Additional Information and Welcome
Welcome to families who are looking at our website for the first time. To find out more about how we support transition to our Nursery and Reception classes, click on the welcome letter below.
The 7 different areas of learning and development in the EYFS
Learning and development is one of the two key areas of the EYFS. The other is safeguarding and welfare. Learning and development shape the activities and experiences that we offer children under the age of 5. The EYFS states that the educational programme offered must involve activities and experiences that cover 7 significant and inter-connected areas of learning and development.
Communication and language development
Providing an environment for young children to express themselves and speak and listen in a range of situations allows them to develop their language and communication skills. Floor books encompass all areas of learning and are particularly useful for developing personal and social skills through group work. The floor books are also a planning tool and a way of recording children’s learning and development across a particular topic. The starting point is always a combination of what we know about children’s interests, with a focus on ongoing assessment and promoting pathways to children’s development. The adult’s role is to model language, hold conversations with the children and ask stimulating questions to foster such development. The ability to communicate effectively is a key skill and the better a child is at it, the better their future prospects will be. To build early confidence, we engage children in repetitive nursery rhyme, then story telling. Nursery rhymes are important for language acquisition and help with speech development. They help children develop auditory skills such as discriminating between sounds and developing the ear for the music of words.
We all know that young children often love to be active, but they also need to understand that continued physical activity as well as healthy food choices are important, and why. Activities include daily access to the outdoor play environment, focused fine motor opportunities and PE sessions. These all help support the development of both fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are involved in smaller movements that occur in the wrists, hands and fingers. It is important that children have the opportunities to strength these areas of the body in preparation for writing and forming letters. We provide a range of different activities to support this development such as cutting and using scissors, using tweezers, threading, use of malleable materials such as play dough, drawing, painting and model making. Gross motor skills are involved in movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts and movements. For children to develop larger movements and have the ability to walk, run, hop, skip, slide, catch, jump and kick they must practise these movements regularly. Activities to strength these movements include using the climbing frame, crawling through things, balancing, running, skipping and jumping.
Personal, social, and emotional development
This area helps to shape children’s social skills and develops respect and an understanding of their different feelings. They develop their social skills and learn how to manage their feelings appropriately in different contexts. We also develop a Growth Mindset from an early age with children in Early Years developing a "can do" attitude and a positive approach to challenges. Children are supported to become independent, caring and resilient individuals. This begins with being able to look after themselves and their belongings. We actively encourage our children to place high regard on responsibility and safety for themselves and others. The children have the opportunity to find out about how to keep their bodies safe and healthy, by supporting them to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
It is important for children to discover phonemic awareness – the ability to hear and identify different words and sounds, and also to start reading and writing. We use the Read, Writ, Inc phonics scheme. Phonics activities are also woven into the indoor and outdoor provision in a practical, engaging and stimulating way. We use the Oxford Owl reading scheme primarily, and extend this with a range of other schemes and books to range of reading schemes to promote reading diversity and sustain children's interest. Writing is all around and not just confined to the writing area. Cursive script is taught from the outset and children are taught correct pencil grip and posture.
Children need to be guided in developing skills with numbers and calculations, as well as being able to describe shapes, spaces, and measures. Mathematics is everywhere in the Early Years classrooms. In addition to focused teaching sessions, children enjoy learning through real life experiences, be it using a phone in the role-play, building with blocks so they do not fall down, pouring a drink that does not spill or playing shops - the mathematical brain is always working. We provide many opportunities to promote mathematical learning including singing number rhymes and songs, recognising, matching and sequencing numbers, learning and using mathematical language, recognising and using 2D and 3D shapes in the environment, showing an awareness of patterns, time, measure and money and solving problems.
Understanding the world
This involves children making sense of things by observing and exploring everything from the places they spend time to the technology and other things that they use. Children show fascination when investigating uncharted topics. We foster an ethos of curiosity and challenge amongst the children. Children’s knowledge grows the more they experience. We provide experiences linked to the world, people and technology. We know that children thrive on new experiences and are most enthusiastic when they find activities that engage and enthuse them.
Expressive arts and design
We aim to develop each child's imagination, creativity and their ability to use media and materials. Children do this in range of ways including singing songs and making music, dancing, playing with colours, textures and design. Activities like drawing, playing with paint, instruments or technology all give children the chance to express themselves and learn new things. Children have access to range of different musical instruments. They experiment with sound and movement, listening to and making their own compositions. All these approaches to expressive arts help children to represent and understand their own feelings and ideas.
The four guiding principles
There are four guiding principles in the EYFS. It is important that these principles are used when implementing the above 7 learning and development areas:
- That every child is unique.
- That every child can learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
- That children learn and develop best in enabling environments.
- That children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
Inclusion is at the very heart of our curriculum. Activities are carefully planned and resourced with this in mind ensuring access to all. Children are closely monitored to ensure that no child is knowingly left behind. We run daily interventions to prevent children from falling behind. Children identified with special educational needs embrace our language rich curriculum. Support plans and packages are carefully and collaboratively planned with parents and carers and reviewed regularly to embed the partnership and ensure we work together to create the best opportunities for each child.