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Early Years Foundation Stage - What's it All About?

Our school has a dedicated Early Years Reception Class to provide your young child with the finest surroundings for their first school experience.

Our commitment at Burton is to create and maintain a safe, happy and child-centred environment in which children are inspired to become purposeful, life-long learners.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage our aim is that upon leaving Early Years, our children have a strong sense of self, feel positive about their abilities as a learner, have formed constructive relationships and are confident communicators.

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their potential. We believe that a child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its’ own right, and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. When parents choose our early years and our school, they want to know that we will keep their children safe and help them to thrive. This is at the heart of what we do!

 

 At Burton we follow the EYFS framework, which is statutory in the UK for all Ofsted registered settings. In doing this we are adopting a curriculum which  provides children with the best possible start to their schooling by:

-Setting high standards for the learning, development and care of our children, ensuring that every child makes progress and that no child gets left behind.
-Providing for equality of opportunity, ensuring that every child is included and not disadvantaged because of ethnicity, culture or religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties or disabilities, gender or ability – this includes children who may be Gifted and Talented in areas of learning.
-Creating a partnership between parents and school in which regular communication and mutual support is fundamental
-Laying a secure foundation for future learning through learning and development that is planned around the individual needs and interests of the child, and informed by the use of ongoing observational assessment.

-From the child’s perspective a curriculum such as this should be full of real-life, concrete experiences. Children will often be informally consulted about their learning environments and learning opportunities – we will always endeavour to follow their interests to ensure planned activities and themes are motivating for them.

 

Most importantly, children should feel happy, safe and secure at school and should have ownership of their classroom.

 

A Picture says a Thousand Words!

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The Early Years Framework

 

The EYFS framework explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development and provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.

 

The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. 

 

The Characteristics of Effective Learning

 

The unique child reaches out to relate to others and things through the characteristics of effective learning which move through all the areas of learning, through playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically.

 

 

Children will learn skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.

 

Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:

  • Communication and language;
  • Physical development; and
  • Personal, social and emotional development.

 

These prime areas are those most essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning.

 

As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:

  • Literacy;
  • Mathematics;
  • Understanding the world; and
  • Expressive arts and design.

 

All 7 areas of learning are used to plan children’s learning and activities. The staff teaching and supporting your child at Burton will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like the curriculum in the rest of the school but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child's unique needs and interests.

 

Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. It is very important that they develop social skills, such as turn-taking, sharing and independence, which help them greatly in the next stages of their learning.  The guiding principles that shape our practice in the Early Years are that children are born ready, able and eager to learn.  They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them.  Development is not an automatic process, however.  It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments.

 

This does not mean that all your child's learning is divided up into specific areas.  One experience may provide a child with opportunities to develop a number of skills and concepts across several areas of learning.  Our expectation is that your child's records will be passed to us from their Nursery or Pre-school setting, enabling us to ensure continuity throughout the Early Years Foundation stage.

Phonics teaching and learning are a key part of the Foundation Stage and help to develop early reading and writing skills. The EYFS curriculum is delivered through cross-curricular topics, such as ‘Do You Want to be Friends? , Why do Squirrels Hide their Nuts?, What's that Sound?, Do Cows Drink Milk?, What is a Reflection and Who Lives in a Rockpool?’  If you have already visited our Reception class, you will have seen a range of activities taking place such as role-play, practical games, painting, cutting and sticking and reading in the book corner. You will also have seen the outdoor classroom in operation, with equipment such as bikes, cars, sand and water.


Children work and play independently, with a strong emphasis on choice and being able to sustain concentration on projects, as well as joining a variety of teacher-led activities. We strongly encourage a partnership with parents so they are actively involved in their children's learning.

 

Early Learning Goals

 

There are a total of 17 Early Learning Goals in EYFS:

 

The Prime Areas 

 

Communication and language 

Listening and attention: children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.

Understanding: children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.

Speaking: children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

 

Physical development

Moving and handling: children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.

Health and self-care: children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.

 

Personal, social and emotional development

Self-confidence and self-awareness: children are confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.

Managing feelings and behaviour: children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.

Making relationships: children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.

 

The specific areas 

Literacy 

Reading: children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.

Writing: children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.

 

Mathematics 

Numbers: children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.

Shape, space and measures: children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

 

Understanding the world 

People and communities: children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.

The world: children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.

Technology: children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.

 

Expressive arts and design 

Exploring and using media and materials: children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

Being imaginative: children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.

Assessment at the end of Reception

 

Assessment plays an important part in helping parents, carers and staff to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs, and to plan activities and support. Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process.  It involves staff observing children to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles, and to then shape learning experiences for each child reflecting those observations.  In their interactions with children, staff will respond to their own day-to-day observations about children’s progress, and observations that parents and carers share.  To this end we make systematic observations and assessments of each child's achievements, interests and learning styles.  We then use these observations and assessments to identify learning priorities and plan relevant and motivating learning experiences for each child.

 

Each child’s level of development is assessed against the early learning goals (above).  Teaching staff will indicate whether children are meeting expected levels of development. 

:

  • Emerging, not yet reaching expected levels of development for age
  • Expected
  • Exceeding, beyond expected levels of development for age

 

A good level of development is determined by children achieving the 'expected' level (as above) in the Early Learning Goals in the 3 Prime Areas and the Specific Areas of Mathematics and Literacy.

 

Our Year 1 teacher will have access to the Profile report and hold meetings with the EYFS staff on each child’s skills and abilities in relation to the three key characteristics of effective learning. These will inform transition meetings between Reception and Year 1 teachers about each child’s stage of development and learning needs and assist with the planning of activities at the start of Year 1.

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