Early Years Foundation Stage – Our Reception Curriculum
The Foundation Stage starts in pre-school from the age of three, and finishes at the end of the reception year in school. Our EYFS education is based on the following principles:
- it builds on what our children already know and can do;
- it ensures that no child is excluded or disadvantaged;
- it safeguards all children and provides caring and positive relationships between the adults and children;
- it provides a rich and enabling environment;
- it offers effective learning opportunities both indoors and outdoors;
- it encourages all children to reach their full potential.
- It ensures that children can develop the recommended ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning.’
- o Playing and exploring - engagement
- o Active learning - motivation
- o Creating and thinking critically - thinking
Through play, our children explore and develop an understanding of the world around them. They practise and build up their ideas, develop their social and communication skills and have the opportunity to think creatively. They do this alongside other children, with an adult as facilitator or on their own.
The EYFS Development Matters guidelines are used to plan effective learning opportunities, moving all children forward in their learning, no matter where their starting points are.
The Development Matters Guidelines are broken down into:
Prime Areas – Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development.
Specific Areas – Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
These 2 areas are then broken down further into 17 aspects – each with age related developmental stages – aiming towards achieving Early Learning Goals at the end of the reception year. The children are assessed at the end of the year, to see whether they are ‘emerging’, expected’ or ‘exceeding’ against all of the 17 Early Learning Goals. This is used to inform their transition into Year 1.
Prime Area – Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Making relationships – playing co-operatively, taking turns and forming positive relationships.
- Self-confidence and self-awareness – confidence to try new activities and speak in a familiar group.
- Managing feelings and behaviour – understanding the need for rules and talking about feelings.
Prime Area – Communication and Language
- Listening and attention – listening attentively in a range of situations and responding with relevant comments.
- Understanding – following instructions and answering ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions.
- Speaking – expressing themselves effectively and developing their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.
Prime Area – Physical Development
- Moving and handling – good control / co-ordination in large and small movements, and handling equipment and tools effectively - including pencils for writing.
- Health and self-care – healthy living, basic hygiene and personal needs.
Specific Area – Literacy
- Reading – enjoying books, reading words and sentences - using their phonic knowledge and knowing some common irregular words. Answering questions about what they have read.
- Writing – writing simple sentences that they can read back to others – spelling some words correctly and others phonetically plausible.
- Phonics is taught as a discreet subject, for 10-15 minutes every day.
Specific Area – Mathematics
- Number – counting forwards and backwards form 20 – including 1 more/1 less, adding and subtracting single-digit numbers, and solving problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.
- Shape, space and measure – developing language and problem-solving skills related to size, weight, capacity, time, position and money. Describing patterns and 2D and 3D shapes.
Specific Area – Understanding of the World
- People and communities – talking about past and present events, and knowing about similarities and differences between themselves and others.
- The world – identifying similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
- Technology – recognising a range of technology used in homes and schools, completing simple programs and selecting technology for particular purposes.
Specific Area – Expressive Arts and Design
- Exploring and using media and materials – singing, making music and dancing. Experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
- Being imaginative – representing their own ideas through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.
Each term is based around a chosen theme, to provide exciting role play opportunities, that will promote independent learning - particularly writing. However, there is still a lot of flexibility, and the role play area and the direction of our learning, may change throughout a term. This ensures that we are following the children’s interests and extending their ideas. Our topics encourage curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, engagement, motivation to learn and lots of fun!
Term 1: Houses and Homes
When the children first start school, a house is a safe and familiar role play area, for them to confidentially explore and make friends. We can also relate to their topic based conversations, because we have just been invited into their homes, during our home visits. Our topic develops into ‘The 3 Little Pigs’ with a story making and construction focus.
Term 2: Jungle Explorers
Our jungle role play area, encourages the children to become curious explorers, by camping, counting and recording the animals they find. We have a visit from ‘The Reptile Ranch’, and they bring a variety of jungle animals for us to touch and hold. This is a great way to develop their understanding of the world and their communication and language skills. The term ends with a busy Santa’s workshop, producing wrapped presents for their friends.
During terms 1 and 2, we also learn a different nursery rhyme each week, concluding with a cross-curricular nursery rhyme ‘dressing-up’ day. Being able to hear rhyme, is an important early literacy skill. We provide lots of opportunities to do this, through stories and traditional nursery rhymes, because many of them are now becoming lost and forgotten!
Term 3: Space
We want the long dark days, to encourage the children to look up into the night sky for star gazing and space exploration! Our role play area is a rocket/space station, and they learn lots of interesting facts about the solar system and space travel, alongside developing their creative imaginations through the discovery of aliens!
Term 4: Dinosaurs
Learning about the past through a ‘Dino Dig’ role play, allows the children to become palaeontologists, discovering clues about the past. We have a visiting 6ft dinosaur with us for the term, and she gets into a lot of mischief! We keep a diary of her adventures, and this provides the children with lots of motivated writing opportunities.
Term 5: Healthy Living / People who help us
Through a variety of visitors – a police car, fire engine, ambulance and a dentist – we provide lots of interest and enquiry. Our role play area starts as a Doctor’s surgery, but in the past, it has developed into a police station, hospital and a gym! They learn about healthy eating, exercise, growing up and what they might like to be when they are adults!
Term 6: Summer fun!
Warmer weather makes us think of holidays, time spent in our gardens (plants and mini-beast) and days at the beach. Our role play starts as an ice-cream parlour, but it has been known to develop into a souvenir shop and a garden centre.
‘Stay and Play’
We want to build up a good working partnership with our parents, so that they can support their child at home. Throughout the year we provide information sessions and ‘Stay and Play’ mornings - ‘Stay and Play Phonics’, ‘Stay and Play Maths’ and ‘Stay and Write’. Parents are then familiar with how we teach different areas of the curriculum in the classroom, and the EYFS end of year expectations.