The early years of a child’s life are an important stage where the foundations for future development are established. In the Foundation Stage, we foster the child’s own interests, needs and stages of development and offer activities which extend, enrich and develop potential both inside and outside the classroom. Purposefully planned, playful activities and first hand experiences are the key to learning, laying the foundations for the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. There will be a mixture and an appropriate balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities, depending on the children’s age and stage of development. The Framework is based on four guiding principles which help to shape the Early Years Foundation Stage Policy.
- A Unique Child
- Positive Relationships
- Enabling Environments
- Learning and Development
All children across the Foundation Stage are assigned a key person. Staff must inform parents of who their child’s key worker is and explain the role. The key person has a special responsibility for a group of children, giving them reassurance to feel safe and cared for and to build relationships with their parents/carers by engaging and supporting parents/carers with their child’s development. The key person also focuses on their group of children’s learning and development, helping to track their progress through their learning diary and assessment sheets and tailoring learning to the needs of each individual.
The curriculum is carefully planned to ensure progression and continuity of skills in seven areas of learning. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. The three prime areas reflect the key skills and capacities all children need to develop and learn effectively in order to be ready for school. There are three prime areas:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- There are also four specific areas through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
In planning and guiding children’s learning, staff must reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice. Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
- 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.