriculum which covers all the strands of the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One curriculums. The classes at Milestone Academy provide a warm and welcoming environment for the children and endeavour to make the initial transition from home to school an enjoyable experience. There are currently six classes:
Active learning is the key to all experiences in the Phase One classrooms and access to structured programmes provides for the development of mobility and self-help skills to enable the child to become independent.
Key elements to develop skills:
• Active learning experiences through sensory based activities
• Structured routine and consistent expectations
• Play based curriculum
• Total communication approach to develop individual communication systems
• Daily observations of pupil interactions and the learning taking place to inform future planning
• Equal opportunities
• Multi –professional teamwork
• Working closely with families
Nursery aged children can be offered an observation and assessment place by the Local Education Authority for up to six terms during which time discussions would take place about the support a child might need in a mainstream school or whether a specialist school might best suit the child’s educational needs. The children are assessed and external moderation is undertaken regularly throughout the year within both mainstream and special educational settings to ensure judgements are accurate.
Within our youngest classes the curriculum is delivered through a three year topic plan; the focus for the work changes every term but incorporates the Early Years Foundation Stage framework for each of the key areas with priority being given to the three prime areas:
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
• Communication and Language
• Physical Development
• Understanding the World
• Expressive and design
As the children’s confidence grows and their development allows the emphasis shifts to more adult led activities and the children become ready for more formal learning within Key Stage One. Within Key Stage One the curriculum is again topic based and provides children with very broad and exciting learning opportunities, preparing them for the next stage of their learning.
We are very keen to provide a broad range of learning experiences which include our children sharing their learning with mainstream pre-school settings and local primary schools. Opportunities are sought and planned for those children who will benefit from the experience of inclusion, such as Milestone children accessing part of their learning in a different setting and mainstream children visiting us to broaden their learning.
I hope this has given you a flavour of the opportunities in Phase One. We always welcome visits from parents to discuss in further detail how the provision can support individual pupils.