Early Years Foundation Stage
Throughout our Early Years setting we intend to develop a lifelong love for learning. We support the development of the values, behaviours and attitudes children need to be successful learners and provide opportunities where children experience a challenging and enjoyable curriculum, based around their needs and interests. The importance of our school values underpin our teaching and behaviour for learning strategies to ensure children feel part of our school community and become successful independent learners.
Within our setting, every child is recognised as a unique individual and we celebrate and welcome difference within our community. Our curriculum is designed to provide a balanced range of varied learning experiences, which include both child-initiated and adult-led learning through continuous play and small-group activities.
Children within Preschool should be working with the 30-50 age band and children in Reception are expected to be working within the 40-60 age band and working to achieve the Early Learning Goals.
A long-term plan of topics has been put into place to ensure children have the opportunities to show their capabilities.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a curriculum for children aged three to five years old. This is broken down into three prime aspects and four specific areas of learning. The three prime aspects of learning are:
Personal, social and emotional development:
Children are encouraged to develop positive relationships, to play with a variety of friends and to understand the feelings of others. There are opportunities to build confidence and self-awareness, and also to manage their feelings and behaviour.
Communication and Language:
Children are encouraged to learn to listen carefully, to develop concentration, to respond to questions and instructions, to share ideas and experiences and to take part in conversations.
Children are given opportunities to move in different ways, for example, running, jumping, balancing and playing with balls. Another important aspect of physical development at this stage is learning to hold and use tools, such as scissors, and also to use pencils and pens to draw lines and shapes and form numbers and letters. Children also begin to understand how to look after themselves and be healthy.
In addition to the three prime aspects of learning, there are four specific areas:
The ‘Communication and Language’ section previously outlines some activities to develop speaking and listening skills. Children are also encouraged to handle and look at books independently and to begin to learn about how stories are structured. There will be opportunities for children to recognise their own name and the sounds and tricky words they have been learning throughout their phonic sessions. Children develop their phonic skills and reading strategies to begin reading age appropriate/phonic level appropriate books to an adult. Children are encouraged to draw, paint and make to develop control and hand-eye co-ordination to support their early writing skills. By the end of Reception children are expected to record ideas in simple phonetical sentences that can be read by an adult.
Children are given many opportunities to explore numbers and shapes in their play. For example, children are encouraged to count objects they are playing with and to compare two groups of objects. Children begin to represent numbers using their fingers, marks on paper and/or pictures. Children are encouraged to play counting, addition and subtraction games to help develop their understanding of these concepts and to be able to use mathematical language correctly.
Understanding the world:
Children learn about the world around them and they are encouraged to use simple technology and equipment. They are encouraged to comment on natural changes such as the seasons and talk about their likes and dislikes.
Expressive arts and design:
Imagination and creativity are explored and developed in the area of expressive arts and design. Children have opportunities to explore different media and materials and are encouraged to use their imagination in a range of different experiences, such as creating role plays with friends and using a variety of media and materials to create models and props for play.
Throughout the Early Years children learn mainly through play-based activities. They also learn about routine and developing early literacy and maths skills, learning about the world around them and learning social skills.
The importance of play
Throughout their time in Preschool and Reception, children learn by doing things for themselves, by exploring and investigating, watching and listening, talking and discussing, creating and communicating – in other words, playing.
At Wooburn Green Primary School we have a distinctive Early Years pedagogy which includes:
- offering choices
- learning together, with and from others
- open-ended experiences and resources
- playfulness and joyfulness
- a generous learning environment with a plethora of meaningful first-hand experiences (Swann et al 2012).
SMSC in EYFS
We aim to promote and develop pupils’ SMSC understanding through the Early Years curriculum:
- Pupils explore the beliefs and experiences of individuals and different cultures and have the opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs as we cover key dates throughout the year e.g. Christmas, Eid, Chinese New Year etc.
- Pupils are taught to respect and learn more about faiths, feelings and values
- Pupils are encouraged to aware of other people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions
- Oracy opportunities are planned in to encourage pupils to listen, respond and discuss ideas appropriately with their peers during circle time led by an adult, small group activities and free flow learning
- There are opportunities for independent, paired and group work to improve pupils’ own social development, problem solving and communication skills.
- The Early Years curriculum ensures a wide range of different cultures are explored and respected
- Pupils are encouraged to gain an understanding of people from different cultural backgrounds
- Diversity is celebrated throughout the curriculum
We aim to promote British values and make real life links to British Values through our Early Years curriculum:
- British values, including those of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs are embedded in the Early Years curriculum. For example, having a class vote for stories to be shared within class.
- We teach pupils to respect and value diversity through showing respect for different viewpoints and ideas as well as in the ability to work effectively together both individually and in groups.
Planning in the EYFS follows long term planning which is based around themes. The EYFS teams use these plans alongside weekly planning documents to ensure full curriculum coverage. Observation and assessment is at the heart of effective EYFS practice and so Early Years staff also develop ideas, resources and activities available to the children day-to-day as part of our ‘continuous provision’. This allows staff to respond to the needs and interests of the children.
Effective planning and assessment is achieved through:
- Observing the children during adult focused and child-initiated activities
- Learning from parents what a child has achieved at home
- Recording photo observations on Tapestry, an EYFS online learning journey
- Considering each child’s individual needs, interests and stage of development. This information is then used to plan that child’s ‘Next Steps’ for learning.
In the Autumn term, we carry out a baseline assessment on all children entering both the Pre-School and Reception class. This enables children’s progress to be monitored for teaching and learning purposes but also enables judgements about the degree of progress a child has made during their time in EYFS.
In the Summer Term of Reception, an EYFS profile for each child is completed and the class teacher makes an informed decision about a child’s progress towards achieving the 17 Early Learning Goals. This assessment is recorded as emergent, expected or exceeding.
The profile provides parents, carers and teachers with a clear picture of a child’s development, knowledge and understanding, as well as their progress against expected levels.
Our pupils make good progress in Early Years, which can be demonstrated by the pupils' learning journals and learning books. Our pupils leave Reception as confident members of the school community ready for the next stage in their education. Pupils are able to communicate clearly with peers and adults, share their feelings and regulate their emotions. Our children leave Reception as independent learners, able to confidently use their phonics knowledge to read and write and to communicate and record their ideas in all areas of the curriculum.