The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of Foundation Stage 2 (Reception). In our school children join us at the age of 3 in our Foundation Stage 1 class (Nursery), and continue into Foundation Stage 2 (Reception). Each year group is split into two class 'bases' but children are allowed to move freely between during the majority of the day.
- To provide a secure, safe, caring and stimulating environment.
- To ensure that all children are valued.
- To build on what the child already knows and develop a positive attitude and enjoyment for learning.
- To provide a range of opportunities to learn through direct experience, enquiry,
drama and active exploration, in the classroom and outdoors, using a wide variety of equipment and materials.
- To encourage independence and confidence.
- To value the role parents and carers can play and to work together in partnership.
- To ensure all children make excellent progress in their learning and reach their full potential.
How do we do this?
We want children to be engaged in the learning process and for their learning to be
relevant and purposeful. Therefore, we actively encourage children to help to decide what they should learn about and to lead their own learning. We believe that children learn best by doing this. We believe that carefully considered play, both indoors and outdoors, is an ideal vehicle for young children’s learning. Play helps children to explore, investigate and make sense of the world around them. Play allows children to be challenged in their thinking and helps them to practice and rehearse skills and to be motivated in their learning. Children are inquisitive and curious and we wish to build upon this in a positive and enjoyable manner.
Adults within the setting will be actively involved in children’s learning throughout the day. This may be in the form of; adult-led/ directed sessions with individuals, small groups or larger groups; shared learning sessions, during which the adult and children share the lead; or as an active facilitator to children’s play, challenging and questioning children to provide the next steps in learning.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is based around four Key Themes, three Prime areas of Learning and Four Specific Areas of Learning,
- A Unique Child
- Positive Relationships
- Enabling Environments
- Learning and Development
Each theme is explained in more detail below:
A Unique Child
Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
We recognise that children develop and learn in their own ways and at varying rates. Children’s attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by others, we use praise and encouragement, as well as celebration assemblies and rewards, to encourage children to develop a positive attitude to learning.
It is important to us that all children are ‘safe’. We aim to educate children on boundaries, rules and limits and to help them to understand why they are necessary. We believe that children should be allowed to take risks, but need to be taught how to recognise and avoid hazards. We provide children with choices to help them develop this important life skill and follow the ‘Growth Mind-set’ approach across the school.
Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships.
We aim to develop caring, respectful and professional relationships with the children in our care and their families.
We recognise that parents/ carers are the first and most enduring educators in young children’s lives and actively promote a positive relationship between home and school. This is evident from our induction process, the arranged information/ progress meetings throughout the year and through provision of staff time to discuss concerns or progress. At least one member of staff will have a visible presence each morning to welcome the children into school and be a point of contact for parents. We keep parents informed of our current learning through school newsletters and weekly homework tasks set in the ‘Working Together for a Brighter Future’ book. Parents are invited to enter the unit for short periods of time each morning to help build relationships and settle children into their day, FS1 parents also enter the unit at the end of the day to collect their child. We invite parents to join their child to complete special activities and theme days throughout the year.
All staff within our EYFS aim to develop good relationships with the children, taking time to listen and valuing their contributions and ideas. In Nursery we provide a key worker for each child, to allow a closer bond to develop and ease children into school life.
The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children's development and learning.
Children’s interests, development and learning is assessed regularly and this information is used to plan challenging but achievable activities and experiences to extend children’s learning.
Our learning environments are organised to allow children to explore and learn safely and securely. There are areas where children can be active or be quiet and relaxed, although learning and progress is always considered. Areas within the EYFS are set up to encourage developing independence, allowing children the freedom to access some resources themselves and manage their own learning. Outdoor learning is vital in the EYFS, and children have access to outside in (almost) all weathers. Being outdoors offers children the opportunity to complete tasks in different ways, using different resources or on a different scale to indoors. It allows further exploration, opportunities to be physically active and exuberant. We plan outdoor learning opportunities to reflect all areas of learning and to cater for all children in our EYFS. We are hopeful of developing our outdoor provision further through the introduction of a ‘Forest School’ type area and regular activities there.
Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and inter-connected.
We provide a creative curriculum based around the children’s interests and ideas. Children are consulted at the planning stage, where appropriate, and with support lead the learning. Activities are linked to a book or rhyme of the week, where appropriate, which allows children to develop a bank of known stories and rhymes, and provides a foundation for their explorations. Planning in the EYFS always considers children’s starting points and next steps in learning. This is reviewed and modified continually throughout the day and at the end of each day.
Learning in the EYFS
It is our belief that play is one of the most important vehicle for young children’s learning and this is well balanced with adult-led learning
Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, making sense of the world around them. They practise and rehearse ideas and learn how to control themselves and their environment. They begin to understand the need for rules and cooperation. They communicate their ideas with others and learn to work creatively alongside other children as well as on their own to solve problems and investigate their ideas. They have the opportunity to express fears or re-live anxious life experiences in a safe and controlled environment.
All children will complete daily adult-led activities in the form of shared reading (of the Book of the Week and other texts), and phonics. Most days children will receive more explicit teaching, with links to Literacy or Maths, in larger groups and complete a linked follow-up activity with an adult. During the remaining time the majority of a child’s daily learning in the EYFS at Oakhill is through play or is based upon play. These learning experiences cover all areas of learning as explained below.
The EYFS curriculum is split into 7 areas of learning;
The three prime areas of learning are:
- Personal Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
These should underpin the majority of the learning in EYFS and are the best predictors of future academic success.
The four specific areas are:
- Literacy, including reading and writing.
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
We plan learning experiences from the children’s interests, abilities and next steps and believe they should play an active role in generating ideas for the curriculum. Each class plans activities around a text, rhyme or song of the week.
The planning of continuous provision ensures each area of learning is well resourced and equipped for the children to learn, practise, transfer and develop skill
The areas of learning and development support, foster, promote and develop children’s development:
1. Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Crucial for all aspects of life which will give the children the best opportunity for success in all other areas of learning. Each child needs a positive sense of him/herself and respect for others. Involves making relationships, developing self-confidence and self-awareness and managing own feelings and behaviour.
2. Physical Development – Developing skills involved with moving and handling. Will improve co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement. It helps children to gain confidence and feel positive about being healthy and active. This promotes a positive feeling of well-being, and knowledge of health and self-care.
3. Communication and Language - Children will develop confidence in listening and attention, understanding and speaking in a variety of settings and purposes.
Specific Areas of Learning
1. Literacy – Children will learn to read, using different strategies. They will demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
Children will use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They will then progress to writing simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others.
2. Mathematics – Will develop confidence and competence in learning and using key skills. This includes counting, sorting, matching, seeking patterns, making connections, recognising relationships and working with numbers, shapes, space and measure.
3. Understanding the World – Knowledge of people and communities, skills, problem solving, exploring and understanding will help them to make sense of the world.
Foundations are developed for Science, Design and Technology, History, Geography and I.C.T.
4. Expressive Arts and Design – Exploring and using media and materials is fundamental to successful learning. It enables children to make connections and extend their thoughts, feelings and understanding. It will include art, music, dance, role-play and imaginative activities.