The Early Years Foundation Stage relates to all children from birth to the end of the Reception Year at primary school. It was reformed in September 2021, putting early language at the heart of a broad and rich curriculum.
We recognise that the early years are crucial years for making a difference for all children, because research shows that children learn and develop more from birth to five years old than at any time in their lives. Therefore, we design an ambitious curriculum that builds on children’s strengths and interests to meet their individual needs. We want every child to have the best possible start. Our curriculum is underpinned by opportunities to experience fun, fascination and wonder across all seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.
Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.
These are the prime areas:
- Communication and Language (incorporating listening, attention and understanding and speaking)
- Physical Development (including gross motor skills and fine motor skills)
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development (encompassing self-regulation, managing self and building relationships)
The four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied are:
- Literacy (developing comprehension, early reading and writing skills)
- Mathematics (developing number and number patterns)
- Understanding the world (learning about things in the past and present, finding out about people, culture and communities, and exploring the natural world)
- Expressive arts and design (creating with materials and being imaginative and expressive)
Our staff provide an environment to enable children to lead their own learning through child-initiated play as well as sensitively guiding children to build on what they already know and can do by observing, listening, discussing, modelling, and extending their thinking, reasoning, problem-solving and language skills.
We do this through the three characteristics of effective teaching and learning:
- Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
- Active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
- Creating and thinking critically – children have a develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
Our practice and provision are rooted in the Seven key features of effective practice:
- The best for every child
- High-quality care
- The curriculum: what we want children to learn
- Pedagogy: helping children to learn
- Assessment: checking what children have learnt
- Self-regulation and executive function
- Partnership with parents