Learning in the Early Years
The Early Years Curriculum
The revised Early Years Foundation Stage (Early Years Foundation Stage, DCSF, 2008) came into statutory force in September 2012. It provides both a statutory framework; setting out the legal requirements relating to learning, development and welfare; and practice guidance which sets out three prime and four specific areas from birth to five which are;
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Understanding The World
- Expressive Arts and Design
The principles which guide our work are grouped into four themes;
A Unique Child Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
Positive Relationships Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving secure relationships with parents and a key person.
Enabling Environments The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.
Learning and Development Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of learning and development are equally important and inter-connected.
Within this framework we develop learning experiences which allow children to build on their own experiences and interests. The nursery school produce a termly plan which identifies possible learning based on seasonal events, festivals, and things significant for the children e.g. ‘starting school’. Look out for the ‘parents planning sheet’ available in the school reception area.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
This is critical for very young children in all aspects of their lives and gives them the best opportunity for success in all other areas of learning. This area of learning is about emotional well-being, knowing who you are and where you fit in and feeling good about yourself. It is also about developing respect for others, social competence and a positive disposition to learn.
- We want to ensure that all children have the opportunity to develop positive attitudes towards themselves; be self-assured with a positive sense of self-esteem.
- We also want children to develop joy in exploring and discovering the world around them; developing positive attitudes towards learning; to be excited and motivated; interested and curious; willing to take risks in order to discover and learn. Ultimately we want children to be confident, enthusiastic, and independent learners.
‘Communication & Language’ and ‘Literacy’ Development
This includes communication, speaking and listening in different situations and for different purposes, being able to read a wide range of books and reading simple texts and writing for a variety of purposes.
• We want all children to develop their communication, speaking and listening skills so we create a wide range of exciting and stimulating situations and opportunities for them to develop in confidence and ability.
• We want all children to develop a joy for literature and a positive attitude towards their own abilities in literacy; to be confident and enthusiastic in developing their mark making and excited in beginning to decode literacy.
This is about improving skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement. Physical development has two other very important aspects. It helps children gain confidence in what they can do and enables them to feel the positive benefits of being healthy and active. Effective physical development helps children develop a positive sense of well-being.
• We want all children to feel confident, competent and skilful. We provide a wide range of equipment and activities that will encourage the development of both fine and gross motor skills.
• We believe that movement and sensory experiences are vitally important for young children’s learning and provide plenty of space for outdoor play and exciting sensory materials.
This includes counting, sorting, matching, seeking patterns, making connections, recognising relationships and working with numbers, shapes, space and measures. Mathematical understanding is developed through stories, songs, games and imaginative play so that children can enjoy using and experimenting with numbers, including numbers larger than ten.
• We want all children to show curiosity about the maths in the everyday things they do, and become inspired to use and apply mathematical concepts enthusiastically and confidently throughout their play.
• We want children to develop a positive attitude towards their own abilities to reason, question and problem-solve.
Understanding the World
This involves developing the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help children to make sense of the world. This forms the foundation for later work in science, design and technology, history, geography and information and communication technology.
• We want children to develop positive attitudes towards learning; to be curious and interested; observant and questioning; predict, experiment and interpret, to care and be responsible.
• We want all children to develop a passion for the exploration and investigation, developing a sense of awe and wonder for the world around them.
Expressive Arts and Designs
This is fundamental to successful learning. Being creative enables children to make connections between one area of learning and another and so extend their understanding. This area of learning also includes art, music, dance, role play and imaginative play.
• We are passionate in supporting children’s creativity and want all children to become confident and independent in their thinking and their learning.
• We encourage children to explore their own interests, supported through a wide range of experiences and activities that remain over days or weeks, uninterrupted, to allow children time to develop and extend their skills, knowledge and understanding.
We plan experiences which relate to other activities; encouraging and developing links for children in their learning – supporting and enhancing learning.
For further information on developments in early years curriculum refer to www.education.gov.uk