EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE CURRICULUM AND PRINCIPLES
Our Nursery and Reception environments ensure children are provided with the best possible start to their learning experiences. We believe that our children should be encouraged to learn to their full potential and that their learning experiences should be nurtured individually and uniquely.
Our curriculum is planned carefully and creatively and takes account of the ‘Overarching Principles’ stated in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years and Foundation Stage 2014. These Principles recognise that every child is a ‘unique child’ – a child who is constantly learning, resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. Children will be encouraged to form ‘positive relationships’ where they will learn to be independent and strong. Children learn best when working and playing within ‘enabling environments’ where they can draw upon own experiences, where individual needs and interests are encouraged through strong partnerships between staff, parents and carers.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
These are the ways in which children learn. Through adult-led and child initiated activities, adults observe children and then plan activities to encourage these characteristics, as they play a vital role in how children learn. The characteristics are; Playing and exploring – Children investigate, explore and are encouraged to ‘have a go’ in a variety of situations. Active learning – Children are encouraged to concentrate for periods of time, keep trying if they encounter difficulties in order to find a solution or problem solve and take pride in their achievements. Creating and thinking critically – Children are encouraged to have ideas and explore them; making links, trying to work out strategies of how to follow and develop these ideas.
The early year’s curriculum is made up of seven areas of learning. All areas are important; however there are initially three ‘Prime Areas’ which are crucial for young children to develop their enthusiasm, learning capacity and to encourage positive relationships.
Prime Areas :
* Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
Encouraging children to be confident and have a positive view of themselves and others, to encourage positive social skills and to manage their feelings and behaviour in different situations.
* Physical Development
Encouraging children to have a sense of co-ordination and control when moving about and when handling objects and tools. To be active, look after their own well-being by making healthy choices about food and to understand the importance of exercise and physical activity. Nursery and Reception classes have extensive outdoor provision and facilities. Both experience Mini Forest School and Reception take part in Forest School Lessons from February to July each year.
* Communication and Language
Encouraging children to listen and maintain attention in a variety of situations, to speak confidently, appropriately and engage in language enriched activities. Nursery also deliver ‘Salley Phonics’ as an additional Speaking and Listening tool which is an additional support to phonics learning.
The other four areas are known as the ‘Specific Areas’ where children are encouraged to apply their understanding, knowledge and strengthen prime area skills.
Planning includes experiences for children to link sounds and letters in order to begin to read and write. Children are encouraged to learn initial sounds, blend these sounds and learn simple familiar words, leading to reading simple sentences. Children are encouraged to read/listen to different stimuli such as poems, fiction and non-fiction books. Children are encouraged to write using ‘Talk for writing’ which initially
encourages children to talk about familiar stories, then learn patterns of storytelling. They begin to use this strategy in Reception for forming simple sentences and move on to information writing and story writing.
Children are encouraged to develop and gain skills in counting, collecting amounts, calculating and understanding numbers. They are also encouraged to solve practical, mental and recorded number problems including simple addition and subtraction using single digit numbers to 20 and beyond if appropriate. Children are encouraged to explore shape, space and measuring activities where they can also solve problems and explore their own lines of enquiry.
* Understanding the world
Children are encouraged to explore and find out about their environment and the world around them. They are encouraged to learn, appreciate, respect and understand that people and communities live differently. Reception classes learn about Christianity, they visit the local church as part of celebrations and visit a contrasting place of worship to experience first hand differences. All children are encouraged to be confident about their own identity and are encouraged to respect the identity of others. Children are also encouraged to explore and understand how technology can be used at home and at school.
E-SAFETY – Children need to be aware that while technology is an enjoyable and vital learning tool, they MUST be taught to understand how to keep safe when using technology. We STRONGLY recommend that when your child is using computers, that you supervise them at all times. It is not appropriate for children to explore mobile phones, internet and use age inappropriate games. In school, staff regularly remind children how to keep safe when using their computer. We also recommend you visit ‘Hectors World’ which will assist you when teaching your children how to keep safe when using computers.
* Expressive Arts and Design
Children are encouraged to play with, explore, manipulate and create using a variety of media and materials. Children are encouraged to talk about their ideas, feelings and choices with others. They are given the opportunity to do this through the areas of role-play, design and technology, dance, music and movement. It is vital that children learn how to be imaginative and creative and explore their own ideas as well as drawing upon own experiences and the experiences of others and we nurture their creativity and help to develop this further.
Outdoor exploration is a key part of our Early Years curriculum as well as being a legal requirement. Planning takes account of the need for children to explore, engage and apply skills outdoors. Our outdoor area consists of woodland, climbing apparatus, mud kitchen and areas to help develop children’s gross and fine motor skills. Children are also encouraged to solve problems and explore these areas as part of topic and curriculum work.
We fully welcome the support of parents in assisting children with their learning, homework, attending workshops and craft days. Early years is a vital part of a child’s life. The sharing of information for our young children is essential when building up a child’s self-esteem and creating the best start to a child’s education. This partnership also helps to forge solid relationships between home and school.
Assessment and monitoring of children’s progress
A Learning Journey will be kept for each child and will consist of observational records, photographs and evidence to track children’s achievement; it will be an on-going log of their early years in school. Skills records are used to enable us to baseline a child and find their starting points. We then track children’s progress extremely closely,
identifying successes and any difficulties. This allows us to ensure that children are on the right track and provides opportunities to assist their development effectively. The Senior Leadership Team in school also monitor the progress of all children and ensure appropriate planning and experiences are helping children to make the best possible progress.