EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage)
In Reception, children learn through play. They have access to both our indoor and outdoor areas and, through opportunity to follow their own interests and participate in adult-led activities, they learn about our values of love, respect, and belief, and develop their learning over time. As well as becoming good citizens and learners, it is very important to us that the children enjoy school and feel happy, safe and secure.
The curriculum comprises of seven areas of learning:
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
Three of the seven areas identified above are particularly important for building a foundation for children’s enthusiasm and curiosity for learning and are referred to as Prime areas of development: Personal, social and emotional development, Communication and Language, and Physical Development. However, all areas are important and are inter-connected.
Our aim is for children to achieve the Early Learning Goals, at the end of Reception, and to be ready for Year One so that they are able to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead of them.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Personal development is very important; forming positive relationships with adults enables children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Initially, through the use of story, we meet the Colour Monster; he experiences a range of feelings that are attributed to colours. We then use these colours and the Colour Monster story, when we talk about feelings, as the children learn to manage their emotions using techniques that we have practised together. Later, we introduce an Emotions Board providing opportunity for the children to reflect upon their feelings. We also help the children to develop a positive sense of self and to celebrate differences. Through listening to stories,
discussion, and activities, we embed the concept of ‘family,’ referring to home and school families. When talking about ourselves, we emphasise the importance of looking after our bodies, including exercise and healthy eating, and encourage the children to independently manage their personal needs such as toileting and doing up their coats. During Continuous Provision and adult-led activities, we support children’s interaction with each other so that they learn how to make friendships, cooperate and share, wait their turn, are polite, and resolve conflicts peacefully.
Communication and Language
The development of children’s spoken language is the foundation for all areas of their learning. We aim to provide a language-rich environment through commenting on what the children are interested or engaged in, echoing back what they say with correct grammar and/or new vocabulary. We read stories, for pleasure, to the children on a daily basis and discuss these. Alongside reading for pleasure, we use other quality texts where we focus on using differentiated questioning and enriching vocabulary. Through the use of specific programmes, such as ‘Time to Talk,’ we support children who are less confident to speak and/or whom have English as an additional language. During role play, story-telling, and conversation, children share language. We have an indoor and outdoor space designated for role play.
Physical activity is an important part of all-round development. Physical development includes gross and fine motor development. In Early Years, the children are time-tabled for two P.E sessions, each week, as well as having the opportunity to engage in physical activity on the large playground for three sessions every day. In the classroom, we have a designated area for mark making and developing hand-eye co-ordination. The children also have repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world objects, puzzles, and small building materials. We also plan intentionally for activities, such as making marmalade sandwiches to share with Paddington Bear, to practise using tools such as
Literacy consists of reading and writing. Opportunities to develop reading and writing are enabled, during Continuous Provision, and planned for in whole class sessions. In Reception, we use the Read, write, Inc synthetic phonics scheme, ensuring that phonics is taught in a systematic way. Fred the Frog is a much loved ‘learning friend’ who loves watching and helping the children with their phonics. He sometimes needs the children’s help as well, especially in the oral blending of sounds. All children are taught speedy recognition of sounds and practise oral blending to begin with. We then start introducing the reading of words, containing sounds that have been taught, and subsequently simple sentences. The children also learn to recognise high frequency words (Red words) by sight. Sounds, phonetic words, and high frequency words are all sent home so that the children can share and celebrate their learning with their parents/carers. As the children learn a new sound, they are also taught how to write it, using a picture and associated phrase to help them remember how to correctly form each letter. The children apply their sounds to writing, segmenting the words that they want to write.
Developing a strong foundation in number is essential so that children develop the necessary skills and understanding to build upon in later years. As well as having opportunity to explore mathematics during Continuous Provision, adult-led sessions are time-tabled for the whole class, with small group work put in place to focus on children that need more support and time to practice. Mathematical learning, in Reception, focuses on composition, of which subitising is a key part, cardinality and counting, and comparison.
Understanding the World
Understanding the world involves the children in making sense of the physical world and communities. It includes science, history, and geography and is an opportunity to celebrate diversity. In Reception, we learn about a range of celebrations such as Bonfire Night, Divali, Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Easter. We do this through an enabling environment where the children can explore these celebrations through dance, art, drama, and story.
Expressive Arts and Design
This area of learning and development supports children’s imagination and creativity. We have a creative area, both inside and outside the classroom, for children to engage with art, enabling them to explore and play with a range of media. In addition to the children having opportunity to use the creative areas, when they want, we plan adult-led activities where children learn and practise new skills and have support in developing existing skills such as cutting with scissors.