Why is the Early Years Foundation Stage so important?
At St Saviour’s we believe that every child is a unique individual who deserves the best start in life and the support that enables them to reach their potential. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is an integral part of supporting each child by preparing them for future learning and successes in school and life. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences before the age of five will have a major impact on their future life chances and opportunities.
What we teach, how we teach it and what it looks like
In the Early Years Foundation Stage at St Saviour’s we provide a stimulating, rich and interactive learning environment. This is supported with a highly experienced teaching team that allows the children to gain a sense of self, exploration, play with peers, and to build confidence while learning. We use the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, Development Matters and Early Learning Goals for all of our areas of learning.
The Early Years Foundation Stage framework explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development and provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. This consists of 7 Areas of learning that are broken down into different aspects.
The prime areas of learning are the stepping stones to a child’s healthy development and future learning. As children grow, the prime areas will support their learning in the specific areas.
We believe the ways in which children engage with other people and their environment- playing and exploring, active learning and creating and critically thinking (the characteristics of effective learning)- fortify learning and development across all areas. At St Saviour’s we support each child to be an effective and motivated learner through the use of these characteristics.
In Early Years we cover a different broad topic each half term with specific weekly focuses. We use these topics to frame our learning of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and the end of key stage Early Learning Goals.These broad topics could be: Ourselves, Superheroes, Growing, Transport, A Specific Author, Dinosaurs, Pirates, Mythical Creatures, Festivals, Places and Homes, Water and more. We plan but adapt the topics based on the EYFS cohort’s interests.
Please click here to see this year’s topics.
We believe in a play based learning approach that centres upon each child’s development and progress. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking. It is very important that the children develop social skills, such as turn-taking, sharing and independence, which help them greatly in the next stages of their learning. The curriculum is centred around children’s interests with a balance of child-initiated and adult-led learning.
Phonics teaching and learning are a key part of the Early Years Foundation Stage and help to develop early reading and writing skills. We teach Phonics using Letters and Sounds.
If you visited the Nursery or Reception class, you would see a range of activities taking place such as role-play, practical games, playdough, sand, water, painting, cutting and sticking and reading in the book corner. You would also see children using bikes and scooters, going to the Forest School and exploring how to move their bodies in the outdoors.
How we record children’s learning
We use Tapestry for online profiles for each child. These include a mixture of independent, self-initiated, adult- initiated, adult supported activities and photographs, that evidence their progress and learning. Early Years staff and parents can create observations by recording photos, videos and words to demonstrate a child’s achievements and abilities. Observations are tied to the Early Years age related expectations, the Early Learning Goals and Characteristics of Effective Learning. Parents and teacher can comment on each other’s observations.
How parents can help
- Take a look at this document to get ideas for things to do at home with your child in their age range in each of the areas of learning.
- Read with your child regularly to help foster their love for reading and learning.
- Ask your child about what they are learning and support them by going on phonics sounds, tricky words and number hunts.
- Look at Tapestry, our online learning profile, to see what your child is doing at school.
- Record observations of your child’s learning experiences on Tapestry, our online profile system.
- Actively participate in parent teacher meetings, parent workshop and class open mornings.