The Early Years are a uniquely important and precious time in a child’s life and should be valued as such. They lay the foundations for all future learning and provide the base on which everything else builds. The children’s experience in their early years has a major impact on their future life chances. Ivy Lane School recognises that all pupils should feel happy, secure, confident and valued as individuals in their learning environment. Through partnership with parents we recognise the role of the family in the child’s life is of particular importance. In liaising with pre-school agencies we aim to develop and build on the child’s previous learning experiences.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework at Ivy Lane aims to be broad and balanced and develop the whole child. Through planning within the Early Learning Goals we aim to achieve a balance of adult directed and child initiated activities where the child can be spontaneous and creative. The curriculum is designed so that learning can be experienced both inside and out of the classroom. The role of the adult is crucial here in supporting, extending and developing these activities. To ensure breadth, balance and continuity for all, we continually assess children’s learning using a variety of methods such as observations, comments and work they produce when guided and working unsupported.
Through the EYFS we aim to develop the principles of learning through the 7 areas of learning and development. These consist of three prime areas of learning and four specific areas, and the three learning characteristics, set out below:
The prime areas of learning:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social and emotional development
The specific areas of learning:
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
The learning characteristics:
By playing and exploring:
- Finding out and exploring
- Using what they know in their play
- Being willing to have a go
Through active learning:
• Being involved and concentrating
• Keeping on trying
• Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
By creating and thinking critically:
- Having their own ideas
- Using what they already know to learn new things
- Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways
Through our core offer in our provision we endeavour to create a fun and stimulating learning environment where children thrive and always strive to do their best. We support children to develop strong friendships and be able to self-regulate their emotions and behaviour. Through daily story time we encourage a love of reading and provide children with an enriched vocabulary to become confident in oracy. Our stimulating learning environments both indoors and outdoors support children to develop a sense of awe and wonder in the world around them.
EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION CURRICULUM
The EYFS framework sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five. It is organised into seven areas of learning and development. The Early Learning Goals establish expectations for most children to reach by the end of the Foundation Stage. The stages within developmental matters identify the progress towards the Early Learning Goals. Developmental matters and Early Learning Goals are used to inform our planning, alongside on-going formative assessments.
‘Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments.’ Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Department of Education Page 2.
COMMUNICATION, LANGUAGE AND LITERACY
This area of development involves giving children opportunities to speak and listen in a range of situations and to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves.
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
This area of development involves helping young 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.
Development in this area encourages children to read and write, both through listening to others reading, and being encouraged to begin to read and write themselves. Children are given access to a wider range of reading materials – books, poems, and other written materials, to ignite their interest.
Development in this area involves providing the children with opportunities to practise and improve their skills in counting numbers, calculating simple and subtraction problems, and to describe shapes, spaces and measures.
UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD
This involves guiding the 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.
This area of learning supports 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.
This is an integral part of our Foundation Stage Curriculum. Through play children can develop all areas of learning. Through play children can:
- Explore, develop and represent learning experiences that help them make sense of the world.
- Practise and build up ideas, concepts and skills.
- Learn how to control impulses and understand the need for rules.
- Be alone, alongside others or co-operate as they talk or rehearse their feelings.
- Take risks and make mistakes.
- Think creatively and imaginatively.
- Communicate with others as they investigate or solve problems.
- Become confident and resilient learners.
At Ivy Lane we like to visit all of our families before their child starts school. The home visit is an opportunity for your child’s teacher to come visit him or her in their own home prior to the start of school year. The home visit is simply one more tool for easing your child’s transition into school and offering them the best possible start in their school journey. The transition from home and nursery into school can be difficult for parents and children, and as part of encouraging a smooth transition home visits helps greatly in the settling process, enhancing the relationship between the setting and the home, and so benefiting both the child and parents.
The benefits of home visits to children
- Children often feel more relaxed and comfortable at home in a familiar environment.
- Gives the opportunity for children to speak to the class teacher and TA on a 1:1 basis
- Gives the children a memory and talking point for when they start school
The benefits of home visits to parents
- Helps to forge a strong partnership between parents and staff from the very beginning
- Gives parents an opportunity to ask any questions of worries or concerns they may have and irons out any early anxieties
- Provides parents with the time to discuss their child in greater depth to support with transition into school