The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum – A summary for parents and carers
When children start school they join our two reception classes, Red and Yellow Class. The learning that takes place in this year is planned and delivered using the ‘Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage’. This is a legal document published by the Government. (Refer to the full document for further details).
Teachers use the areas of learning and development within the document to deliver engaging lessons. They inspire children to be curious. Children learn to ask questions, try new challenges and use their creativity and imaginative skills. These lessons ensure that when children join Year 1 they have the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to successfully progress through school.
In 2015 Ofsted commented:
‘Children in the Reception classes make an excellent start to their schooling. Adults plan exciting activities which engage and stimulate their enjoyment for learning.’
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape the educational programmes we provide. Three 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 three areas are called the prime areas and they are:
- communication and language;
- physical development; and
- personal, social and emotional development.
Our school must 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 lessons teacher plan and deliver must involve activities and experiences for children, as follows.
- Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
- Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
- Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
- Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
- Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, 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 through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
- Expressive arts and design 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 in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
Teachers additionally use document that are non-statutory (this means they are not legally required) but they help teachers to develop their ideas and lesson plans to deliver the legal requirements of the ‘Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage.’ These documents are called:
- The Early Years Outcomes
- Development Matters
When teachers are planning and guiding children’s activities, they must provide lessons that accommodate the different ways that children learn. When you visit our reception classes you will see children engaged in activities that help them to develop the three characteristics that support effective learning. We know children learn at their best when they are:
- 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; and
- creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
Children at Broadway are often taught through investigating areas of particular interest to them, through first-hand experience, often linked to planned school trips that engender interest. Sometimes we invite special visitors into school so that children meet experts in a subject
After their first year in school children then move from Foundation Stage into Year 1 and then, the following year, move into Year 2. Both of these years together are known as Key Stage 1. During these years children are introduced to studying the subjects encompassed by the National Curriculum. Teachers deliver the curriculum through planned lessons that capitalise on stimulating curiosity in learning.
For more information about the curriculum in the EYFS please read the following documents: