EYFS (Nursery & Reception)
Early childhood forms the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. At Darnhall Primary School we greatly value the important role that the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) plays in laying secure foundations for future learning and development; however, we also believe early childhood is valid in itself, as part of life. It is important to view the EYFS as preparation for life and not simply preparation for the next stage of education.
All children begin school with a variety of experiences and learning. It is the privilege of the practitioners to take on the task of building upon that prior learning and experience. This is done through a holistic approach to learning, ensuring that parents/carers, support staff and teachers work effectively together to support children’s learning and development.
The EYFS is based upon four principles:
- A unique child
- Positive relationships
- Enabling environments
- Learning and development
- To provide a happy, safe, stimulation and challenging programme of learning and development for the children.
- To provide a broad balanced, relevant and creative curriculum to give firm foundations for future learning, fostering independence, self-confidence and decision making.
- To assess and value each individual child’s abilities and help them progress.
- To develop excellent relationships with parents/carers in order to build a strong partnership.
- To provide a caring and inclusive environment, with sensitivity to all children.
- To enable each child, through encouragement and high expectations, to develop to their full potential socially, physically, intellectually and emotionally.
Early Years Curriculum 2021
Changes to the EYFS framework became law in September 2021. Within this framework there are four guiding principles which shape are 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).
EYFS learning and development requirements
Our curriculum encompasses seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.
Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships, and thriving.
These are called the prime areas:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social, and emotional development.
Four areas help children to strengthen and apply the prime areas.
These are called the specific areas:
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
Throughout their time in the Reception Year our children partake in an ambitious curriculum which is designed in a sequential way to ensure progress towards the end of reception goals. These goals are defined as Early Learning Goals (ELGs).
Our curriculum incorporates learning through play, learning by adults modelling, by observing each other and through guided learning and direct teaching. It is also important to highlight that our plans are flexible to allow us to respond quickly to children’s new interests and/or needs.
Weaving throughout the EYFS curriculum are three Characteristics of Effective Learning.
- 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
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.
‘What children learn is important, but how children learn is even more important if they are to become learners in today’s society.’ Helen Moylett, How Children Learn, Nancy Stewart (2011)