Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
We recognise that the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) of education for children has a distinct identity and is fundamental in providing an essential base, both academically and socially, for a child’s education.
Our aims for the EYFS:
- provide a well-planned, carefully-structured and resourced curriculum, in partnership with parents and carers, to take children’s learning forwards and to provide opportunities for all children to succeed in an atmosphere of care where they feel valued;
- provide a welcoming environment for children and their families;
- ensure that all children feel included, secure and valued;
- establish positive relationships with parents;
- keep parents well informed about the curriculum and their child's progress;
- build on what children already know and can do and celebrate achievement;
- help children make links in their learning;
- stimulate positive attitudes and dispositions to learning;
- encourage independence;
- value children's interests, providing a balance of direct teaching and child-initiated activities;
- help children build friendships and learn to co-operate with each other;
- provide a solid foundation in the six areas of learning through well-planned, rich and stimulating experiences;
- make careful observations in order to support and extend children's learning appropriately;
- to ensure that children with special educational needs are identified and receive appropriate support.
The EYFS Curriculum
There are seven areas of learning and development in the Foundation Stage. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
- Communication and Language (CL);
- Physical Development (PD);
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED).
Children are also supported in the following specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
The specific areas are:
- Literacy (reading & writing) (L);
- Mathematics (Number & Shape, Space and Measure) (M);
- Understanding the World (UW);
- Expressive Arts and Design (EAD).
The ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’:
- 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;
- creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
The EYFS Curriculum Areas - What do children learn?
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
This area of learning 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;
- to have confidence in their own abilities.
PSED development feeds into all subjects of the national curriculum. We ensure that the fundamental British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs are already implicitly embedded in our practice. An example of this is when the children share views on what the theme of their role play area could be with a show of hands, this is democracy in action.
This area of learning involves providing opportunities for young children to:
- be active and interactive;
- to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement.
We have a well-developed outside area where the children are able to develop physically through large movements. The children will also develop their fine motor control so that they are able to hold a pen/pencil and use it to form recognisable letters. They will understand how their bodies feel when they exercise and will begin to gain more control when using different P.E. equipment.
Communication and language
This area of learning involves giving children opportunities to:
- experience a rich language environment;
- to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves;
- to speak and listen in a range of situations.
We give the children opportunities to talk and listen to each other in a variety of situations inside and outside and we encourage good communication skills through clear modelling.
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write.
We provide writing resources for both indoor and outdoor play enabling a range of opportunities to write for different purposes about things that interest children. We plan enjoyable, motivating activities and games, that help children create rhyming strings of real and imaginary words.
Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest. We have a language rich environment to enable print to be seen inside and outside. We provide daily systematic synthetic phonics sessions. These are multisensory in order to capture their interests, sustain motivation and reinforce learning.
Maths involves providing children with opportunities to:
- develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers;
- calculate simple addition and subtraction problems;
- describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
The children have opportunities to explore number, shape, space and measure inside and outside.
Understanding the World
Understanding 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.
The children enjoy observing the environment outside change, watching the leaves fall, animals, birds and insects emerge. We take care to protect and respect our natural environment, finding ways to nurture and encourage the animals and plant life.
Expressive arts and design
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.
You can download a guide to the EYFS framework and what typical development looks like in each area of learning here.
The EYFS at St Peter's - Maple & Willow Classes
Learning in our Early Years classes is a joyous journey of discovery. Children are active participants in their learning, acquiring new knowledge and skills, developing their thinking, taking and managing risks and working independently and in groups.
We recognise that children in the EYFS learn through a careful balance of play and direct experiences, through exploring and being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
The children enjoy a wide range of activities, learning through whole-class inputs, group work and one-to-one focused learning activities. There are opportunities for adult- and child-initiated activities every day, linked to themes taken from the children’s interests and ideas. We encourage independence of thought and choice of activity throughout the EYFS, as we believe this allows children to develop the skills that they need to become successful learners and to reach their full potential.
Carefully planned experiences across the curriculum capture the children’s imagination and build on their developing skills across the year.
The EYFS environment:
The learning environment across the EYFS is designed to reflect the seven areas of learning. Each class has a writing/mark making area, role play area, creative and small world areas and a 'Snack Shack' . Resources to inspire children to read, write and explore mathematical concepts are always available. Each classroom also has carpet areas for whole class sessions, space for group work and an interactive white board.
Our classrooms link together so that children can move freely around the space, accessing areas for creative development, sand and water exploration and technology.
Our shared outdoor area is accessible from both classrooms and children are able to work inside and outside in all types of weather. Children enjoy a large range of physical activities as well as a mud kitchen, a digging area, a static climbing frame, a music area and a wildlife garden.
They also have opportunities to cook, make art and music and create with modelling equipment and woodwork.
The children have a weekly apparatus session where they develop balance and co-ordination skills and can climb, hang and swing.
When children need to, they are able to help themselves to a healthy snack from a selection of fruit, vegetables or toast which they prepare and serve themselves. Milk and water are also always available.
Partnership With Parents
How will I know how my child is doing?
On entry to Reception the children are assessed through a mix of observation and working with an adult using objectives from 'Development matters', a document for the foundation stage.
Their progress is then tracked across the year termly and children's achievements are shared with parents through each child's 'Mid Term Review' on Tapestry. Observational notes are used to inform teachers’ judgements about a child’s development as well as discussions with parents and carers.
The Foundation Stage Profile is completed for each child towards the end of the Reception year and the results reported to parents as part of the end of year report. Each child’s level of development is assessed against the early learning goals. Your child's teacher will indicate whether they are meeting expected levels of development, or if they are exceeding expected levels, or not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’).
How can I help at home?
Click here for this week's Home Learning newsletter
Come and Learn with me
These ‘Come and Learn with me’ presentations give information about some of the areas of learning:
Come and Learn with Me – Physical Development
Come and Learn with Me – Writing
Come and Learn with Me – Mathematics
Come and Learn with Me – Characteristics of Effective Learning
Tapestry Online Learning Journal
Your child’s ‘Tapestry’ online learning journal will be available for you to share with them at home, which is a great way of talking about what they have been working on in school. If you cannot access the online learning journal you are welcome to pop in after school any day to look at their paper copy or use our tablets in class.
Guides to using the Tapestry online learning journal for parents/carers can be found here:
Parent/Carer Tapestry guide
Tapestry Apple app help guide
Tapestry Android help guide