Curriculum

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The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework

The EYFS framework is the statutory document that provides adults with a structure through which they can monitor children’s progress and ensure that any gaps in a child’s learning are addressed. The framework comprises seven areas of learning and the important characteristics that ensure that children develop positive attitudes to learning.

The seven areas of learning are divided into seventeen strands, which build the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to achieve the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception. The seven areas are grouped into prime areas which have to be secure first and the specific areas that build on the prime areas, once the children are developmentally ready. The characteristics of effective learning focus on how children learn, supporting them to develop an active, can do approach to each challenge that they face.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework

The EYFS framework is the statutory document that provides adults with a structure through which they can monitor children’s progress and ensure that any gaps in a child’s learning are addressed. The framework comprises seven areas of learning and the important characteristics that ensure that children develop positive attitudes to learning.

The seven areas of learning are divided into seventeen strands, which build the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to achieve the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception. The seven areas are grouped into prime areas which have to be secure first and the specific areas that build on the prime areas, once the children are developmentally ready. The characteristics of effective learning focus on how children learn, supporting them to develop an active, can do approach to each challenge that they face.

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The prime areas of learning

The three prime areas ignite children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and build their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive:

Children learn to interact with other children and adults.

They learn to take turns and share fairly, to play together, to wait for a turn as they play and in conversation and they begin to understand how to resolve conflicts, with reducing support. Their self-confidence develops, enabling them to speak confidently to others, to talk about life at home, to ask for help when they need it and to recognise their own strengths. They learn to tolerate delay and to understand the needs of others. They can recognise and talk about their feelings and they learn to be kind and gentle to their friends.

Changes in routine become easier as they learn to adapt their behaviour to different events and social situations. With support, they begin to understand the rules and boundaries and to work within them with increasing independence.

Children learn to listen to others, 1-1 or in small groups. As they mature, they become able to listen to and recall stories and to anticipate what might happen next. In time, they are able to follow stories without pictures or props. They enjoy rhyming games and join in with repeated refrains. Gradually, they become able to focus their attention and to listen to others, even if they are busy! As their skills develop, they learn to concentrate and sit quietly during appropriate activity. Children learn meanings of words including prepositions and this, combined with their developing understanding of how objects are used, enables them to follow instructions that involve two-part sequences. They begin to understand humour.

Children become skilful speakers, using talk to connect ideas, to explain and to question. They recall events in the correct order and they use tenses, and intonation together with their growing vocabulary to express their thoughts, and ideas and later to introduce a storyline in their play. As they mature, their language use becomes more complex; they are more aware of their listener and more able to stick to a theme, connecting their thoughts and ideas.

Children learn to move with increasing control, adjusting speed and negotiating obstacles. They climb, balance, jump, run, skip etc. developing physical strength, including their core strength. They learn to control a ball by bouncing, kicking, patting and throwing, so building their hand eye-co-ordination and tracking skills. They develop their fine motor control, firstly by using large arm movements, later refining these movements as they learn to use and control tools, including scissors and pencils. As these physical skills develop, they begin to draw anticlockwise circles, gradually learning to form recognisable letter shapes, some of which are correctly formed.

Children become increasingly independent in their self-care skills, learning to use the toilet and follow hygiene practices as well as getting dressed with increasing independence. They understand the importance of food, drink, exercise and sleep in maintaining good health and they know which foods are healthy and which should be regarded and an occasional treat. Children learn about how to keep themselves safe and how to take appropriate safety measures when using tools and equipment.

The specific areas of learning

Through the four specific areas, the prime areas are strengthened and applied:

Children develop curiosity about print in books and in the environment. They learn about story structure and talk about settings, characters and events, suggesting ways that a story might end. They listen to stories and rhymes in groups with increasing attention and recall. They know that print carries meaning and they use books carefully. They are interested in rhyme, rhythm and alliteration and as their skills develop they become able to hear and say the sounds in words, blend sounds to make simple words and segment the sounds in simple words. They learn to link sounds to letters and once all of these skills are securely in place, they become able to read words.

Once children know that print carries meaning, they begin to understand the difference between writing and drawing. At this time, they will give meaning to the marks that they make, showing this understanding, for example this is a picture of Daddy or I have written a shopping list. As their developing physical skills and their understanding of sounds, letters and words combine with their knowledge of books, they become able to apply this knowledge, using identifiable letters to represent sounds correctly as they begin writing.

Children learn to recite numbers, to count objects and actions with increasing accuracy and to recognise some numerals, sometimes correctly matching them to quantity. Understanding number involves frequent practising of these skills in different contexts. Knowing one more or one less than a given number enables children to begin to make simple calculations. Knowing that a quantity stays the same even when rearranged, understanding that the last number counted is the total number in a group and being able to look at an arrangement of objects and know how many items are there, without counting are just some of the skills that children need to learn in order to really understand number.

Children also learn about the properties of shapes, learning their names and considering their possible uses. They learn to use mathematical language as they compare weight, height, capacity and length. They learn to order and sequence familiar events and begin to use language relating to time or money.

Children are encouraged to talk about their own lives and those of family and friends. They make comparisons between different ways of life and occupations. They enjoy joining in with family customs and routines and develop an understanding and tolerance of other people’s beliefs and choices. They understand that they are unique and can talk about similarities and differences relating to family and friends.

As their understanding of growth, decay and changes over time develops, so they learn to show care and concern for living things, the natural world and the environment. They can talk about things that they have observed, especially in the natural world and they ask questions about where they live and the world around them. They look closely at similarities, differences pattern and change.

Children use technology with increasing independence. They know how to operate simple technological equipment. They know that information can be retrieved from a computer and they learn to complete a simple program on a computer.

Children sing songs, dance and explore rhythm and movement in response to music. They investigate how sounds, colours and textures can be changed. They use a range of construction materials to construct, learning skills in joining, balancing and later planning to achieve their desired effect and adapting their work where necessary. They learn to select and use the appropriate tools and techniques for their chosen task.

As well as learning to express their ideas through music and dance, children engage in imaginative role play and play with small world toys. They start to explore their first-hand experiences in their play and then begin to introduce storylines and narratives, together with ideas taken from their experiences of books and stories. They engage with other children exploring similar themes and they use available props to support their imaginative play.

"Creativity has been well and truly sparked! They have learnt so much about the world around them. You have given them a big love of reading."
Parents Reception 2019