Every student deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Students develop quickly in the early years and a students’ experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation students need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
The Early Years curriculum has four principles:
- every student is a unique student, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
- students learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
- students learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers; and
- students develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
The Early Years classes follow the British Framework for Early Years Stage 2014 which can be downloaded at www.foundationyears.org.uk
There are three core subjects and four foundation areas of learning in the Early Years National curriculum.
Physical development involves providing opportunities for young students to be active and interactive and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Students are also helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, social and emotional development involves helping students to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others, to form positive relationships, to 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.
Reading: students read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
Writing: students use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.
Mathematics involves providing students 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.
Numbers: students count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.
Shape, space and measures: students use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them
Understanding the world involves guiding students 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.
People and communities: students talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other students do not always enjoy the same things, and they need to be sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.
The world: students know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
Technology: students recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes
Expressive arts and design involve enabling students 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.
Exploring and using media and materials: students sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
Being imaginative: students use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.
The Early Years curriculum requires teachers to use an integrated approach to early learning and care of students. They develop their styles of learning through exploration, active learning, creating and thinking critically. Learning in our outdoor space is also important for the early years’ students. There are three characteristics of effective teaching and learning in Early Years:
- playing and exploring – student investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
- active learning – students concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; and
- creating and thinking critically – students have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
In the final term of the year in which the student reaches age five, the EYFS Profile will be completed for each student. The Profile provides parents and carers and teachers with a well-rounded picture of a student’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their progress against expected levels, and their readiness for Year 1.