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Early Years and Foundations Stage

INTENT

At Okehampton Primary School, we follow the Early Years Foundations Stage Statutory Framework; setting learning, development and care for children from birth to 5 years.

 

Aims
At Okehampton Primary School, our approach recognises the very best practice in Early Years Education, ensuring a safe, happy and secure environment for children to develop and grow. Our curriculum is planned completely through play. Children move through the Foundation Stage at their own pace with Reception children getting support through a more structured curriculum during the day. However, the younger ‘Nursery’ children are welcome to join in with these sessions, giving them an excellent foundation for their future learning. Each child is supported according to their needs whether that be needing additional support or the need to be challenged; continuity and progression are ensured. Our free flow approach between ‘Nursery’ and ‘Reception’ helps our children transition smoothly and successfully into Reception.

 

Here at Okehampton Primary School, our provision of learning and development within the EYFS is in partnership with parents and/or carers to promote learning and development of all children in our care and to ensure they are ready for Year 1. We will guide the development of the children in our care through the EYFS to ensure that they benefit fully from the opportunities ahead of them.

 

This includes the seven areas of learning and development and the educational programme (described below), the early learning goals, which summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that all young children should have gained by the end of the reception year and the assessment requirements of the children's achievements and progress, which will be discussed with parents and/or carers).  

 

 

Introduction to EYFS

 

1. Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.

 

2. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

 

3. The EYFS seeks to provide:

quality and consistency in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind

a secure foundation through planning for the learning and development of each individual child, and assessing and reviewing what they have learned regularly

partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers

equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported

 

4. The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. The learning and development requirements cover:

• the areas of learning and development which must shape activities and experiences (educational programmes) for children in all early years settings

• the early learning goals that providers must help children work towards (the knowledge, skills and understanding children should have at the end of the academic year in which they turn five)

assessment arrangements for measuring progress (and requirements for reporting to parents and/or carers)

 

5. The safeguarding and welfare requirements cover the steps that providers must take to keep children safe and promote their welfare.

 

Overarching principles

 

6. Four guiding principles should shape practice in early years settings. These are:

• every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured

• children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships

• children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.

• importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates. (See “the characteristics of effective teaching and learning” at paragraph 1.15 of the EYFS Statutory Framework). The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

 

 

The specific areas - through which the three prime areas (communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development) are strengthened and applied are:

  • Literacy - encouraging children to develop their spoken language by linking sounds and letters, encouraging them to read and write. You can read more on what we offer, here at Okehampton Primary School on reading and writing on the coloured text links.
  • Mathematics - providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures. You can read more on what we offer, here at Okehampton Primary School, here.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

‚ÄčEach area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Play is essential for children’s learning and development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. We respond to each child’s needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction.
 
Continuous Provision is how we plan our learning environment. The purpose of continuous provision is "to continue the provision for learning in the absence of an adult".  Each and every part of our learning environment has been carefully planned to meet and challenge the development needs of our children.

Learning opportunities are carefully planned around the interests of the children so they can lead, take ownership and become immersed in their learning. We support the children to develop their skills progressively in exciting, fun and creative ways to achieve the highest standards possible. We also provide 'hooks' or 'scenarios' to support their ideas and to really engage the children in their new learning experiences.

As well as our indoor provision, our outdoor provision provides varied and exciting experiences. This includes our mud kitchen, outdoor learning area and access to a well-planned outdoor space which offers the children those experiences only available in the natural world.

 

The areas of learning and development 

The areas of learning and development 1.3. There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.

1. Communication and Language The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children's language effectively. Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures

2. Personal, Social and Emotional Development Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive 9 relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children should be supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary. Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently. Through supported interaction with other children, they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably. These attributes will provide a secure platform from which children can achieve at school and in later life.

3. Physical Development Physical activity is considered vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination, which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.

4. Literacy It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing)

5. Mathematics Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding - such as using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting - children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.

6. Understanding the World Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.

7. Expressive Arts and Design The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.

EYFS Curriculum Overview

Please head over to Curriculum Overviews to view the EYFS content.

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