Like all nurseries, pre-schools, reception classes and child-minders we must follow a legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS Framework).
The EYFS Framework exists to support all professionals working in the EYFS to help your child, and was developed with a number of early years experts and parents. Children develop more rapidly during the first five years of their lives than at any other time, which is why they are called 'the foundation years' – they are building blocks for life. During these foundation years, children’s health, maternal mental health, parenting style, learning activities and early education are all the influencing factors that can make a big difference to your child’s future.
The EYFS Framework sets out:
- The legal welfare requirements that everyone registered to look after children must follow to keep your child safe and promote their welfare
- The 7 areas of learning and development which guide professionals’ engagement with your child’s play and activities as they learn new skills and knowledge
- Assessments that will tell you about your child’s progress through the EYFS
- Expected levels that your child should reach at age 5, usually the end of the reception year; these expectations are called the “Early Learning Goals (ELGs)”
How will my child be learning?
The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will be learning to support their healthy development.
Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:
- Communication and language;
- Physical development; and
- Personal, social and emotional development.
These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning.
As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:
- Understanding the world; and
- Expressive arts and design.
These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it’s suitable for very young children, and it’s designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child’s unique needs and interests.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
PSED helps children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others. It allows them to form positive relationships, to develop social skills and manage their feelings. They begin to understand what is considered appropriate behaviour within groups and to have confidence in their own abilities.
This area also teaches children to respect themselves and others. It helps to develop social skills and helps them to form a good attitude to learning. Care and attention given by teachers help children to continue making positive relationships with others around them. Enabling environments provide opportunities for play and learning which help children embrace differences between themselves and others. Learning and development experiences are planned to promote all round holistic development for all children.
Communication and Language
This area of the curriculum provides opportunities for children to confidently develop their expressive skills. During their time spent at Little Oaks they experience a rich language environment and practice speaking and listening in a range of situations. This, in turn, ignites children’s interest in reading and writing.
Positive relationships, made with adults and other children, help develop communication and language skills. Teachers role -model good communication skills and give time to children to share their thoughts and ideas. Enabling environments should contain signs, symbols, words, songs and notices. They also have books and pictures that take into account interests, backgrounds and cultures.
At Little Oaks we provide lots of opportunities for our children to be active and interactive. This helps to develop their co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement. Children are helped to understand the importance of physical activity and how to make healthy choices.
Positive relationships made between teachers and children help support their understanding of exercise, sleep and eating to promote health. Both indoor and outdoor enabling environments should provide activities to specifically encourage energetic physical play. Snack and lunch sessions help promote social skills and the importance of making healthy food choices. Teachers should always lead by example.
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems and other written materials) to ignite their interest. Games such as ‘find the object starting with a sound’ help children to learn how to read and write. Through positive relationships, we give children the time and space they need to practice without the fear of getting it wrong. Patience and encouragement from teachers allow children to explore writing and reading through every day play. Enabling environments provide children with resources and time to look at books, notice signage and pretending to write – such as lists and notebooks. Time spent in the classroom during small group activities gives children time to learn and develop.
At Little Oaks we provide children with endless opportunities to develop and improve their skills in; counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and to describe shapes, spaces and measure.
We provide children with opportunities to explore, practise, learn and talk which allows them to gain in confidence and competence. Positive relationships made with teachers give children confidence to use mathematical words and ideas in their play. At Little Oaks we enable the environment to ensure resources for counting, calculating and shape are available indoors and outdoors. Stories, songs and imaginative play help with mathematical understanding and give opportunities all children to learn and develop.
Understanding the World
This involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through exploration and observation of their surroundings, both inside and out. Providing children with these opportunities allows them to find out about people, living things, places, technology and the environment.
Through positive relationships (teachers, parents and carers) children’s worldly experiences are extended. Enabling environments provide children with opportunities to listen to and use open-ended questions such as “How can we..?” and “What would happen if…?”. First-hand experiences give children time to observe, predict, make decisions and discuss which in turn progresses their overall learning and development.
Expressive Arts and Design
We enable children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. In addition, we provide opportunities and encouragement for children to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, design and technology.
Children’s curiosity and play is developed at Little Oaks through exploration and sustained shared thinking. Positive relationships made with children allow them to value their own unique ideas and those of others rather than reproducing those of someone else. Our indoor and outdoor environments should be stimulating so that children can express themselves through various types of representation.