The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) marks a critical time in a child’s early development. All early years’ providers must comply with the Government’s Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, which sets out the standards for learning, development and care for children aged 0-5. The Framework identifies seven areas of learning and development, divided into prime and specific areas of learning.
The prime areas are:
- Communication and language (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).
- Physical development (providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food).
- Personal, social and emotional development (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).
The specific areas are:
- Literacy (reading and writing – encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write).
Mathematics (counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, describing shapes, spaces and measure).
- Understanding the world (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).
- Expressive arts and design (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).
By the time they reach the end of the EYFS stage, children should have achieved the 17 Early Learning Goals, which encapsulate the knowledge, skills and understanding they should have at the end of the academic year in which they turn five.
The Academy’s nursery provides children with a rich variety of learning and teaching experiences that are appropriate to their needs and interests and underpin all of their future learning. Through planned, purposeful play, children are able to discover, practise and refine their skills in literacy and mathematics, as well as find out about themselves and their environment. They practice and build up their ideas, learn how to control themselves and begin to understand the need for the rules that help them make sense of the world. They are encouraged to think creatively, independently and on their own.
The Early Years’ team work closely to deliver a curriculum which provides a balance across the areas of learning from nursery to the end of the reception year.
Observations are undertaken regularly, which then inform the Foundation Stage Profile. This is a national assessment tool and allows teachers to summarise children’s progress towards the Early Learning Goals.
Through the use of regular assessments, teachers are able to plan and deliver learning opportunities according to pupils’ needs. As a collection of assessment data is a statutory requirement, both teachers and other adults make regular observations and record their findings against the Foundation Stage Profile. During the first term in the Reception class, the teacher assesses the ability of each child, using the Foundation Stage Profile. These assessments allow staff to adjust the teaching programme for individual children and groups. The information contained in the profile is shared at our parental consultation meetings.