Early Years Foundation Stage

Childhood is a journey not a race.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of learning and development have been produced by the government and Early Years professionals for use by all Early Years providers. We use the areas of learning and development when we are observing, assessing and planning for your child’s individual needs. The areas of learning and development make sure that we are constantly challenging your child and helping them to develop and succeed. We make incidental observations of the children in the setting as well as planned long observations.

There are seven areas of learning and they are split into two parts.

Three prime areas -

  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Physical development
  • Communication and language

Four specific areas -

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Art and design

The EYFS is underpinned by play and at West Bretton we strongly believe in the opportunities which arise through play. It also underpins learning and all aspects of children’s development. Through play, children develop language skills, their emotions and creativity, and social and intellectual skills. Play takes place indoors and outdoors and it is in these different environments that children explore and discover their immediate world. We observe play and join in when invited, watching and listening before intervening.

The good practice you will see in our setting is...

Play “choose your learning”

This is freely chosen by the children, and is under the control of the child. It is here they practice new ideas and skills; they take risks, show imagination and solve problems on their own or with others.  They decide how to play, how long to sustain the play, what the play is about, and who to play with. (In some situations to work on PSED skills we will put groups of children together.) There are many forms of play, but it is usually highly creative, open-ended and imaginative. It requires active engagement of the children, and can be deeply satisfying for them. We value play and provide safe but challenging environments that support and extend learning and development aside from our phonics sessions.  If children are engaged in active play we will try not to pull them out.

Child-initiated play/activity (CI)

This has many similarities and characteristics in common with play, as it is wholly decided upon by the child, based on the child’s own motivation, and remains under the child’s control. It may involve play of many types, or it may be seen by the child as an activity with a serious purpose to explore a project or express an idea which the child may not see as pure play. For most children their play is natural and spontaneous; although some children may need extra help from adults for example; adults will sometimes role model what we can do in provision areas and what we expect different children to show us. The children may go away guided by these expectations.

Adult-led activities (AI)

These are initiated by an adult. Providing high quality planned experiences for children’s play is an important way for adults to support children’s learning that is both enjoyable and challenging. In a morning we have Read Write Inc (RWInc) sessions, target time sessions, 1:1 programmes and daily circle, story, tidy and music time. We don’t break for ‘play time’ at 10.30am as we have free flow throughout the morning. In an afternoon all children have a maths input and modelled activities. Several times a week there will be an AI differentiated maths task. Adult initiated activities are not play, and the children don’t see them as play, but we always ensure we are playful when delivering them. We present the activities in an open-ended way, with elements of imagination and active exploration that will increase the interest and motivation of the children.

Our Lower Foundation Stage children have a short RWInc and a short numeracy session throughout the morning.  This time is extended as they go through the school year; however, the morning still comprises of lots of child initiated activities.

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Monday 11 December 2017