THE EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE
Within the group, all children are supported in developing skills and understanding at their own pace. Our key-person system enables us to ensure a planned curriculum tailored to the needs of each individual child through a mixture of child-initiated play and adult-led activities. Each child has the opportunity to explore a broad range of new experiences, develop their skills and self confidence, preparing them for a smooth transition to school. This curriculum is based on the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ from birth to five year olds which also forms the basis of their Reception year in primary school. All children are working towards Early Learning Goals covering seven areas of development, using both indoor and outdoor learning environments.
Personal, social and emotional development
Within a secure, nurturing environment, children are individually supported in developing confidence, autonomy and self-respect. They are encouraged to be independent and also to share and co-operate with other children and adults. Through activities, conversation and practical example, they learn acceptable ways to express their own feelings and have respect for the feelings of others. All children are given the opportunity, as appropriate, to take responsibility for themselves and also for the group, its members and its property.
Communication and language
In both small and large groups, children are encouraged to extend their vocabulary and fluency by talking and listening, and by hearing and responding to stories, songs and rhymes.
A range of equipment and opportunities both indoors and out of doors, allows children to develop confidence and enjoyment in the use and development of their own physical skills. A high level of adult supervision enables children safely to create and meet physical challenges, developing increasing skill and control in moving, climbing and balancing. At the same time, children are supported in the development of the fine motor skills required to use tools, including pens and pencils and to handle small objects with increasing control and precision. The children are also introduced to aspects of keeping healthy.
Children are helped to understand that written symbols carry meaning, to be aware of the purposes of writing and, when they are ready, to use drawn and written symbols for themselves. A well stocked book corner gives every child the opportunity and encouragement to become familiar with books, able to handle them and aware of their uses, both for reference and as a source of stories and pictures.
Through practical activities, children become familiar with the sorting, matching, ordering, sequencing and counting skills which form the basis for early mathematics. As they use their developing mathematical understanding to solve problems, children are assisted to learn and use the vocabulary of mathematics, identifying objects by shape, position, size, volume and number. Songs, games and picture books help children become aware of number sequences and, when they are ready, to use simple mathematical operations such as adding.
Understanding the world
A safe and stimulating environment allows children to explore and experiment with a range of natural and manufactured materials. They learn to observe and investigate objects and substances, recognising differences, patterns and similarities, and to share and record their findings. Children are assisted in exploring and understanding their environment, both within the group and also in the wider community. We are also able to regularly plan activities within the school woodland area. A range of safe and well-maintained equipment enables children to extend their technological understanding, using simple tools and techniques as appropriate to achieve their intentions and to solve problems. Children also have the opportunity to become familiar with computers using simple programs and learning to operate programmable toys.
Expressive Arts and Design
Children are encouraged to use a wide range of resources in order to express their own ideas and feelings and to construct their individual response to experience in two and three dimensions. Art equipment, including paint, glue, crayons and chalks as well as natural and discarded resources, provides for open exploration of colour, shape and texture and the development of skills. Children join in with and respond to music and stories, and there are many opportunities for imaginative role-play, both individually and as part of a group.