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Nursery Takes Part in LA Early Years’ Phonics Project

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Bolton School Nursery is taking part in a Local Authority Early Years Phonics Project alongside other local schools and nurseries. Explaining the year-long initiative, Nursery Deputy Manager Mrs Allyson Hunt said: “The project aims to support and track children into their first term of reception. We decided as a team that by participating in it, we could celebrate our current good practice whilst developing and honing new skills. 

“Practically, this means Pre-school Teachers and Nursery Practitioners lead phonics sessions daily. The sessions are based on the ‘Letters and Sounds Programme’ (DfE) which are play based, taught sessions where children are encouraged to participate at their own level. An individual termly phonics tracker is completed by the Class Teacher to log the progress of all children and is discussed with parents at the scheduled parents’ meeting or earlier if any concerns arise. Observations are made of both children and staff to monitor progress and the quality of teaching. Children are placed in small groups to participate in the sessions and are encouraged to learn through play, focused activities and from each other. All planned sessions follow the seven aspects in Phase One Phonics – environmental sound discrimination, instrumental sound discrimination, body percussion sound discrimination, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting. Phase One falls largely within the Communication, Language and Literacy area of learning in the Early Years’ Foundation Stage. In particular, it will support linking sounds and letters in the order in which they occur in words, and naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet. It also draws on and promotes other areas of learning described in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), particularly Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Creative Development, where, for example, music plays a key part in developing children’s language. 

“Our team works closely with our designated Bolton Start Well consultant, who monitors and assesses the changes that are being made in the form of observations, questionnaires and action plans throughout the project. The Start Well team has planned a series of meetings to discuss children’s progress, provide networking opportunities and bespoke refresher phonics training for our team.  We have linked with Bolton School’s Nursery Class and Infant School (Beech House) Reception Class as our main link school. By participating in this project, we aim to promote and track progress of our children and to upskill our team.”

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