Children in the Squirrel’s class follow the Foundation Stage curriculum and work towards achieving the Early Learning Goals. Teaching and learning activities provide young children with the opportunity to explore, experiment, plan and make decisions for themselves, enabling them to learn, develop and make good progress. Learning takes place both inside the classroom and in the outdoor learning areas.
There are seven areas of learning which provide a foundation for later achievement:
The Prime Areas:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Children learn how to work, play and solve problems together to become independent and confident learners, and learn to share, take turns and think about others.
- Communication and language
This involves giving children opportunities to: experience a rich language environment, developing their confidence and skills in expressing themselves, speaking and listen in a range of situations.
- Physical development
Children learn to move confidently using different apparatus both inside and outside. They are able to handle tools, objects and a variety of materials with control.
The Specific Areas:
- Literacy: Reading and writing
Literacy in the early years includes talking about books, print in the environment, early mark making and writing, as well as sharing books and reading.
Children are taught through practical activities to develop their understanding of number, measurement, pattern, shape and space.
- Knowledge and understanding of the world
Children find out about living things and the world around them. They talk about their families, friends and where they live, and they find out about other people’s lives, beliefs and attitudes. They learn to use ICT, including Bee Bots, iPads and computers.
- Physical development
Children learn to move confidently using different apparatus both inside and outside. They are able to handle tools, objects and a variety of materials with control. They learn about looking after their bodies encouraging them to be active and healthy.
- Expressive arts and design
Children communicate their feelings and imagination through dance, music, imaginative play and art.
None of these areas can be delievered in iosolation from the others. They are equally important and depend on each other. In each area there are Early Learning Goals that define the expectations for most children to reach by the end of the Foundation Stage.
Transition to KS1
The Foundation Stage curriculum is continued into Year 1 to ensure that children make a smooth transition from Foundation Stage to the national curriculum according to their individual learning needs.
In Early Years our intent is to provide a curriculum which values and promotes all areas of learning. We have designed our early years curriculum around a thematic approach. Children learn through play and first-hand experiences starting with themselves and the local community whilst exploring the wider world. We aim to provide a safe, interesting and happy environment where children can learn through a wide variety of activities. We will help them develop confidence and independence- encouraging children to join in discussions and planning. We encourage children to develop friendships – showing kindness, tolerance and respectfulness to others. They develop understanding of why behaviour rules are in place and recognise the impact that their behaviour has on others. Children are highly motivated and very eager to join in, share and co-operate with each other. They are encouraged to have high expectations of themselves and others by working together as a team.
We aim to continue the learning journeys from children’s home with close links forged through visits and regular communication. Our parent’s information board and weekly Squirrel News emails keeps everyone informed about our activities. By working with our parents we that children can fulfil their potential in all aspects of their development. Parents are encouraged to use their child’s Tapestry account to share photos of activities the children have taken part in outside of school, helping us to plan activities and experiences linked directly to children’s interests.
We begin by looking at the individual needs of our children and – taking into account their different starting points, we then carefully develop our flexible EYFS Curriculum which enables them to follow the path of their learning journey, at a point, that is suitable for their unique needs and stage of development. Our children are taught new experiences from a familiar starting point. Themes are chosen to interest and inspire, whilst promoting the acquisition and application of language through phonics, reading and writing. Children in the early years learn through areas of continuous provision that provide a balance of child-initiated learning and adult-led focused activities to develop the key characteristics of learning;
- 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.
Our school motto is ‘be curious’ we believe that children who feel safe, comfortable and valued have a natural inclination to explore – and thus to learn.
By ensuring that the content, sequencing and progression in the areas of learning are matched with high expectations of children we aim to develop happy, inquisitive and hard-working learners. By consolidating and deepening their knowledge, understanding and skills across the areas of learning, we enable children during this stage of their learning journey, whilst preparing them for the next stage.