The Early Years and Foundation Stage (EYFS), covering Nursery and Reception years, curriculum is based on the understanding that children develop rapidly during this stage of their learning – physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. It is the base on which children build the rest of their lives and it is not viewed as simply a preparation for the next stage of development.
Pupils in the Foundation Stage learn best through staff providing experiences that build on and extend children’s own interests and experiences. Pupils are influenced by everything in their environment, they use their senses to explore and make sense of the world around them. They learn best through imaginative and meaningful play.
Early Years Education Pedagogy
There are four principles that underpin all pedagogy applied within the EYFS.
- A Unique Child
- Positive Relationships
- Enabling Environments
- Learning and Developing
The early years experience builds on what children already know and can do and planned, purposeful activities engage children in the learning process.
The Early Years team:
- structures the curriculum to meet children’s individual needs;
- creates a learning environment that is well-planned and organised;
- ensures that children feel secure, included and valued;
- provides rich and stimulating experiences;
- values parental cooperation;
- has a key person who provides a link between home and school;
- initiates planned activities;
- values child-initiated activities.
Teaching and learning
There are seven areas of learning, three Prime and four Specific areas, in addition to the three characteristics of learning. All staff develop pupils by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the ‘prime’ and ‘specific’ areas of learning and development. The prime areas begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas.
The Characteristics of Effective Early Learning
The characteristics of effective learning are the factors which play a central role in children’s development.
Playing and exploring
- Finding out and exploring
- Playing with what they know
- Being willing to ‘have a go’
- Being involved and concentrating
- Keep trying
- Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
Creating and thinking critically
- Having their own ideas
- Making links
- Choosing ways to do things
The prime areas are fundamental to a child’s development throughout the EYFS. They are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development - Making relationships, developing self-confidence, independence and self-awareness
- Physical Development - Moving and Handling and Health and Self-care
- Communication and Language - Listening and Attention, Understanding and Speaking
The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society. They are:
- Literacy - Reading and Writing
- Mathematics - Numbers and Shape Space and Measure
- Understanding the World - People and Communities, The World and Technology
- Expressive Arts and Design - Exploring and Using Media and Materials and Being Imaginative
It is through a stimulating environment and the process of play where children explore, investigate, recreate and understand the world in which they live. It is a vital component of children’s lives and is the medium through which skills can be explored, developed and practised.