Passion for Learning C.I.C |D2, Stanlaw Abbey Business Centre |Dover Drive|Ellesmere Port, CH65 9BF 
   Registered as a community Interest company limited by shares in England and Wales No. 07731398.

   Passion for Learning


                                         A community interest company

Early Years Foundation Stage Volunteer Provision

The new Early Years Foundation Stage Framework says in its introduction

a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact

on their future life chances’

but many children are deprived of high quality, consistent adult attention on a one to one basis and the absence of that support

can often mean that they are not best able to benefit from the educational opportunities available to them in their early years at school.

A recent study found that children who spend time with grandparents are ‘significantly ahead’ both academically and in terms of social and emotional development by the age of three (Research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Bryson Purdon Social Research, Essex University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and the National Centre for Social Research). The impact, which can still be seen at the age of five, applies to children from more advantaged backgrounds who benefit from the wealth of conversation and many opportunities for play and experiences that working one to one can provide.

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds, or those whose home circumstances do not offer opportunities for high quality one to one time, often start school significantly behind their peers and, most importantly, without the skills required to learn effectively in a formal school environment.

Why Passion for Learning?

Our volunteers are specifically recruited from a range of backgrounds and age groups to offer the children that we work with the opportunity to spend high quality one to one time with an interesting (and interested), well-informed and appropriately trained adult. The work that we do mirrors the quality of care described above with the added dimension of a strong knowledge of the skills and abilities that contribute to a child’s readiness to learn (academic, social and emotional) coupled with qualified support to help overcome barriers and develop areas of weakness and need.

One of the four Overarching Principles of the EYFS Framework is

‘children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships; ‘

We believe that volunteers from the community can provide children with a highly productive ‘positive relationship’ that can make a strong contribution to enhancing their readiness for early years education.

Specifically What Can We Do?

Communication and Language

Working one to one with an interested adult gives the child endless opportunities for the development of communication and language. Our volunteers are trained to take every opportunity to develop a child’s conversation skills, label the world, model language conventions and the norms of social interactions and promote the ability to follow instructions, understand requests and answer simple questions.

Personal, social and emotional development

This is one of the areas of development that benefits most from a high quality one to one relationship. Playing games together, listening to the children’s news, supporting and encouraging their achievements and making children feel special is the ‘stock in trade’ of our volunteers. The absolutely crucial role of confidence and self-esteem is well documented and the volunteers are in a unique position to facilitate and value little successes and nurture self-belief in a completely secure relationship.

Literacy – our work recognises the absolutely crucial role that early literacy plays in ensuring equality of opportunity for children. Recognising and understanding the early experiences that help children to develop literacy (nursery rhymes, word games and simply playing with sounds, familiarity with traditional tales, love of books etc.) is an important part of our training. A willingness to share a passion for books and reading is something we specifically look for in our volunteers.

Mathematics – working one to one with young children gives our volunteers ample opportunity to increase the children’s awareness of numbers and develop early numeracy skills. Whether it is simple counting (how many dogs can we see in this picture) through to more structured play (shopping games) volunteers are trained to take advantage of opportunities that occur around them as a natural by-product of play situations to reinforce the children’s awareness of numbers, shapes, measurement and size and patterns in the things around them.

Understanding the World – in many ways it is this often overlooked awareness that is one of our volunteers’ main strengths. One of our main aims is to share a passion for life, a curiosity about the world and an awareness of the richness and diversity that is waiting for children. Many of the children that we work with have very small worlds and few experiences so our volunteers are specifically encouraged to expand the children’s horizons and help them to make sense of the world and their place in it.

Expressive Arts and Design – encouraging children to express themselves creatively and enjoy the richness of many art and design projects is a key part of many of our sessions. Whether it is simple colouring or drawing or more complex projects such as origami and construction, children love to work one to one to explore materials and show an admiring adult a finished product! Learning new songs, making simple musical instruments, recognising and dancing to exciting rhythms are all things that our volunteers can enjoy with their children.

In Conclusion

Passion for Learning’s offer is to provide a well-trained individual from the local community to work with identified children in an early years’ setting. Our volunteers will have their own support worker and access to resources and materials (suitable and approved by the setting) specifically tailored to excite the interest and meet the developmental needs of the children that we are working with. Our work will be documented in narrative form supplemented by observations and photographs of the volunteers’ work with their children taken within the setting. Regular planned meetings with staff will ensure that our work is seen to complement the work of our partners and specifically enhance the provision for that child.