“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to their full potential. A Child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure safe and happy childhood is important in its own right, and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. When parents choose to use early years services they want to know the provision will keep their children safe and help them to thrive. The Early Years Foundation Stage is the framework that provides that assurance.” Active Learning through Play We organise the day to provide a balance between the following:-.

  • Child initiated Activities – children make choices from within the learning environment to meet his/her outcome for learning.
  • Adult Initiated Activities- practitioners provide the resources to stimulate and consolidate learning.
  • Adult Directed Activities – Children engage in planned activities to meet specific learning outcomes.

We recognise that young children learn best when they are active. We understand that active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve children for sustained periods. Therefore, we believe that their education should be as practical as possible and our classroom environment has an ethos of learning through play. We recognise the importance of children’s play. It is an essential and rich part of their learning process, supporting them in all areas of development. Play is a powerful motivator encouraging children to be creative and to develop their ideas, understanding and language. Play is also flexible and able to suit the preferred learning style of the child. It can provide multiple ways for children to learn a variety of different skills and concepts. In order to suit the needs of our current individuals we will keep ‘Adult directed activities’ and ‘Child initiated activities’ separate and allocate the timetable to be 50/50 of these activities. Individually, as the children grow and develop to this way of working, there will be an increase in the adult led activities in order to prepare them for a more work based curriculum in the future.

1. Introduction

Early childhood is the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. It is not just a preparation for the next stage but is vitally important in itself. For young children there is no distinction between work and play. Learning for young children is a rewarding and enjoyable experience in which they explore, investigate, discover, create, practice, rehearse, repeat, revise and consolidate their developing knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes. During the foundation stage, many of these aspects of learning are brought together effectively through playing and talking.

2. Aims of the Early Years Foundation Stage

In EYFS we believe that all children are entitled to the best possible start in their school life, both intellectually and emotionally, in order to enable them to develop their full potential. We aim to support each child’s welfare, learning and developmental needs by:

  • Recognising that all children are unique and special.
  • Understanding that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates – physically, cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally.
  • Providing a safe, secure and caring environment where children feel happy and know that they are valued.
  • Fostering and nurturing children’s self-confidence and self-esteem through their developing awareness of their own identity and role within the community.
  • Teaching them to express and communicate their needs and feelings in appropriate ways.
  • Encouraging children’s independence and decision-making, supporting them to learn through their mistakes.
  • Developing children’s understanding of social skills and the values and codes of behaviour required for people to work together harmoniously.
  • Supporting children to develop care, respect and appreciation for others, including those with beliefs, cultures and opinions differ to their own.
  • Understanding the importance of play in children’s learning and development.
  • Providing learning experiences in play which reflect children’s personal interests and areas of curiosity in order to encourage and develop their natural desire, interest, excitement and motivation to learn.
  • Providing experiences which build on children’s existing knowledge and understanding in order to challenge, stimulate and extend their learning and development.

Providing effective learning opportunities in a range of environments, inside and outside.

3. The Early Years Foundation Stage framework

Teaching in the EYFS is delivered in accordance with the government’s statutory document ’The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’ (March 2012). This document is a principled approach to Early Years education, bringing together children’s welfare, learning and development requirements through four themes: ‘A Unique Child’, ‘Positive Relationships’, ‘Enabling Environments’ and ‘Children Learn in Different Ways and at Different Rates.’. The curriculum is centred on 3 prime areas of learning:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development

Providers must also support activities through four specific areas which strengthen the prime areas. These are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

These Areas of Learning and Development address children’s physical, cogitative, linguistic, social and emotional development. No one aspect of development stands in isolation from the others as all Areas of Learning and Development are all closely interlinked. This ensures the delivery of a holistic, child-centred curriculum which allows children to make lots of links between what they are learning. All Areas of Learning and Development are given equal weighting and value.

4. Active Learning through Play

We organise the day to provide a balance between the following:-.

  • Child initiated Activities – children make choices from within the learning environment to meet his/her outcome for learning.
  • Adult Initiated Activities- practitioners provide the resources to stimulate and consolidate learning.
  • Adult Directed Activities – Children engage in planned activities to meet specific learning outcomes.

We recognise that young children learn best when they are active. We understand that active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve children for sustained periods. Therefore, we believe that Early Years education should be as practical as possible and our EYFS setting has an ethos of learning through play. We recognise the importance of children’s play. It is an essential and rich part of their learning process, supporting them in all areas of development. Play is a powerful motivator encouraging children to be creative and to develop their ideas, understanding and language. Play is also flexible and able to suit the preferred learning style of the child. It can provide multiple ways for children to learn a variety of different skills and concepts.

5. Assessment and Record Keeping

The main EYFS assessment method is through practitioners’ observations of children in different teaching and learning contexts, including both adult focused activities and child initiated play. Observations take place on a daily basis (both formally and informally). Practitioners make time to carry out planned observations of individuals and groups of children regularly. They also make spontaneous observations in order to capture significant moments of children’s learning. All practitioners are involved in observing children. Practitioners use observations to support their developing knowledge of individual children. It informs them of children’s abilities, needs, interests, play schemas and learning styles. Observations are evaluated, children’s learning priorities are identified and relevant learning opportunities are planned to support children to make the next steps and progress. Children will be monitored using our B Squared system of assessment in line with the whole school, in order to show their progress throughout their school lives at Critchill.

6. Monitoring and review

It is the responsibility of the EYFS teacher to follow the principles stated in this policy. There is a named Governor responsible for the EYFS. This governor will discuss EYFS practice with the practitioners regularly and provide feedback to the whole governing body, raising any issues that require discussion. The Head teacher and subject coordinator will carry out monitoring on the EYFS as part of the whole school monitoring schedule.