The Pre-School and Reception children all learn within the Early Years Foundation Stage. We aim to provide stimulating, free-flow environments where a balance of adult-led and child-initiated play experiences are the foundation to everyday learning and development.
Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
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 a little bit 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.
Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
Here at Stoke Canon we learn across all seven areas of learning each day, often all at the same time. Below is a short explanation of this in practice.
Communication and Language: All individual children's levels of communication are well supported. We know how important it is to be able to communicate with each other, sharing ideas and knowledge. Children daily get the opportunity to share stories and rhymes. Language is all around us and is a fundamental part of our daily activities and role play, developing speaking and listening.
Physical Development: Children enjoy being active. Here we provide a range of activities that promote the development of gross and fine motor skills. We have PE sessions where we follow the leap into life programme and Reception also have sessions run by premier sports. The skills developed during these activities supports the development of pencil grip and control in preparation to begin writing and drawing. Children are also supported to become independent in their self care and have an understanding of taking care of their personal belongings.
Personal Social and Emotional Development: Our setting is a very relaxed, happy and safe place for children to grow and learn. We share celebrations together and support each other to explore and develop. Children share ideas about what they would like to learn and we provide resources and activities to scaffold this. Children are well nurtured to become confident to make friends, communicate their wants and needs and play freely. All children are included, valued and well supported.
Literacy: We provide a selection of books to suit age, interests and topics we are learning. Stories are shared each session and children also visit the school library choosing books to take home. During phonics we teach letters and sounds each session, developing the fundamental skills required for future reading, writing and learning. We have print displayed throughout the setting on posters, signs, labels, instructions and displays for children to explore.
Maths: Maths resources are available throughout the continuous provision There are lots of opportunities to learn numbers, shape, size, counting and talk about maths. Children enjoy singing counting songs counting up and down, using fingers to represent numbers. Children will notice and comment on numbers, shapes and patterns when exploring and investigating during activities and play. Reception children use the White Rose Maths scheme to guide their learning in small steps towards the ELG's.
Understanding the World: Opportunities are provided for children to talk freely about their homes, families and traditions. Our continuous provision provides homecorners to support this. Outside children have the opportunity to explore growth and change, bugs and insects. A good selection of construction is available inside and out for building, balancing and creating enclosures. Children will get to operate age appropriate IT resources and will ask to use the camera to capture their work. Reception children also use the Chrome Books once a week to become familiar with mouse and typing skills, through the playing of maths or phonics games.
Expressive Art and Design: Through activities and resources, we preovide many ways for children to express their creative skills and use their imagination. We enjoy circle games, exploring instruments and the different sounds they make, singing and dancing. Through open ended resources children display their imagination to build, balance and create with an adult nearby for support if needed.
Staffing: The staff all meet regularly across the EYFS to discuss children's learning and development. We then make plans for future learning taking into consideration children's individual needs, next steps and interests to rotate the continuous provision. Staff all receive regular training where necessary.
This guide is a great explanation of what children might be achieving at different ages, along with ideas for helping their learning and development. Here is an example:
What to expect, when
Characteristics of Effective Learning
Alongside WHAT children learn, we also think about HOW children learn, using the Characteristics of Effective Learning. All children learn and approach tasks differently.
Playing and Exploring - engagement
- Finding out and exploring
- Playing with what they know
- Being willing to have a go
- A 4 year old enjoys watching eater go through a water wheel and tries various juds before settling on one that pours neatly into the top. They have explored and played with something they know.
Active learning – motivation
- Being involved and concentrating
- Keeping trying
- Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
- A 3 year old gets out a jigsaw and looks carefully at which shapes match together, and will try various holes before finding the right place. They are concentrating and continue trying.
Creating and thinking critically - thinking
- Having their own ideas
- Making links
- Choosing how to do things
- A 2 year old wants a biscuit, so finds a chair to be able to climb up and get the biscuit tin. They have chosen what to do and come up with their own ideas.
We currently follow the Letters and Sounds scheme, which is a six-phase programme designed to help teach children to read and spell with phonics.
Phase One (Nursery /Reception)
The aim of this phase is to foster children’s speaking and listening skills as preparation for learning to read with phonics. We play lots of games that involve:
- listening to sounds in the environment, made by our voices and musical instruments,
- listening to the beginning (alliteration) and ending (rhyming) sounds in words,
- listening to each sound in a word, like c-a-t.
Parents can play a vital role in helping their children develop these skills, by encouraging their children to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do.
Phase Two – Four (Reception / Year One)
Phase Two is when systematic, high quality phonic work begins. During Phase Two to Four, children learn:
- How to represent each of the 42 sounds by a letter or sequence of letters.
- How to blend sounds together for reading and how to segment (split) words for spelling.
- Letter names e.g. through an alphabet song. (We believe it is generally best to leave teaching letter names until children are secure with the alphabet letter sounds, as these are what are important when learning to read with phonics.)
- How to read and spell some high frequency ‘tricky’ words containing sounds not yet learnt (e.g. they, my, her, you).
- How to form letters using pre-cursive strokes
The Letters and Sounds Programme suggests an order for teaching the letters, and a fast pace of one set per week. It recognises, however, that children’s personal experience of letters varies enormously. Most importantly, it progresses from the simple to the more complex aspects of phonics at a pace that is suitable for the children who are learning.
Here are a couple of guides to phonics terms and what children learn in each phase.