At Nettleham Infant School we follow the statutory framework for EYFS, supported by non-statutory guidance set out in a document called Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
There are four themes that underpin all the guidance in the EYFS:
A Unique Child + Positive Relationships + Enabling Environments = Learning and Development
We also look for and encourage the development of the Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL), which thread through all areas of learning and support children to be effective and motivated learners. They are:
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
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
Creating and thinking critically – thinking
Having their own ideas
Choosing ways to do things
Learning in the EYFS framework is defined into seven areas, three prime areas and four specific areas. We focus on developing the children's skills in the prime areas first, and then the specific areas.
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development includes developing an awareness of self and others and a sense of caring. Children are encouraged to work as part of a group and understand and follow rules. Activities are planned which help children to become independent and to make decisions. Children learn that we respect differences in ethnicity, culture and individual needs.
- Communication and Language includes encouraging the children to become confident users of spoken language and promoting conversation skills. We work on listening and attention, understanding, and speaking.
- Physical Development focuses on improving the children’s skills in co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement. The children are presented with physical activities that challenge them to develop a wide range of skills. Large motor skills are used and practised through the use of climbing apparatus, balancing beams and the outdoor area. Children have the opportunity to throw, catch, run, jump, push, pull etc. Fine motor skills are promoted through a variety of activities and using equipment such as pens, paintbrushes, pipettes, tweezers and scissors.
- Literacy: reading to and with the children occurs all the time. We encourage enthusiasm and interest at school, and participation from home assists us teaching the children to read and turning them into readers. Writing is taught through activities such as puzzles and printing to encourage visual discrimination, playing at writing and then forming letters correctly. In Reception the children have short whole-class teaching sessions with shared books and other Literacy related activities.
- Mathematics provides the children with a range of opportunities to become competent in counting, sorting, matching, patterns, working with numbers, shape, space and measures and developing mathematical thinking. Staff develop children’s ability to talk mathematically and describe what they are doing. Children learn to organise their ideas and explain what they have done.
- Understanding the World includes ‘People and Communities’; we explore the local environment and cultures from around the world. We talk about past and present events, relive the past through role play, and find out about their own lives when they were babies. The children handle old artefacts and learn through stories. In ‘The World’ we discover living things and explore, investigate and solve problems. In ‘Technology’ we teach computer skills and use other technology to support our learning.
- Expressive Arts and Design includes Art, Music, Dance, role-play and imaginative play. Children plan and build models safely, using different materials and methods. Children are provided with a secure environment in which they can take risks, use their imagination, make mistakes and be adventurous.
Learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage
Our work in the Early Years Foundation Stage emphasises the value of play as the medium through which a child achieves most in the Early Years. Play motivates children to learn and helps them make sense of the world through direct experience. Through play, children can encounter all areas of the curriculum and develop their growing social skills. Through careful planning we ensure that the children have a wide range of challenging and stimulating experiences and play opportunities, which will excite their curiosity, interest and motivation. Planning includes outdoor play, which promotes and enables physical activities, encourages social and moral development and self-esteem and confidence, as well as providing for children who learn better outside and allowing children time to consolidate skills they have learned.
When planning for learning experiences and activities through play, we start with the child. We look at their needs, background, previous experiences and stages of development. Starting with the child ensures that all children are included in all activities and not denied opportunities because of gender, cultural background, social circumstances or special needs. We believe in equal access to the curriculum for all children. We also believe that children learn best when things have real meaning for them, so we plan for children's particular interests.