The Foundation Stage follows a unique curriculum that enables every child to have the best possible start in life. We understand that children develop at different stages to one another and we believe that our curriculum ensures every child reaches their full potential. At Lark Hill Primary School we believe that our Early Years Foundation Stage is crucial to developing firm foundations to be built upon throughout our school journey and beyond. It is our intent that the children who enter our EYFS develop physically, verbally, emotionally, creatively, intellectually and spiritually whilst embedding a positive attitude to school and learning in order for each child to achieve their full potential. We set high expectations throughout all areas of school life and beyond. We believe that all children deserve to be valued as an individual and we are passionate in supporting all children to achieve their full, unique potential. Our Reception class follow the EYFS curriculum, which has seven main areas of learning. At Lark Hill Primary School, we follow the new EYFS framework. Within the EYFS framework there are four guiding principles which shape our practice.
- Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured.
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
- Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
- Children develop and learn at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The 7 areas of learning in the EYFS
There are seven areas of learning and development in the EYFS. All areas are important and inter-connected. The three prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building positive relationships in order for them to thrive. The specific areas build upon the three prime areas and learning is strengthened and applied.
Prime Areas of Learning
- Communication and Language development of children's spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. This involves providing a language rich environment with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts. Through conversations, storytelling and role play, the children share their ideas with support and modelling from the EYFS team, and questioning invites them to elaborate.
- Physical Development is vital in children's all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. The EYFS team help children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility through providing play opportunities in both indoors and outdoors.
- Personal, social and emotional development is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive ability. This involves forming strong and supportive relationships with the EYFS team which enables the children to understand their own feelings and feelings of others. Children are also supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, develop friendships, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and to understand appropriate behaviour.
Specific Areas of Learning
- Literacy development is crucial to develop a life-long love of reading. This involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write using our Read, Write Inc. programme. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
- Mathematics is essential in developing a strong grounding in number so children develop the necessary building blocks to excel in Maths. This involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, to subitise, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
- Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community by increasing their knowledge and sense of the world through visiting local places and meeting important members of society. In addition, listening to a broad selection of books will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world.
- Expressive arts and design development supports the children's imagination and creativity. This involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities.
We implement these areas of learning by providing a safe, stimulating environment that allows children to discover, be challenged, consolidate and achieve their very best whilst developing their resilience and independence. There is a combination of adult-led, teacher taught, whole class, group and individual support. Throughout all of these areas of learning and at the heart of the EYFS Curriculum are the “Characteristics of Effective Learning”. We strive to develop these key characteristics of “Playing and Learning”, “Active Learning” and “Thinking Critically” in order to give the children the skills that they will continue to draw upon throughout their development. We get to know our families and children well and use their interests and knowledge to support and inspire our children’s knowledge and understanding of themselves, our local community and beyond. Our learning environments, both inside and outside are adapted to meet the different and developing needs of our children. We are passionate advocates for ensuring all of our children are able to share how they feel and work with them to support any worries or concerns they may have as we fully believe…'Happy Children Learn.'
Within our EYFS Curriculum, children are assessed through accurate observations informing future planning and children’s individual next steps in their learning. This enables us to ensure learning is embedded and consistent and that all children continue to make the best possible progress within our EYFS setting.
Parents are recognised as partners in their child’s learning journey, and we strive to ensure parents are fully informed and involved.
Our key principles are to:
- Ensure that the development of early reading skills and phonics is given the highest priority
- Provide developmentally appropriate provision / resources / curriculum
- Prioritise the Prime Areas of Learning – especially Communication, Language and Literacy
- Fostering a sense of awe and wonder through our provision and learning challenges
- Provide regular opportunities for parents to be involved and learn about their child’s learning journey
- Provide wider opportunities such as trips and visits to bring the learning to life and broaden children’ experiences
- Use formative assessment to inform ongoing daily planning and provision
- Create displays and floor books which celebrate children’s learning journeys and inform parents
Characteristics of Effective Learning
Achievement of these Areas of Learning is reached by putting the Characteristics of Effective Learning at the heart of all we do. This ensures all children are exposed to a broad and balanced curriculum. Children become self-motivated learners who embrace challenge and are inspired to learn. They are able to fulfil their potential and develop the skills necessary for success.
Playing and exploring – engagement: Finding out and exploring, playing with what they know, being willing to ‘have a go’
Active learning – motivation: Being involved and concentrating, keeping trying, enjoying achieving what they set out to do
Creating and thinking critically – thinking: Having their own ideas, making links, choosing ways to do things
These elements underpin how we reflect on each child’s development and adjust our practice accordingly. Supporting children in their individual learning behaviour and observing the context of children’s play is essential.
The Learning Environment
There is a seamless link between the indoor and outdoor learning environment which children access all day and in all weathers!
- In the EYFS children’s natural, exploratory drive is developed through their self-directed play.
- A child initiated (self initiated) activity is an activity wholly decided on by the child itself and is the result of an intrinsic motivation to explore a project, or express an idea.
- The learning environment is organised in such a way that children can find and access resources for themselves. This promotes independence and responsibility.
- We ensure that there is a balance of adult-led and freely chosen or child-initiated activities, delivered through indoor and outdoor play.
- Outdoor learning has equal value to indoor learning
- Outdoor learning has a positive impact on children’s well-being and development
Before your child even starts Lark Hill with want to ensure they are welcomed and feel happy about coming. Once they are here, we want to ensure this continues. We do this via
- A Home visit where every child receives a 'welcome mouse' to help with their transition.
- An induction meeting for parents in the summer term prior to joining the setting in September
- Visits to the school in the summer term.
- 'Seesaw’ accounts activated prior to starting. This is an on-line journal which helps staff and families celebrate their children’s learning and development.
- A settling in period
- Ensuring that children’s interests are reflected in provision enhancements - based on parent's and current settings information.
- ‘Stay and Play’ parent and child sessions
- Early identification of SEN
- A learning environment matched to the needs of individuals and the cohort
We use the online platform Seesaw which informs parents and captures moments of the child’s learning. Over time, it will tell a story about a child such as; their learning, friends and the activities they enjoy sharing with others. We also encourage parents to share experiences their child has done at home.
Our relationship with parents or carers is fundamental to our work in the EYFS. We nurture an environment of open communication and accessibility so that children can enjoy their Reception year to the full.
Transition into Year 1
- Before the children move from the Foundation Stage into KS1 the teaching staff meet to discuss each individual child’s progress.
- The child’s present teacher informs the future teacher of his/her level of ability, special educational needs and any other information relevant to the well being and development of the individual child.
- Year 1 teachers are therefore aware of all the children’s achievements and can implement the next steps of their learning
- The children have many opportunities to spend time with their new teacher to make their transition as seamless as possible.
- The Y1 curriculum builds on and extends the experiences children have had during the foundation stage.
EYFS to KS1 Bridging documents
Statutory Framework For the EYFS
Birth to 5 matters