The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a play based learning framework for 0-5 year olds. The fundamental importance of the framework is that children learn best through play and it ecompasses key points of theorists such as Vygotsky and Piaget. They believed that children learnt best through play that is focussed around the interests that they show. The framework also looks at the role of the adult and suggests that children need to be guided to learn not made too. Within the framework there are milestones that can be used as a guide as to what children can achieve at different ages. It holds seven key areas of development three prime and four specific, children under three are assessed on the prime areas only. The EYFS also sets out some outcomes for children these are: stay safe, be healthy, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and to have economic well-being. The aim of the EYFS is to ensure that every child has access to an education that is positive for their growth and development.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
The Characteristics of Effective Learning and the Prime and Specific Areas of Learning and Development are all interconnected.
‘The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically – underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.’
The Characteristics of Effective Learning support the development of the unique child in how children are learning.
3 Characteristics of Effective Learning
Playing and exploring – engagement
•Finding out and exploring
•Playing with what they know
•Being willing to ‘have a go’
Active learning – motivation
•Being involved and concentrating
•Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
Creating and thinking critically
•Having their own ideas
•Choosing ways to do things
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Personal, Social and Emotional education, or P.S.E. involves working to encourage children to value themselves, respect difference in others and develop effective skills in communicating their thoughts and feelings. Skilled and supportive adults are crucial to the effective delivery of P.S.E. by promoting co-operative play and consideration of the needs of others, as well as the important skill of negotiating as the children play and share toys. We understand the importance of a warm supportive relationship with a key adult, someone who celebrates their successes and encourages them as they explore their environment and challenge themselves with new activities. This subject does not have a dedicated area in nursery instead it goes on wherever the children are!
Communication and Language
Communicating and being with others helps children to build social relationships which provide opportunities for friendship, empathy and sharing emotions. The ability to communicate helps children to participate more fully in society. Communication in the Foundation Stage is broken down in to three separate skills – Speaking, Listening & Attention and Understanding. These are key components of the curriculum, as they form the foundations for literacy and all other areas of learning and we ensure these skills are developed throughout all activities in the nursery school.
Moving and handling
All children gain an understanding of the World around through movement and physical sensation. Physical development is learning about controlling your body in space, judging how much strength and speed is a needed, co-ordinating different parts of the body, using fine movements to manipulate tools, holding, threading, writing and even keeping still! All children have different needs, mastering skills at different rates and learning in different ways. Carefully planned activities give the time and opportunities for children to develop physical and self-care skills with support, care and understanding, allowing them to gain confidence in their learning and their environment.
Health and self care
Is learning about ways to keep healthy and safe, knowing the importance of physical activity and healthy food choices, and managing basic hygiene and personal needs like dressing and going to the toilet independently.
As children develop speaking and listening skills, they build the foundations for Literacy, for making sense of visual and verbal signs and ultimately for reading and writing. Children need lots of opportunities to interact with others as they develop these skills, and to use a wide variety of resources for expressing their understanding, including mark making, drawing, modelling, reading and writing.
We believe that children learn best through activities and experiences that engage all the senses. For example, music, dance and playing with rhythm; rhymes and songs play a key role in language development.
Mathematics is designated a specific area of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and is a key life skill. Through adult planned and child initiated play opportunities, we aim to give children a love of exploring mathematics and mathematical concepts, and support their development in the following areas:
Counting and numeracy skills
Recognising and writing numerals
Developing mathematical strategies and problem solving
Understanding shape and space
Exploring time, weight, size and capacity and the ways in which these can be measured
Understanding and using mathematical language
Understanding early algebra and pattern in maths through patterning and creating repeated sequences
Understanding of the world
Understanding the World is one of the four specific areas, which include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society. It is sub-divided into 3 main sections:
People and communities. With a starting point of their own particular personal history, children begin to develop an awareness of differences within families, communities and traditions. They begin to appreciate that other children may well have different likes and dislikes to themselves
The world. Children initially learn about their most immediate surroundings, before developing their knowledge and experience of the wider environment. Through practical experiences they learn about objects, materials and living things.
Technology. Children gain confidence in handling a range of technology to support and enhance their learning.
Expressive arts and design
As a specific area of the Early Years Curriculum, Expressive Arts and Design will in its widest sense encourage children to use all their senses, take risks, think flexibly, play with ideas and respond imaginatively. We believe that all children are creative and recognise that nurturing a child’s journey of curiosity, experimentation and forming personal choices is as important as any end product they may produce. Building interest and knowledge in Expressive Arts and Design will enable children to confidently use media and materials in resourceful ways and explore the diversity of their world and successfully express their ideas, feelings and views of it.
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