Early Years Foundation Stage
THE EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE:
The education our children receive in the Early Years is of vital importance. As such, the curriculum in our Early Years Foundation Stage is carefully designed to ensure that progress is secured in all areas of learning and the children are ready at the end of the Reception year to access the Year One curriculum with confidence. The curriculum is challenging and is structured so that children develop, consolidate and deepen their knowledge, understanding and skills. Learning to read is central: staff teach children to read systematically using synthetic phonics and promote a love of reading, through reading aloud and telling stories and rhymes.
To ensure learning is the best that it can be, our curriculum combines these Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning:
- active learning
- creative thinking
- critical thinking
It is made up of these seven areas of learning:
- Communication and Language
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
They are taught and assessed through a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Each day the children will receive teaching in whole class, small group and one-to-one situations.
The Learning Environment
The EYFS area is organised to allow the children to become motivated and independent learners. It is set up in learning areas between which the children can move freely for much of the day, including indoors and in our own outdoor area, and they have access to a wide range of equipment and resources.
Being outside has a positive effect on all children’s development and they can explore, use their senses and be physically active on a larger scale than indoors. There are many opportunities to develop their social and language skills.
Staff in the EYFS unit plan activities that will interest and motivate the children in all areas of the curriculum. There are areas of knowledge and skills that the children are expected to cover through planned themes but children are encouraged to express their own interests and these are included whenever possible.
In the summer term we complete the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile and provide a written report to parents. The report includes the children’s progress against the Early Learning Goals and a summary describing their child’s characteristics of learning.
In the EYFS, the children are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves as much as possible. This includes being responsible for their own possessions and also their own behaviour. We spend time each day talking about our feelings and the feelings of other people and the children are encouraged to consider other people’s points of view. This promotes an ethos of mutual respect and an understanding of British Values, which are further developed as the children move through Key Stage One and Two.
The fundamental British Values of ‘Democracy’, ‘The Rule of Law’, ‘Individual Liberty and Mutual Respect’ and ‘Tolerance of Different Faiths and Beliefs’ are already embedded in the EYFS curriculum and practice. At Euxton Primrose Hill Primary School we actively promote British Values in these ways:
- Encouraging children to know their views count and their opinions are important, e.g. following the children’s interests for topics and activities.
- Encouraging children to make decisions together, e.g. when sharing a group toy like a large train set.
- Encouraging the children to see their role in the ‘bigger picture’, e.g. linking to part of a family, class, group, school, community, etc.
- Encouraging children to value each other’s views and beliefs and to talk about their feelings.
- Providing opportunities for the children to vote for activity choices, e.g. choosing a book for story time by a show of hands.
- Encouraging children to complete activities that involve turn-taking, sharing, discussion and collaboration, e.g. model making, role play activities and using equipment.
- Using group times and circle times to encourage children to take turns, listen to others and to value and respect the contributions made by others in the group.
- Working together to create an environment where it is ‘safe’ to make mistakes, share thoughts and ideas and to explore different options, e.g. promoting forgiveness after an argument, opportunities to retry an activity and tolerance for different views.
- Encouraging adults and children to work together to create group rules.
- Discussing the need for rules and how they should be administered fairly, e.g. the need for rules to keep everyone safe and happy.
- Teaching children to understand their own and others’ behaviour and feelings along with their consequences.
- Working together to create an environment where actions are consistently followed through, e.g. adherence to class rules.
- Encouraging and supporting children to learn how to distinguish right from wrong.
- Encouraging children to take turns, share and compromise.
- Encouraging children to develop a positive sense of themselves.
- Providing opportunities for children to develop their self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities, e.g.by sharing achievements and successes and promoting independence.
- Providing opportunities to take on risks, challenges and responsibilities and also encouraging children to explore and discuss their thoughts, feelings and ideas with others.
- Encouraging children to try a range of different activities and to discuss and select their own preferences.
- Providing opportunities for children to follow and develop their own interests and ideas.
- Providing activities for all children to engage in and actively challenge gender-specific tasks and activities.
- Encouraging children to reflect upon their similarities and differences and appreciate and respect that others may have different views.
- Working as a group to create an environment that includes, values and promotes different faiths, cultures, views and races.
- Providing opportunities for the children to make links with the wider community, e.g. inviting family members or speakers to visit the class and trips out to local places.
- Encouraging children to learn about other faiths, cultures, traditions, families, communities and ways of life. We encourage the children to share their experiences with the group if they feel comfortable to do so.
- Encouraging children to learn about the world around them, both locally and further afield, e.g. local trips, using books, stories, posters and videos to learn about places far away, cultural days, local events and activities, national celebrations.