At Lusaka International Community School (LICS), the Pre-Primary School (PPS) encompasses Early Years and the Reception classes and caters for learners between the ages of one to five years. The PPS has a dedicated staff committed to providing an optimal learning environment that ensures each learner masters the skills, attitudes and dispositions that they will need, not only for future schooling, but for the world. It has a wide range of equipment and materials and both outdoor learning spaces are set in well–secured areas where learners can explore and learn in safety.
In order to provide an optimal learning environment, we base our curriculum on the English Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 0-5 document designed for the learning, development and care of learners from birth to five years. The Foundation Stage ends in the Reception Year and the EYFS 0-5 document contains a curriculum framework that leads to the Early Learning Goals. The EYFS 0-5 gives guidance in seven learning areas (three prime and four specific) for effective planning, assessment and teaching and prepares learners for learning in Key Stage 1 (years 1 and 2). To further enrich our curriculum, we also incorporate elements from other internationally recognised educational programmes.
The EYFS 0-5 guidance document enables teachers to plan developmentally appropriate experiences for learners. All activities are play-based, as this is the way in which learners are challenged and learn with enjoyment. We also acknowledge that parents are the most significant adults in a child’s life and, in order to enhance educational quality, they are partners in planning the development and growth of their child at school.
THE INFANT/TODDLER PROGRAMME
The Infant/Toddler programme is based on the universal patterns of development that all children go through, i.e. children crawl before they walk. We acknowledge that each child is unique and passes through the developmental stages at different rates. The programme takes into account the ways young children approach new experiences and how they interact with others. The goals of the Infant/Toddler programme are based on the knowledge of the physical, emotional, social and cognitive abilities of learners in this age group.
ICT AND TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY
We live in a digital age in which computers are an essential part of our lives. Learners in Pre-Primary School are introduced to ICT through creative play activities and coding. A wide variety of electronic toys are used to enhance and stimulate the learning process.
One of the important concepts in teaching ICT skills in the PPS is coding. Coding is the writing of a set of instructions for the computer to perform a task. It empowers learners, puts them in control of the computer and through experimentation, builds mastery in sequencing skills, counting, problem solving, logical thinking, cause and effect, self-expression and critical thinking. Coding gives learners an opportunity to become creators rather than just technology consumers.
In line with the latest research, developmentally appropriate practice is used to teach coding at LICS. For the infant and toddler programme we start with unplugged coding and STEAM activities. This is followed by the coding of programmable toys i.e. robots such as Cubetto, BeeBots and Blue Bots in the 3yr – 5yr old classes. Coding with Scratch Jr is introduced in the Reception Classes.