Children who receive an appropriate pre-school education are proven to be more successful throughout their school life. Our curriculum is specifically developed to support and challenge our children and give them a broad, balanced and secure foundation for future learning.
We base our curriculum on the childrens needs and interests and underpinned by the DfEE ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ (EYFS Framework) which guides childrens learning and development from birth through to the end of their first year at school. This is a very important stage as it helps your child get ready for school as well as preparing them for future learning and successes.
The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will be learning in order to support their healthy development. Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:
- Communication and language
At Playgroup, as well as lots of discussion times throughout the day, children are encouraged to talk about their experiences within the setting. When appropriate, the staff sit with the children at certain activities, asking open questions and introducing language related to the activity. This helps children to extend and develop their language further and supports them in their use of more complex sentences and vocabulary.
The constant use of songs, stories and rhymes within our daily curriculum promotes confidence and fluency in language… and they are fun too!
- Physical development
Our plans allow daily opportunities for the children to use resources that encourage them to learn to move confidently and imaginatively.
Music and movement promotes an awareness of space and others. Small and large equipment is offered throughout the week to encourage the children to gain increasing muscle control and development.
Fine motor equipment such as puzzles, construction toys and threading, together with malleable equipment such as dough, clay and pasta, are used in conjunction with various tools and equipment to encourage hand-eye co-ordination and the ability to handle tools (e.g. scissors) with safety and increasing skill.
Carefully planned and adult supported garden activities develop and encourage children’s physical development. The use of bikes and trikes, climbing equipment and small apparatus all help to promote throwing, catching, skipping, jumping and a whole host more.
- Personal, social and emotional development
Children are given the opportunities to develop personal and social skills in a variety of ways. Mealtimes are a time when children sit with our staff in small groups. They assist setting the table. They are also encouraged to take the needs of others into account by passing things to each other and helping others to serve themselves.
Children are encouraged to develop independence and learn personal hygiene in the bathroom and when dressing and undressing either to go into the garden, to prepare for a physical activity, or when playing with the dressing-up clothes. At key times during the day we hold discussion periods when staff and children share experiences. This promotes the child’s confidence in developing talking and listening skills and the staff encourage children to put forward their own views and to respect those of others.
Drama, role-play and ‘small world’ activities are provided on a daily basis in order to promote imaginative skills and to help children recognise and deal with emotions such as love, excitement, frustration, fear and anger. Group games are provided throughout the week in order to encourage turn taking and a respect for the needs of others. Books that explore emotions are used to help children understand and express their own feelings and our special ‘Feelings Area’ encourages the children to take time to look through books, complete puzzles, or simply spend time with an adult in a quiet space to talk through how they are feeling.
These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning. As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:
Of course becoming literate is a key life skill and at Playgroup we strive to promote this at all times. From the beginning of the day with the use of the self registration board, children are learning to recognise their own names and the names of their friends.
All the areas of the nursery are full of words and labels for the children to begin to focus in on and support their understanding of words and letters. The children have free access to our graphics area where they are encouraged to begin to explore the writing process with lots of pencils, pens paper, envelops shopping lists, and a wealth of other mark making equipment. Story times are well planned and sometimes linked to theme work, celebration or season , or to an individual child’s experiences. Children are encouraged to discuss the words, pictures and events that they observed during the story and join in with familiar lines to favourite stories. All the key foundations for learning to read and write are well supported by the staff, meaning that our children progress well on their journey to literacy.
We are well equipped with a variety of mathematical equipment and staff arrange activities that extend the children’s mathematical language, problem-solving skills and help them to experience and gradually understand mathematical concepts.
Our staff also use creative play to extend children’s mathematical experiences e.g. sand and water with volume/weighing equipment or dough to discuss size, colour, weight, texture and shape.
The staff are also very aware of the mathematical opportunities available with many other activities offered throughout the nursery day e.g. spatial awareness during music and movement activities. Also, everyday discussion e.g. comparing numbers of children attending to number of drinks or looking at different heights of children, support the children’s knowledge and understanding of maths in everyday life.
- Understanding the world
Our staff use a variety of resources to extend the children’s knowledge and understanding of the world.
Books and activities that extend the children’s knowledge of other countries and cultures are used as part of the nursery’s regular programme of activities. The children are encouraged to discuss their own everyday lives and experiences in order to help children gain an awareness of not only the area in which they live, but the people who live there, and the differences they might encounter.
We also provide a weekly French session for the children led by ‘Marie’ who comes into Playgroup specifically to lead French activities with the children. Each of her sessions follows a theme and the children have a book to record the exciting things they have been doing!
The children are regularly involved in the growing of fruits and vegetables for our shared garden and these are used to encourage the children to explore and recognise features of living things and help them to learn to observe, compare and exchange ideas about why things happen and how things work.
Construction toys, cause and effect equipment and junk modelling are offered regularly to give the children experience and confidence in design and technology. Children will be encouraged to operate ICT (computers, tape recorders, etc.) with independence and confidence. We also have our “Techno Tots” session every week with Nic where new equipment and resources are introduced the children and they are given the opportunity to explore and learn.
Our daily exchange of ‘News’ during our Key person group time, helps the children to recount events that are happening within their own lives and those of others around them. Many of the themes and experiences offered allow the opportunity to explore aspects of the past, present and future.
- Expressive arts and design.
Our staff are skilled at providing a variety of resources to promote the exploration of colour, shape and space. Children are offered a variety of activities to extend their creative skills including various types of painting, collage work and model making opportunities. These give them the experience and opportunity to explore space in two and three dimensions.
Many creative activities are used to develop an awareness of the sense of touch, smell and sight. Cooking and taste experiments are used to encourage discussion and sensory experiences. Music from around the world, singing, dance and musical instruments are used to extend children’s creativity with sound and movement.
These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. Our staff teach and support your child to make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it’s suitable for very young children, and it’s designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child’s unique needs and interests. Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
We recognise that each child is different and will progress at different rates. Activities are therefore planned on a daily basis to support or challenge individual children as required. However for ALL our children, throughout this early stage, we strive to ensure that their experiences are happy, active, exciting, fun, secure and supportive of their care and welfare needs
Where can I go for further information?
Our Playgroup Manager and all practitioners are more than happy to talk with parents further in relation to the EYFS and the children’s individual development. We welcome you asking as many questions as you need to.
You can also find the Early Years Foundation Stage which includes the early learning goals at www.foundationyears.org.uk. The foundation years website also includes a range of resources and contacts.