Children learn about life through play. They try to make sense of the world by seeing, hearing and feeling. Children naturally explore, and investigate the environment around them.
In the Foundation Stage we hope to provide a happy and secure environment with a wide range of activities, materials and experiences. Children playing in such a stimulating environment are learning all the time, under the guidance of trained staff.
We understand that every child is a unique child who is constantly learning. We aim for our children to become resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships and staff work in partnership with parents and carers.
There are seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Four areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These four areas, the prime areas, are:
Communication and Language;
Physical Development; and
Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
We also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
Understanding the World; and
Expressive Arts and Design.
The areas of learning are delivered through planned, purposeful play with a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Learning takes place both in the classroom and outdoors.
Our Early years curriculum at St Maria Goretti is centered around the needs of the children and the community in which they live. The curriculum aims to provide first hand experiences whilst encouraging children to build resilience and become lifelong learners. Language and communication are at the core of everything that we do in the early years. Through a hierarchy of language approach the curriculum aims to enhance and embed the children’s use and understanding of vocabulary in all areas of their learning. The learning environment is the third teacher in the setting and is carefully planned and resourced in order to allow the children to become independent learners who are critical thinkers, problem solvers, creative learners and skillful communicators. With reading at the core of the curriculum the children will develop early reading skills and a lifelong love of reading.
Our curriculum follows the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early years Foundation Stage. The EYFS team uses formative assessment and their knowledge of each child to plan exciting and engaging activities that will capture the children’s curiosity and move their learning forward. A class theme will be followed during adult directed sessions which will include cross curricular links to promote transferable skills in all areas of the curriculum. As vocabulary will unpin the children’s learning, practitioners and the learning environment will use a hierarchy of language approach to embed and further enhance language progression. Individual children’s interests will also be followed, seeking and seizing opportunities where the teaching and learning can be maximised with the teacher as the facilitator. Through the approach of sustained shared thinking we enable the children to develop their own line of enquiry and share higher order thinking skills. Early year’s provision within the school will be a unique blend of guided, adult directed, whole class and child initiated play.
Language and communication are at the core of the early years curriculum. Staff consistently model a high level of standard spoken English engaging children in purposeful one to one and group conversations. Through the carefully planned learning environment including role play, small world and outdoor learning opportunities every moment of the day is an opportunity to develop language and communication skills. Those children who require additional opportunities are supported through targeted interventions.
The EYFS team collects evidence of children’s learning through observations, photos and videos which are shared with parents daily using the Tapestry online system. This means that parents can engage with children regularly about their learning and can contribute to the knowledge we have of the child in school.
We recognise that reading is a key to all other learning and ensure quality phonic sessions are being taught daily using the whole school approach of No Nonsense Phonics with children’s reading books matching their phonic ability as well as reading aloud to the children, telling stories and rhymes. We encourage parents to read with their child and to recognise the importance of reading to their child on a daily basis to promote an enjoyment and love of reading. We also recognise that children need a vast range of vocabulary in order to succeed in life.
By the end of the Early Years phase, our children will be equipped with skills that will give them a foundation for their future learning. Children will show good learning behaviours, and will have formed positive relationships with their peers and adults; they will be curious, independent, resilient learners with a strong sense of self. We endeavour to ensure that our children leave the EYFS ready to move with confidence into KS1 and their lifelong learning journey.
EYFS Key Vocabulary