The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Starting school is a very exciting developmental milestone for you and your child. Here at The Avenue, we make learning in EYFS fun and as enjoyable as possible, allowing children to feel safe and secure. We thrive off strong partnerships with parents and caregivers from the very start to ensure transitions are smooth and everyone is involved in their child’s learning process from the beginning.
Our children in both Nursery and Reception follow the Early Years Curriculum, which covers seven distinct areas of learning. These areas are divided into three Prime areas and four Specific areas alongside the Characteristics of Learning, which move through all areas of learning. https://foundationyears.org.uk/files/2012/03/Development-Matters-FINAL-PRINT-AMENDED.pdf
The Prime areas are:
- Personal, Social & Emotional Development – Children become confident, manage their feelings, make friends and work with others. They also begin to resolve small conflicts with their peers independently.
- Physical Development – Children move safely, use gross and fine motor skills, learn about how to be healthy and how to manage their own basic needs.
- Communication & Language – Children learn to listen and pay attention, communicate with others and develop vocabulary, understanding and speaking skills.
The Specific areas are:
- Literacy – Children enjoy sharing books, making marks and giving them meaning, exploring new letter sounds and developing early reading and writing skills.
- Mathematics – Children begin to use number names, learn to recognise numbers, count accurately, explore more /less leading on to addition /subtraction and use the language associated with shape, space and measures.
- Understanding the World – Children learn to use computer equipment, find out about the world around them, exploring similarities and differences.
- Expressive Arts & Design – Children enjoy singing, dancing, making music, playing imaginatively, exploring colour and a range of different materials.
Characteristics of Learning
- Playing and Exploring – Finding out and exploring, playing with what they know, being willing to have a go.
- Active Learning – Being involved and concentrating, keep on trying, enjoy achieving what they set out to do.
- Creating and Thinking Critically – Having their own ideas, making links, choosing ways to do things.
The classroom is always fully equipped with resources and materials throughout the day to support children’s individual ideas and interests. Some areas within the EYFS classrooms are changed or enhanced weekly to meet the new learning focus. We follow the Cornerstones scheme, covering six topics throughout the year. The topics set the theme for the learning and activities in the classroom. The topics are also linked to homework activities, trips and visitors. We also plan areas within the classroom around children’s interests and experiences.
In Nursery children have access to a wide range of learning areas and activities, which provide opportunities to develop key skills and concepts, such as speech and language skills, games to promote listening and communication, building relationships, sharing and taking turns, developing co-ordination and fine motor skills, counting, recognising numbers, colours and shapes, enjoying stories, rhymes and action songs, exploring mark making, different materials and finding out about the world around them. Children learn best through discovery and play, so each area is planned to provide new learning opportunities and build upon their curiosity and problem-solving skills. Following the initial ‘settling in’ period, children are encouraged to work alongside their peers and participate in circle time /carpet based activities. A daily Phase 1 Phonics session is part of this, using a range of games, songs and instruments to develop children’s speaking and listening skills. Children are also encouraged to work on focus tasks 1:1 with adults or in small groups to develop basic skills. When working in the areas of learning, children are observed during their play and adults work with the children to extend their independent learning further and identify next steps.
In Reception all children have the opportunity to play alongside each other in the setting. We offer a ‘free flow’ system on a daily basis between both Reception classrooms and the outdoor area. Phonics and Maths sessions are matched to children’s individual needs in order to maximise their learning potential. Children also access handwriting, literacy and topic based carpet sessions on a daily basis. They take part in adult led work each week which involves working 1:1 or in a small group with an adult working on an English or Maths focus task. Children also read 1:1 with an adult throughout the week and access a weekly P.E. lesson and singing session with Mrs Norris, our Music specialist. When working in the areas of learning, children are observed during their play and adults work with the children to extend their independent learning further and identify next steps.
The children in Nursery and Reception have access to learning both indoors and in the outdoor area. We have a well-equipped outdoor space, which consists of a range of engaging learning areas. These include a sand area, a stage, a water area, mark-making area, small world area, construction zone and a mud kitchen as well as climbing and balancing equipment, a slide, tepee dens, a bicycle track and a herb garden. All the activities in the outdoor area develop key skills and provide opportunities for children to play, investigate and explore the natural world as well as strengthen their gross motor skills.
Ways to help your child learn at home:
- Sing songs and learn well-known nursery rhymes
- Talk about numbers, colours, sounds and words you see when you are outside.
- Count steps, toys etc and sing number songs
- Cook/ bake together
- Share books, turning the pages from front to back and talk about the pictures
- Explore playdough, painting, drawing and model making
- Complete jigsaws and play games together
- Encourage pretend /imaginative play and dressing up
- Plant seeds together and watch them change
- Look at all of the different shapes of packaging when at the supermarket
- Explore the park at different times of the year, exploring seasons.
- Encourage your child to get dressed and undressed so that they find changing for P.E. much easier
- Practise using a knife, fork and spoon in preparation for lunch in the dining hall every day
- When you buy your child’s new winter coat give them some time to practise taking it on and off and practise fastening it up.