The Early Years Foundation Stage at Coleshill Heath School
Our commitment to excellence at Coleshill Heath School starts in the Early Years Foundation Stage; our Nursery and Reception classes.
Throughout your child’s Early Years journey we foster a love of learning by exploring engaging learning opportunities both indoors and out, whatever the weather. Our play-based curriculum enables us to immerse our children in a language-rich environment, developing their communication skills and vocabulary in meaningful ways. The children's interests help to shape our teaching, and we support every child as an individual, helping them to be successful. Children learn about our world through hands-on experiences, such as messy play and cooking, and learn about growing and changes by looking closely at our natural environment. Books and talk are at the heart of our curriculum, and we use stories to learn about the world, ourselves, and each other.
At Coleshill Heath School we nurture and respect each and every child with consistent, caring relationships built on trust and communication. We want all of our children to feel safe, secure and happy at school. Through encouragement, modelling and questioning, we enable children to become resilient, confident life-long learners. We want all of our children to believe in their own abilities and develop a positive sense of self. Children learn that everyone is unique, and we celebrate the differences between people, living our value of #Respect. We follow guidance outlined by the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (2021) to keep all children safe.
Our Early Years provision offers children an exciting environment that promotes investigation, enquiry and independent thinking. We use open-ended resources and loose parts to enable children to be imaginative and develop their skills over time. Adults support children by playing alongside them, providing a narrative for their learning and moving their learning forward with careful questioning and discussion. We follow children’s interests to support their engagement and motivation to learn, observing the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ as the children develop.
What are the Characteristics of Effective Learning?
The Characteristics of Effective Learning identified by the EYFS are:
- Playing and Exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
- Active Learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; and
- Creating and Thinking Critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
The Characteristics of Effective learning describe how children learn, and we support children to develop these skills across our Early Years Foundation Stage.
Seven Areas of Learning
There are seven Areas of Learning and development that must shape the curriculum in Early Years. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. However, three Prime Areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These are:
- Communication and Language Development: involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
- 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: involves helping 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.
These ‘Prime Areas’ are strengthened and applied to 4 ‘Specific Areas’ of learning:
- Literacy Development: involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
- Mathematics: involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measure.
- Understanding the World: involves guiding 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.
- Expressive Arts and Design: involves enabling 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, design and technology.
You can find out what we aim for our children to be able to do in these seven Areas of Learning by the end of each year by reading our ‘Curriculum Goals’ which can be found on each year group page. Our Early Years Foundation Stage is ever-evolving to reflect the needs of our children, families and the community, and we are passionate about providing them with best quality practice.
Understanding Child Development
Children develop more rapidly during the first five years of their lives than at any other time. The ‘What to Expect – Guide for Parents’ (found below) can help you to know how your child is developing. The booklet helps you as a parent know what to expect during these vitally important years by focusing on the seven areas of learning and development which are covered in the EYFS. In this guide, your child’s first five years have been divided up into six age bands which overlap. This is because every child is different and children do not grow and develop at the same rate. It highlights what you might notice your child doing at these points. One way of using this booklet could be to use it as a reference - see what you notice your child can do. It can also be used as a prompt to explore and try new things together.