Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the curriculum that the Government sets for all Early Years providers (0-5 years) to make sure that ‘all children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe’. (Department for Education)
The Framework is divided into three sections:
- Characteristics of Learning
- 3 Prime Areas of Learning
- 4 Specific Areas of Learning
- with 17 early learning goals to be aimed for by the end of the Reception year in school.
Characteristics of learning
- Playing and Exploring: finding out and exploring, playing with what they know and being willing to ‘have a go’.
- Active Learning: being involved and concentrating, persevering and enjoying achieving, what they set out to do.
- Creating and Thinking Critically: children having their own ideas, making links and choosing ways to do things.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development: making relationships and getting along with other children and adults, having confidence and self-awareness, and being able to manage their feelings and behaviour:
- forming meaningful relationships with other children and adults
- having respect for other people
- being an individual and also belonging to a community
- being able to express and cope with your feelings and emotions
- becoming independent and helping others
- being able to make choices and taking responsibility
- developing a sense of fairness, what is right and wrong
- understanding appropriate behaviour
- respecting and being able to empathise with others
- having feelings of wonder and joy
- sharing and celebrating festivals, traditions and special occasions.
Communication and Language: developing good listening and attention skills, to have good understanding and also speak and express themselves clearly:
- developing confidence to be able to express your opinions and make your own choices
- talking, listening, discussing and recalling experiences in a range of different situations
- being able to describe and explain things in your own words, using your own ideas
- listening to stories, anticipating what might happen and responding appropriately to the story
- listening and following instructions, and being able to answer questions appropriately.
Physical Development: large and small movements in a variety of ways, having good control and co-ordination, handling different tools and equipment well. It also covers health and self-care, looking at ways to keep healthy and safe:
- developing confidence and independence through achievement
- learning to use tools competently
- learning co-ordination and control
- building confidence, stamina, energy and strength
- learning to move in a variety of ways
- expressing yourself through movement
- understanding the importance of exercise
- learning to make healthy choices about food, and taking care of ourselves and our healthy body
Literacy: stories, rhymes, books and reading, and also mark making/writing:
- believing in yourself as a reader and writer and developing the skills to become one
- enjoying stories and a wide range of reading materials e.g. books, poems, print in the environment
- learning to recognise letters and the sounds they each make
- learning to make marks and give meanings to those marks.
Mathematics: numbers, counting, shape, space and measure:
- appreciating pattern, and relationships in mathematics
- logical thinking
- exploring, comparing and describing shapes, quantities, height, etc.
- finding ways to solve mathematical problems e.g. estimating, measuring
- learning to use and understand mathematical language
- understanding and using number
- counting, understanding and using numbers
- calculating simple addition and subtraction problems.
Understanding the world: people and communities and helping children understand about the world they live in, including ICT:
- exploring the local environment
- finding out about the past
- developing an understanding of travelling to other places, distance and maps
- using technology – making models in a variety of ways
- planning, making and designing things
- exploring and solving problems
- using I.C.T. for a range of purpose
- exploring, experimenting and having ideas
- being curious – wondering why, how, what if?
- understanding why and how things happen
- observing carefully and closely
- experiencing and changing materials
- sharing the joy of finding things out with your friends.
Expressive Arts and Design: developing different forms of expression, exploring music, dance and song, encouraging children to be creative in all respects. It also focuses on media and materials and imaginative/pretend play:
- representing and communicating your thoughts, ideas and feelings in a variety of ways, for example, art, music, movement dance, language and design and technology
- expressing yourself through a wide range of media e.g. paint, clay, drawing, 3D materials
- experiencing and enjoying beauty
- imagining, expressing and creating
- having original ideas and thoughts
Teaching and activities are planned based on children’s interests. As professionals, we understand that children are more highly motivated when they are engaged in activities which are linked to their particular interests.
As the children learn and progress, their achievements are celebrated in an individual Learning Journey. Throughout the year, Early Years staff will closely observe each child and collect written and photographic evidence based on all areas of the Early Years curriculum. This information feeds into more formal required data, collected at 3 strategic points during the year.
Some adult initiated activities are also planned to teach specific skills but these are always interactive and fun and linked as far as possible to the children’s interests.
Phonics is also taught on a daily basis, beginning in Pre-School. It is structured and routine and based on the Government phonics programme “Letters and Sounds”. This is a progressive scheme and phonic activities are always interactive and engaging and based around games. In FS1, the activities are mainly based around listening activities and training children’s ears to discriminate different sounds in preparation for them hearing the various sounds of letters of the alphabet. In FS2, the programme continues with children learning to recognise and write the written symbols that correspond with the sound and moving onto recognising the various ways that sounds in our language can be made. They then learn how to apply their phonic knowledge to their own reading and writing.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
We are fully inclusive of children with SEND. We have systems in place for each SEND child to have their own key person, depending on need. This person will work alongside the child and their parents, building up a positive relationship and planning for their specific needs to ensure that progress is made at whatever level the child is at.
As with all the other children in Foundation Stage classes, SEND children will be closely observed and their achievements will be celebrated through their Learning Journeys. Their interests and needs will be observed and incorporated into future planning to ensure a fully inclusive, yet individual, curriculum.
Pre-School staff working with SEND children also work closely with the School SEND Team who provide support and training. When the child moves into Foundation Stage 2 class, the School SEND Team then become responsible for the staffing and planning for the child.