Early years foundation stage
The Early Years Foundation Stage is the statutory guidance for all children from birth to age five. As we have our entire EYFS department on one site this enables a seamless transition from one year group to the next and allows continuity of learning and teaching.
The EYFS is built onguiding principles which inform our work with the children. These are:
- A Unique Child – every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Positive Relationships – children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.
- Enabling Environments – the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.
- Learning and Development – children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and inter-connected.
In September 2012, the new EYFS came into effect. Much is unchanged but there is a greater emphasis on three characteristics of effective learning and teaching which are; playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically. These are central to the new curriculum and underpin everything we do in our Early Years Department.
Our aim is for every child to enjoy their achievements and develop their own ideas. We seek to encourage children’s natural curiosity by providing plenty of opportunities to investigate and explore inside and outside. We encourage our children to ‘have a go’ at every activity and to persevere to a satisfying conclusion. We achieve this by planned purposeful play through a mix of adult led and child initiated activity in the seven areas of learning which make up the new Early Years Foundation Stage. Adult directed activity becomes more predominant as the children move into Reception.
The Prime areas of learning are especially important to develop children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, for building the capacity to learn, to form relationships and to thrive. Your child’s first experiences at Nursery will be centred on the prime areas. They will be given lots of opportunities to communicate and express themselves, to participate in physical activity and to develop coordination and control. We encourage children to show a developing respect for others, to treat everyone with kindness and to develop appropriate behaviour.
As children progress and develop the four specific areas (literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design) become increasingly important. Our curriculum is broad based, structured and ensures progression and continuity.
Below is a brief summary of the new areas of learning.
Prime: Communication and language
To experience a rich language environment, develop expressive skills and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Prime: Physical development
To be active and interactive, develop co-ordination, control and movement, to make healthy food choices and understand the importance of physical activity to be healthy.
Prime: Personal, social and emotional development
To develop confidence, a positive self image, to form positive relationships, develop respect for others and understand appropriate behaviour.
To begin to read and write, linking sounds and letters and to develop an interest in a wide range of literature.
To develop and improve counting, understanding and using numbers, to calculate simple addition and subtraction problems, describe shapes and measures.
Specific: Understanding the world
To begin to make sense of the world and the community, to find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Specific: Expressive arts and design
To explore a range of media and materials, to share thoughts and ideas in art, music, movement, dance, role play and design technology.
Forming strong bonds with the staff who care for your child throughout the day is vital. We assign each child a Key person who is primarily responsible for guiding the development of each child through warm and positive interaction, ensuring that the learning and care is tailored to meet their individual needs. To achieve this successfully all children in the Nursery have a Learning Journey and all children in Reception have a Profile, both of which are a record of development. They are used to plan the next stage of your child’s learning and are a fantastic record for you to keep.
At the age of two years there is now a requirement that children have a progress check. This is a review of your child’s progress and takes the form of a written report and a meeting to discuss their development in the prime areas of learning.
At the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage (in Reception) the Foundation Stage Profile is completed and children are assessed against the Early learning Goals. Our expectation is that by the end of Reception the majority of our children are achieving levels well above national averages.