The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) covers the stage of learning for children from birth to 5 years old. It is not a formal curriculum but a series of guidelines to ensure that children are making the progress appropriate for their age and stage. Children are encouraged to develop in ways appropriate for each child, according to their individual learning styles.
We provide the children with a broad and balanced range of learning experiences, enabling them to learn through structured activities and open-ended play. They are also gradually introduced to the more formal aspects of learning and begin to learn to read and write with our very successful phonics scheme: Read, Write Inc. Mathematics is very practically-based, with written number formation and recording becoming part of our learning as the year progresses.
The Reception teachers and assistants all have specialist Early Years qualifications. The children in the Reception classes also have lessons with specialist teachers for music and singing, PE and Games and for swimming. There is a specialist yoga teacher for our weekly sessions.
The Early Years Foundation Stage
The principles which guide the work of all early years' practitioners are grouped into four themes:
The new, updated EYFS Framework has seven areas of learning. It places emphasis on the 3 Prime Areas of Learning, which are fundamental and support development in all other areas: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development. These basic skills help to promote a child’s development and ability to learn.
In addition, there are 4 Specific Areas of Learning, which include essential
skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society : Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
All areas are, of course, interrelated and the EYFS Framework contains outlines to assist in planning stimulating and challenging activities to promote children’s learning at different stages. These activities should be as open-ended as possible, encouraging deeper-level thinking and experiential learning, which in turn aids children’s ability to problem solve and become independent, resilient people.
It builds upon a child’s own interests and curiosity about the world around them. It is a very exciting way of learning and maintains the child’s innate desire to investigate and to learn.
Our carefully planned learning journeys take place both indoors and out and the outdoor curriculum, including our weekly trips down into our Forest School area, allow the children to be active and independent, with their skills and learning supported and extended by their teachers and teaching assistants.
Our learning is enriched by special visitors or trips which support our topics and learning journeys, such as visits to museums, to Plumpton farm or to the beach. We also visit the theatre and work with writers and artists in school.
The Areas of Learning and Development in the EYFS
• Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment, to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
• Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
• Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others, to form positive relationships and develop respect for others, to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings, to understand appropriate behaviour in groups and to have confidence in their own abilities.
• Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Through books, poems, and other written materials children are helped to discover a wide range of reading materials.
• Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating using simple addition and subtraction. They learn skills of problem solving and reasoning. They also describe and explore shape, space, and measures.
• Understanding the world involves helping children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
• Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, roleplay and design and technology.