Early Childhood Care & Education Scheme
“Excellence for free”
Both of our services are approved to offer the E.C.C.E. scheme to eligible families. If your child is between the age of 3 years and 3 months and 4 years and 6 months on the 1st of September, of any given year, then you are entitled to our Preschool Session for free – under the new Government ‘Free Pre-School Year Programme’.
The children in Happy Hours have the opportunity to learn in a structured, theme based environment using books, arts and crafts, music, singing, drama and lots of imagination. Activities and themes are flexible and can be altered to accommodate emerging interests of the children.
We introduce children to formal learning such as language and maths, as well as practical life skills and cultural awareness. During this preschool year your child will be taught the fundamentals of writing, reading and the basic concepts of mathematics.
Our curriculum encourages children to develop a strong sense of individuality, responsibility and promotes their natural strengths. It also focuses on interpersonal skills which are a vital part of school life.
Preschoolers are like sponges – they soak up knowledge. Happy Hours offers a Pre School session from 9.30am to 12.30pm daily. Social, verbal, cognitive and physical skills are built through activities that engage children.
The Preschool Programme at Happy Hours ensures that when the time arrives to move on to “big school” each child will be prepared to cope with the transition at all levels – educational, physical and emotional.
The Montessori exercises of practical life help the child enhance self-development & self-discipline.
Through the sensorial materials & our programme of activities we educate the child’s senses. When we educate the senses we are not trying to make the child see better, we are helping him to understand what he sees.
Our exercises introduce the child to a conscious knowledge of the environment & help each child to understand abstracts.
Language is a form of communication. When we speak of language we usually mean spoken or verbal language. There are of course lots of other forms of communication.
At Happy Hours we are very aware that good language models are essential to encourage good quality and fluent speech from children. We strive to be clear communicators and careful and thoughtful listeners.
When the child becomes interested in the functions of words we present grammar and reading activities, as is the natural development of language.
We use mathematics for pleasure; it is the language of ordered thinking. It is the tool and language of science.
We use maths every day for measurements and shapes. Maths help us to recognise order and to distinguish the whole and it’s parts and to combine parts to create new distinct wholes.
We encourage children to find answers through observation and investigation and to think about all the possibilities before finding the correct solution to their problem.
Circle time is invaluable. Children & adults share perceptions, attitudes and ideas. We discuss & debate any subject. This contributes to the child’s memories & invites the child to reflect & learn from own experiences & the experiences of others.
The child is an active participant and has the opportunity to openly express feelings & share interpretations of what is happening in his world. It allows the child to contribute to the culture around us. Circle time gives us an insight into the child’s interests and the child feels valued. Chatting in a group helps language development & introduces verbs in the past tense.
Circle time gives us opportunities to introduce subjects such as history, geography, botany, zoology, nature, the list is endless and the learning is fun.
Children are usually fascinated by the world, what the world used to be like in the past and how people lived.
We use concrete materials to encourage discussion. We explain that past times were very different & we rationalise this by showing the children pictures.
It is easy to make learning about geography easy because we are teaching the children about the world around them and we have lot’s of concrete material to work with. Geography teaches children about the physical aspects of the Earth. We begin with concrete material and we move to abstract.
Our Preschool Garden is alive & vibrant. We are surrounded by tall trees so we can use the nature around us to draw the children’s attention to plant life. We spend a lot of time in the garden to allow the children to experience plant life.
We talk about the various types of flowers and trees in our Montessori garden and we use pictures to show the children exotic flowers from different countries.
We discuss how the climate affects nature. We plant & nurture seeds. We identify plant parts and we explain the life stories of plants to the children.
Animals and birds are very appealing to young children. We have great fun discussing zoology during circle time. We use concrete materials & we speak about animals from all over the World, their habitat, their diet, their different body parts, their life stories and much more.
We discuss the children’s pets and we have an animal awareness policy in place. We encourage children to nurture and care for animals and we welcome pets to come here to visit the children.