Early Years Foundation Stage
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of the Reception year. In our school, children join us in Nursery from the September after they turn 3 and in Reception fulltime in the September of the year in which they turn five.
Teaching in Early Years is delivered in accordance with the government’s document, ‘The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’. It is an approach which brings together children’s welfare, developing relationships and learning and development. The curriculum is centred on Seven areas of learning, the prime and specific areas.
Prime Areas of learning:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
And Four Specific Areas
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
None of these areas can be delivered in isolation from the others. They are equally important and depend on each other. All areas are delivered through a balance of adult led and child initiated activities. In each are there are Early Learning Goals (ELG’s) that define the expectations for most children to reach by the end of EYFS/Reception.
These are underpinned by the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’, which show the learning styles of individual children.
Playing and Exploring – Children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
Active Learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
Creating and Thinking Critically – Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
At Keston we have our own Early Years 'Learning Skills' that relate to the Characteristics of Effective Learning. The children are encouraged to think about what makes them a good learner and are rewarded for displaying the skills.
Learning and Development
At Keston we believe that ‘Play’ is how children learn best. Play can be seen as;
Activities for the
‘Children’s play reflects their wide ranging and varied interests and preoccupations. In their play children learn at their highest level. Play with peers is important for children’s development.’
(Early Years Foundation Stage, Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2007)
Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. They have the opportunity to practise skills, develop ideas and think creatively alongside other children as well as individually. The children communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems. They have the opportunity to express fears re-live anxious experiences in controlled and safe situations.
‘When children have opportunities to play with ideas in different situations and with a variety of resources, they discover connections and come to new and better understandings and ways of doing things. Adult support in this process enhances their ability to think critically and ask questions.’
Children at Keston are given opportunity to be creative through all areas of learning, not just through the arts. Adults support the children’s thinking and help them to make connections by showing genuine interest, offering encouragement, clarifying ideas and asking open questions. Children in our Early Years classrooms can access resources freely and are allowed to move them around the classroom to extend their learning.
Our Nursery is part of the primary school and consists of two large bright classrooms with integral toilets and a large outdoor space, including a mud kitchen, digging and allotment area, and a large sand pit.
The Nursery provides spaces for 52 children. Children enter the Nursery in the September of the academic year in which they are 4 years of age. The children attend five days each week during school term time and are based in classes of 26, each with a full time teacher and a teaching assistant.
All children attend every morning session with an option to stay all day in sessional care, either through the government scheme for free 30 hours childcare, or by paying fees for the extended session.
The Sessional Care provision, which is managed by the Early Years Leader, is staffed by nursery nurses and teaching assistants – with an overall ratio of 1:8 (children with Special Educational Needs may be allocated additional adult support).
Our Reception year is comprised of two classes: Red and Blue. Each class has a maximum of 30 children and is staffed by a teacher and a teaching assistant. The classrooms have their own individual cloakroom and share integral toilets and a secure, outdoor learning environment.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is a vitally important stage of children’s early development as it is during these years that children begin to develop the learning attitudes, skills, social integration and independence on which they will build the rest of their education.