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Learning & Development

Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the Learning, Development and Care of children from birth to five years (until the end of the reception year).

There are ‘four principles’ within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS):

A Unique Child
Positive Relationships
Enabling Environments
Learning and Development

A Unique Child ~ We recognise that babies and children develop in individual ways and at varying rates, every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. Every area of development is equally important to us. We value all children as individuals; we support children’s health and well being within a safe and secure environment.

Positive Relationships~ A key person has special responsibilities for working with a small number of children in the setting, providing the reassurance to feel safe and building relationships with parents and carers. Children learn to be strong and independent, they feel secure and cared for through every interaction with their key person and other practitioners.

Enabling Environments ~ Our environment provides a key role in supporting and extending every child’s learning and development, it gives children the confidence to explore and learn in safe and secure indoor and outdoor spaces, through planned experiences and activities that are challenging yet achievable. Babies and young children are individuals, each with unique abilities; therefore, plans and routines flow with children’s individual needs. Our practitioners observe children in order to understand and consider their current interests, development and learning.

Learning and Development ~ Children’s exploration and play reflects their wide-ranging and varied interests. In their play children learn at their highest level, play with peers is also important, as active learning requires other people, objects, ideas and events to engage and involve children. We provide children with opportunities to play with ideas in different situations and with a variety of resources, to enable them to discover connections and come to new and better understandings and ways of doing things. Adults support this process to enhance children’s abilities to think critically and ask questions.

The EYFS is made up of six Areas of Learning and Development all of which are underpinned by the above four principles of the EYFS.

Areas of Learning and Development

There are ‘six areas of learning and development’ within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS):
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication, Language and Literacy
Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
Knowledge and Understanding of the World
Physical Development
Creative Development

All six areas of learning and development are connected to one another and are all equally important: Play underpins all development and learning for young children and therefore your child will take part in many indoor and outdoor play experiences that will help them to learn and develop their enquiring mind, while they are having fun! A few examples of typical activities are mentioned for each area but the list is endless.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development ~ Within a nurturing environment children are provided with experiences and support which will help them to develop a positive sense of themselves and of others, respect for others, social skills and a positive disposition to learn. This helps children to feel good about themselves and others so that they are able to develop positive relationships. Through activities, conversation and practical example, children learn acceptable ways to express their own feelings and to have respect for the feelings of others. We emphasise the importance of sharing and caring for our friends, the setting and following rules and understanding how others are feeling. Children are given opportunities, as appropriate, to take responsibility for themselves, other members of the group and equipment. Children are encouraged to work and concentrate independently and also to take part in group experiences, sharing and co-operating with other children and adults, this supports children to become interested, excited and motivated learners. We will ensure support for children’s emotional well being to help them to know themselves and what they can do. We also learn about different cultures and celebrations such as Christmas, Eid, Chinese New Year and Easter.

Communication, Language and Literacy ~ To support children in their early reading and writing, in both small and large groups they are encouraged to mark make, link sounds and letters and extend their vocabulary and fluency by talking, thinking and listening, and by hearing and responding to stories, books, songs and rhymes. Children are provided with the opportunity & encouragement to use their skills for a range of purposes, and are supported in developing the confidence and disposition to do so. They 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. Our book areas give every child the opportunity and encouragement to become familiar with books, to handle them with care and be aware of their uses, both for reference and as a source of stories and pictures.

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy ~ By means of adult supported practical experience, children become familiar with sorting, matching, ordering, sequencing and counting activities which form the basis of early mathematics. Children use their developing understanding of problem solving, reasoning and numeracy in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practice and talk about their developing understanding. Children are assisted to learn and use the vocabulary of mathematics; this includes developing an understanding of and identifying objects by number, shape, pattern, position, size and volume. Children are provided with opportunities to practise and extend their skills in these areas and to gain confidence and competence in their use. Children will be involved in songs, games, activities, picture making, sorting objects e.g. by colour using leaves or shells and looking at patterns and picture books all of which help them to become aware of number sequences and, when ready, to use simple mathematical operations such as adding.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World ~ A safe and stimulating environment allows children to explore and experiment with a range of natural and manufactured materials developing knowledge, skills and understanding to help them to make sense of the world. They learn to observe the features of objects and substances, recognising differences in 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. Children learn about their families, their past, how things work and the technological world. A range of equipment enables children to extend their technological understanding. Children’s learning is supported through opportunities for them to use a range of tools and techniques to achieve intentions and to solve problems. We encounter creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments. We discover how things grow and change by planting seeds and watching butterflies emerge from a pupae, how things work such as magnets, batteries and lights, and how to make models with re-cycled materials. We look at seasonal changes and there are also opportunities for children to cook or bake.

Physical Development ~ A range of equipment and opportunities, both indoors and outdoors, allows children to develop confidence and improve their skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement. The physical development of babies and young children is encouraged through the provision of opportunities for them to be active and interactive. A high level of adult supervision enables children to safely create and meet physical challenges, developing increasing skills and control in movement, climbing and balancing. Children develop their large body movements by running, climbing, balancing, throwing and catching. We have a large outdoor area that is well equipped for children to develop physically. Children are supported in developing an understanding of the importance of physical activity and making healthy choices in relation to food. At the same time children are supported in the development of fine motor skills required to use tools, including pens and pencils and to handle small objects with increasing control. In this area children develop fine skills such as drawing, cutting, painting and threading

Creative Development ~ Here children explore and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings and express their curiosity individually and as part of a group through art, music, dance and role-play. Children join in with and respond to music and stories and sing songs in regular music sessions. Children pretend to be nurses, doctors, mums, dads, babies, vets and shop assistants. 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 pencils as well as natural and discarded resources, provides for open-ended exploration of colour, shape and texture and the development of skills in drawing, painting and collage.