The Early Years Foundation Stage is for children from pre-school age until the end of their Reception Year at school. The curriculum is based on seven areas of learning which are described below. The thematic approach to teaching and learning means that clear links are made between the different areas of learning. This means the children can use skills and experiences from one area to help them to make progress in other areas. Each area is as important as the others and, throughout the academic year, we ensure that each area is covered appropriately.
Prime Areas of Learning
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
The focus in this area is upon developing children’s ability to establish constructive relationships with other children and adults. Children have opportunities to make choices, to be independent and to work with others. Children develop self-awareness, self-confidence and emotional well-being. They learn to appreciate the similarities and differences between themselves and other people. They respect differences in gender, ethnicity, religion, culture, feelings and needs. Overall, it encourages children to have respect for others, social competence and a positive “I can do it!” attitude towards learning.
Communication and Language
Children develop communication skills through speaking and listening in a variety of situations and for different audiences and purposes. They share and enjoy rhymes, music, songs, poetry, stories and role-play. Children learn to articulate their ideas and opinions, as well as listening to other people. They are expected to respond to things they hear and see through appropriate actions or asking questions to clarify their understanding.
Physical DevelopmentChildren learn to develop and improve skills of co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement. They use model making equipment (such as Lego), threading, painting, drawing and writing to develop fine motor skills. Gross motor skills are developed through daily movement sessions. Children learn to control different parts of their bodies to move in a variety of ways. They run, jump, climb and learn in order to understand the benefits of being healthy and active.
Specific Areas of Leaning
LiteracyChildren learn to identify letter shapes, sounds and names. They use these to hear and say sounds in words. This helps them to develop confidence when having a go at reading and writing words for themselves. A strong partnership with parents is encouraged through active involvement with hearing children read regularly at home and, when appropriate, homework to support children’s development in pencil control skills.
Children develop key skills through stories, songs, games, imaginative play and real life contexts. Children develop their ability to match objects, to make patterns, to recognise 2D and 3D shapes, to use vocabulary to describe size and weight. They also learn to count accurately and to recognise numerals. Children work both independently and together to solve problems. When working together they are encouraged to share their ideas, to listen to the ideas of others, to try the ideas out and reflect on whether it worked or what they could do next.
Understanding the World
Children develop more awareness about their surroundings as they identify similarities and differences between people, places and objects. Children are encouraged to observe, explore, experiment with, to touch, smell, listen to, manipulate and ask questions. They find out about different cultures and beliefs, families, special places and living things. The children also develop their understanding of computer skills, such as, using a computer mouse, a keyboard and programmable toys. They have opportunities to use Information Communication Technology (ICT) to find out about their world.
Expressive Arts and Design
Children learn about Art, Music, Dance, imaginative play and role play. The children have access to a broad range of resources including musical instruments, art media and dressing–up clothes. They are encouraged to express their powers of imagination and develop their ability to communicate and express their ideas and feelings thorough multi-sensory experiences.