The purpose of the booklet above 'What to epect when in Early Years' is to help you as a parent/carer* find out more about how your child is learning and developing during their first five years, in relation to the EYFS. Children develop more rapidly during the first five years of their lives than at any other time. This booklet has been written to help you as a parent know what to expect during these vitally important years by focusing on the seven areas of learning and development which are covered in the EYFS. In this guide, your child’s first five years have been divided up into six age bands which overlap. This is because every child is different and children do not grow and develop at the same rate. It highlights what you might notice your child doing at these points.
Early Years Foundation Stage
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards for the development, learning and care of children from birth to five and is broken down into 7 areas of learning.
The PRIME areas begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences and support learning in all other areas. They are the fundamental parts of development which children need in order to develop fully in all of the other Specific Areas of learning.
The SPECIFIC areas include essential skills and knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning.
At both schools we aim to provide an attractive, challenging learning environment that offers high quality opportunities for the children to learn through play, both indoors and outdoors. There is a range of “continuous provision” available in the classroom, that is designed to offer open-ended, practical learning opportunities. Children are supported to think creatively and imaginatively and explore how resources can be adapted. Each week, the provision is enhanced with additional resources, based on the previous week’s observations.
Prime Areas of Learning
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities. We support your child and give them the tools they need to manage their own feelings, make relationships and develop self-confidence and self-awareness. We aim to enable your child to understand their feelings and ensure that they become independent learners in a nurturing environment which helps them feel safe and secure.
Involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children are taught to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food. Your child will develop many skills such as climbing, sliding, crawling, riding a bike and being able to judge their own and others space. They will develop skills in handling tools and equipment such as pencils, clay tools, knives and forks and brushes.
We aim to encourage every child to understand the need to be healthy and what we need to do to stay healthy.
Communication and Language
Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
We aim first to enable your child to become a good listener and provide the tools for every child to become a great communicator. Through lots of speaking and listening games and activities we can ensure that your child plays in a language rich environment where they are constantly encouraged to talk about what they see, what they do and begin to use their own developing knowledge to make new connections and links.
Specific Areas of Learning
Involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials. Your child will enter an environment which is full of print, stories, poems and rhymes. We aim to intrigue children with a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books as well as things that particularly interest your child. Children will have daily phonic sessions which may include listening to sounds in the environment, learning new sounds and blending these sounds to read words.
Involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
Children’s knowledge of number will be deepened through real life experiences and things that children understand e.g. trips to the shops. They will develop a sound knowledge of shape, space and measure through shape walks, weighing and measuring real things and through many interactive games on the smart boards.
Understanding of the World
Involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Your child will develop a greater knowledge of the world in which they live through trips out, links to other countries and will truly understand their place within the community in which they live. They will learn about other cultures and gain a greater respect for their own and other people’s beliefs. Your child will have a deepened knowledge of ICT equipment such as talking tins, cameras and programmable toys and understand how to use computer programmes to help support their learning in a fun and enjoyable way.
Expressive Arts and Design
Involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
We aim to encourage your child to develop their imagination to their full potential. We want them to discover their own abilities in creativity and use a variety of media in innovative ways. In creating an environment which allows them to independently explore a range of media it allows every child to express themselves in a way that is fun and exciting to them.
In planning and guiding children’s activities, we also reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice. Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
Key aspects of effective learning characteristics include children:
• playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
• active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; and
• creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
We value the contribution that our parents and carers make to their child’s learning and take every opportunity to work in collaboration with them. Each half term, we publish a newsletter to inform parents of what their child will be learning and how they can support them at home. In the Autumn and Spring terms we hold parents’ consultations and in the Summer term we send home detailed reports. We welcome contributions from home and provide stars for parents and carers to complete. The children take reading books home to share and can also access ‘bug club’ enabling further resources for enhancing reading. Throughout the year, there are parent’s meetings and open mornings where parents can find out how their child learns in school.
Community Links and the Wider World
Over the year, we arrange visits from members of the local community to support our topic work. We also arrange trips for children in the EYFS within the local community, for example visiting the library or local church. The children take part in educational visits linked to their topic work. Film clips, non-fiction texts and artefacts are also used to introduce new concepts in real-life contexts. We aim to develop the children’s awareness of other cultures by exploring different countries and celebrations.
Transition from Reception to Year One
In the Summer term, we begin a programme of transition to support the children with their move to Year One. This involves visits to the Year One classroom, discussion with current Year One children, walks to look at where they will enter school and opportunities to ask any questions about the next year. The school holds a ‘Move Up’ morning, giving the children a taste of their new class and also arrange a transition meeting for parents.
The Year One classroom is organised to reflect aspects of Reception provision, for example by the inclusion of learning zones. The first half term of Year One is based on the principles of the EYFS, allowing the children to feel secure in their new environment.
Food and Drink
We provide a ‘free flow’ snack area in the Reception classroom. A range of healthy snacks are available, supplied by “The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme”. Children are supported to wash their hands with soap before selecting a snack and pouring their own drink. The snack bar is accessible throughout the day, allowing the children to make decisions about when they are hungry and thirsty. Practitioners monitor who has accessed the snack bar using a name card system and remind the children to remain seated when eating and drinking. Fresh drinking water is available at all times.