The EYFS seeks to ensure that whichever setting parents choose, they can be confident that their child will receive a quality experience that supports their development and learning from birth to the age of five.
The EYFS principles that guide the work of all settings are grouped as follows:
A Unique Child
Recognises that every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. The commitments are focused around development; inclusion; safety; and health and well-being.
Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person. The commitments are focused around respect; partnership with parents; supporting learning; and the role of the key person.
The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children's development and learning. The commitments are focused around observations, assessment and planning; support for every child; the learning environment; and the wider context - transitions, continuity, and multi-agency working.
Learning and Development
Recognises that children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates, and that all areas of learning and development are equally important and inter-connected.All planning and assessment in our Early Years is centered around these principles, ensuring that children are provided with experiences that meet their individual needs in ways that are meaningful to them.
Areas of Learning
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape practice in Early Years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
These three areas, the prime areas, are:
Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
The specific areas are:
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
Children meet the requirements of the Early Years Curriculum by accessing a range of child initiated and adult led activities; learning through play in our indoor and outdoor classroom spaces. The indoor space is divided into different learning areas:
home corner story corner writing area role play area
small world music theatre maths construction
dough investigation snack outdoor area
wet sand dry sand water craft workshop
tweezer area mud kitchen role play jigsaw
Story sack threading outdoor music station
The areas are provided continuously so that children can develop their knowledge in areas that interest them. The areas are enhanced throughout the year with activities and resources linked current topics.
The outdoor play area is available for children to use when they are accessing continuous provision. The activities mirror those taking place indoors, on a larger, noisier and sometimes messier scale!
The outdoor area has:
an all-weather area with large canopy and soft pour safety flooring.
a large grassed area with willow house, tyre obstacle course and wooden fort.
an outdoor music station for children to explore different sounds.
a mud kitchen with digging area
a natural wooded area with seating
a log seating area.
A water station.
How children learn
A balance is created between adult led activities and child initiated activities to ensure that children meet their stages of development.
During child initiated time children can choose to engage with activities in any area and are encouraged and supported to access the resources independently. Adults model skills and extend learning as appropriate. Activities are provided to engage, inspire and support children’s development. These are age appropriate throughout our Early Years.
Adult led activities may include focused small group work, one to one activities and activities within continuous provision. These are age appropriate throughout our Early Years. Some examples include: phonics and mathematics sessions, fine motor activities, sensory play, song time and topic sessions.
Role of the adult
Teachers, Senior Teaching Assistants and Teaching Assistants support, encourage and extend children’s learning. Children are observed throughout their sessions and these observations are used to assess children and to help staff plan the next steps in their learning. All observations are collated using an online system and reports are emailed to parents on a half termly basis (see section on parent partnership for more information.)
All children are assessed upon entry into our Early Years against the Development Matters age-related statements and Early Learning Goals and these assessments are ongoing throughout their time in our Early Years Unit.
The Reception children are assessed using the Early Years Foundation Stage profile throughout the Reception year to track and monitor their progress and learning styles.
When a child is aged between two and three, a progress check is carried out and a meeting is arranged where staff can provide parents and/or carers with a short written summary of their child’s development in the prime areas. This progress check identifies the child’s strengths, and any areas where the child’s progress is less than expected.
If there are significant emerging concerns, or an identified special educational need or disability, a targeted plan to support the child’s future learning and development is created. This will be developed with parents and/or carers and other professionals as appropriate.