We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (revised EYFS effective from September 2021) and base our planning, observations, assessments and evaluations upon it. We are guided by our genuine understanding of how children learn and of the three ‘characteristics of effective learning’ – playing and exploring (engagement), active learning (motivation) and creating and thinking critically. We know that these characteristics support children’s learning and development across all areas of the curriculum.
There are seven areas of learning and development within the EYFS curriculum. These are split into ‘prime areas’ and ‘specific areas.’
The prime areas are fundamental throughout the EYFS. They cover the knowledge and skills that are the most essential for children’s readiness for future learning and healthy development. They comprise:
& emotional development
Communication & Language
The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. They emerge from the prime areas and provide important contexts for learning. The prime areas are strengthened and applied through the specific areas. They comprise:
Understanding the World
Expressive arts & design
We implement the seven areas of learning through a combination of planned, purposeful play and a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Our warm and nurturing environment means that children are just as much at ease when playing freely as they are when being guided and supported by adults. We follow a daily timetable that is, by necessity, flexible, but that gives children an orderly routine to recognise and predict. Our aim is to enable every child the opportunity to work towards and achieve their own particular learning goals.
A special feature of our provision is our 'group time' when the children are split into smaller groups roughly according to their age. Here they have time to listen to stories, play games and have discussions with their peer groups, guided by their own teacher. For the older children, group time is great preparation for school, as they sit on chairs, have a register, appoint a 'leader', talk about the weather, about the days of the week, count how many are in the group etc. When appropriate, we also use this time to teach children about numbers, phonics, early 'writing' and 'reading'.
JUMPING BEANS & GYM
Our SENCO runs OT-inspired 'jumping beans' sessions every week. These fun sessions offer a range of opportunities for small groups of children to develop new skills using a variety of equipment (beanbags, balance beams, peanut ball etc). They are encouraged to be aware of themselves, of others and of the space around them. We also have whole group gym sessions during which the children enjoy jogging on the spot, doing star jumps, balancing, stretching and skipping, often in response to music. During these sessions, the children learn about the importance of being healthy and eating well and about the effect that exercise has on their bodies.
MUSIC & SINGING
We believe that music, singing and rhymes play a very important role in nursery life. We have daily music sessions and are lucky enough to have musicians who visit us every week. Children often learn new songs as well as singing their old favourites. They are encouraged to do the actions and to play instruments as they sing, following the beat and listening to the words. They usually want to perform their actions/singing/playing in front of their friends and teachers.
During the year, we try to provide as many 'real experiences' as we can. We always incubate some eggs and take great delight in taking care of the chicks once they have hatched. We invite a police officer and/or a fireman in to see us and tell us all about what they do. We watch as our caterpillars turn into butterflies and then let them fly away. All this inspires a great deal of learning and generates lots of enthusiasm!
We welcome a yoga teacher into nursery every week and all the children have the opportunity to take part in a 15 minute yoga session. The children have great fun developing their balancing, stretching and relaxing skills and clearly enjoy the challenge of learning something new.
We welcome a French teacher into nursery every week and all the older children are given the opportunity to join the lessons. They have great fun learning new words and phrases as well as singing some French songs. It is not long before many of our children want to answer the register in French!