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The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)


The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) covers the period from birth to five and the final year of the EYFS is the reception year of school.  Four guiding principles shape practice in early years. These are:

  • every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
  • children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
  • children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers. 
  • children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. 

The EYFS states that effective learning is characterised by:

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creating and thinking critically

CURRICULUM: The EYFS is not a curriculum in itself but does set out the statutory requirements and provides guidance on good early years practice.  You may find this definition of curriculum useful:

"The term curriculum is used to describe everything children do, see, hear or feel in their setting, both planned and unplanned.”

 (DfES/QCA, 2000, p.1).

Our curriculum plans are on the noticeboard in the main room for everyone to read - please ask if there is anything you would like explained.  The curriculum is planned to promote development in the three prime areas:

·      Personal, social and emotional development

·      Communication and language

·      Physical development


The three prime areas are fundamental to children’s learning and development – in effect, opening the doors to learning in all the other areas of the curriculum.  With that in mind, we also plan for the specific areas of learning and development which include essential skills and knowledge that will benefit children as they journey through life:

·      Literacy                      

·      Mathematics

·      Understanding of the world

·      Expressive Arts and Design


OBSERVATION, ASSESSMENT & PLANNING: We support children’s learning and development by following a cycle of observation, assessment and planning.  We closely match activities and experiences to the current needs of the children.   Children are regularly observed to assess their individual strengths and interests so that relevant activities and experiences can be provided to extend their learning and development, which are referred to as ‘next steps’.  For example, your child may enjoy using the digital camera and this could be extended by introducing your child to some of the camera’s additional functions, as well as printing photographs.  Your child’s interest in ICT could be further extended by using the laptop computer and opportunities to do this will be incorporated into the following week’s plans.  The poster by the front door will keep you informed of the week’s activities and experiences on offer.  Your child may not wish to take part in everything but some activities will have been specifically provided with your child in mind.  Please talk to your key person about your child’s current interests outside of pre-school as this information is valuable when planning and staff may be able to suggest follow-up activities to try at home.

 

 


MAKING LINKS WITH HOME: At some point your child may bring home the pre-school bear for a sleepover or our ‘Sharing Box’.  This helps your child to make links between the pre-school and home and to share some of their home experiences with the other children at pre-school.  Both the bear and the box help children to become confident speakers and to make them aware that we are all individual and may have different ways of living, playing, eating, caring etc.


WORKSHOPS: The Pre-school Leader runs a workshop for parents and carers about Early Writing Skills and hopes to introduce a Maths workshop too.  The workshops are informal and relaxed and aim to provide information about the Pre-school’s approach to learning and how you can help your child.


THE OUTDOORS: The outdoors can be used to meet all the areas of the curriculum and encourages children to become independent and confident learners.  We use the outdoors every day, whatever the weather, and offer a variety of experiences including Forest School, gardening, walks, stories, ball play, parachute games, running, chalking, trikes, painting, investigation, role play, water and sand etc.


Using the outdoors provides young children with opportunities to:

·         Move freely in a range of ways;

·         Experience a range of surfaces and levels;

·         Learn about and care for the environment;

·         Follow and understand lifecycles and processes;

·         Learn about and use natural materials;

·         Work co-operatively;

·         Learn about assessing and taking risks;

·         Use real tools;

·         Work creatively on a large scale;

·         Develop their mathematical and problem-solving skills in real situations;

·         Communicate with others in a relaxed environment;

·         Experience different kinds of weather and how to dress appropriately;

·         Develop a love of the outdoors and nature.

 

A key feature of using the outdoors is being able to follow a process through, for example, planting sweet pea seeds, transplanting to the raised bed, caring for the plants, picking flowers and collecting seeds at the end of the season for planting the next year.  The new garden is nearing completion so the children can once again grow and harvest a range of fruit and vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, peas, beans and lettuce.

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