What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

The Early Years Foundation Stage focuses on the distinct needs of children from birth to end of the Reception year in school. The Early Years Foundation Stage has 7 areas of leaning and is designed to foster 3 Characteristics of Effective Learning within the child.

3 Prime Areas

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Learning- which focuses on building self- confidence and self- awareness, exploring ways for the children to develop confidence in managing their feelings and behaviour, and supporting them in making relationships with others.
  • Physical Development- which focuses……..fine motor development, enabling them to move confidently in a range of ways and handle equipment and tools effectively as well as developing their understanding of health and self- care.
  • Communication and Language-

4 Specific Areas

  • Literacy- in which children learn to read, write and understand simple sentences, demonstrate understanding about what they read and write, and learn and apply phonics and known words to reading and writing.
  • Mathematics- where children develop skills in number, counting reliably and ordering numbers to 2; solving problems involving doubling, halving and sharing. They learn to add and subtract as well as developing skill in mental maths strategies. Also, children an understanding of shape, space and measure.
  • Understanding the World- which focuses on the children developing their understanding of people and communities and the world around them.
  • Expressive Arts and Design- where children develop their skills in exploring and using media and materials, sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. The children also work on being imaginative and represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings.

3 Characteristics of Effective Learning

  • Playing and Exploring- children investigate and experience the world around them and ‘have a go.’
  • Active Learning- children concentrate, develop resilience and enjoy their achievements.
  • Creating and Thinking Critically- children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult- led and child- initiated activity both indoors and outdoors. Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults.

Assessment plays an important part in helping staff, parents and carers to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs, and to plan activities and support. Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process. It involves teaching staff observing children to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles, and to then shape learning experiences for each child. Families are kept up- to- date with their child’s progress, development and next steps though access to the print- outs of the online learning journal on Evidence Me; this at Parent Meetings or by request at a particular meeting. We encourage contributions from home to ensure we gather up a full picture of a child’s development in all areas.

At the end of the Reception year we use the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage Profile’ to report on the children’s achievements along with their Characteristics of Effective Learning.