Early Years Foundation Stage
The Foundation Stage is an exciting and very special first year at school. Play underpins all learning and development for young children and it is through play that children develop intellectually, socially, emotionally, creatively and physically. At Mortimer St John’s, we provide a safe, caring, exciting environment, full of stimulating and challenging activities, which enable the children to develop a wide range of life skills to equip them for school. The children’s learning takes place in both our indoor and outdoor classrooms, where we offer a variety of child self-initiated and adult led activities.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum runs from 0 to 5 years of age and is therefore taught in our Foundation Stage year group. It consists of seven areas of learning and development.
There are three core areas of learning which are:
‘Personal, Social & Emotional Development’ – involves supporting children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to recognise appropriate behaviour in groups; to have confidence in their own abilities; to improve social skills and learn how to manage their own feelings.
‘Communication and Language’ – involves offering experiences for children to be immersed in a rich language environment; to speak and listen appropriately in a variety of situations and to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves.
‘Physical Development’ – involves providing opportunities for children to be active and interactive; and to improve their co-ordination, control and movement. Children learn the importance of having a healthy lifestyle.
The other four areas are referred to as the specific areas and these are:
‘Literacy’ – involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to read and write. Children are provided with a wide range of reading materials (books, poems and other written materials) to promote a love for reading.
‘Mathematics’ – involves providing children with opportunities to progress their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces and measures.
‘Understanding the World’ – involves providing children with opportunities to talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. Children will consider similarities and differences between themselves and others, and communities and traditions. Children will make observations of animals and plants and begin to discuss and explain why some things occur, talking about changes.
‘Expressive Arts & Design’ – involves supporting children to access a wide range of media and materials, such as building up a repertoire of songs, experimenting with musical instruments and exploring with movement through dance. Children will be encouraged to be imaginative and think of their own ideas. We will provide role play resources and encourage the children to act out their own stories, developing narratives and creating make-believe scenarios.
There are also the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ which 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 & Thinking Critically’ – children have and develop their own ideas, making links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing these.
Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a combination of adult-led and child initiated activities. The children are provided with problem solving activities to show how they apply their increasing knowledge and understanding and we aim to do this through their own interests. We respond to each child’s needs and do our utmost to ensure we guide their development through warm and encouraging interactions. We work with our parents/ carers and ensure they are informed of their child’s starting points and next steps in learning. We provide the Foundation parents/ carers with a report in March explaining their child’s learning and development and what their next steps are to achieve the Early Learning Goals and for their smooth transition into Key Stage One/ Year One.
Subject Summaries – Key Stage 1
English – We want our children to become confident speakers, fluent readers and competent writers. Reading is carefully monitored and children are encouraged to read for understanding and pleasure. The children participate in discussions and make predictions based on what they have read. As children’s reading skills develop, they learn to read for information from the wealth of books in classrooms or the school library.
Children are encouraged to develop their spoken language through questioning, discussion and drama. Personal writing forms an important part of the subject. This takes many forms including: actual, imaginative and descriptive writing. Our children examine a wide range of stories, poems, plays and information books. The children are given opportunities to enhance their vocabulary, and gain a deeper understanding of grammar and spelling. Handwriting is taught throughout the school in continuous cursive script.
Mathematics – Mathematics is an important part of the curriculum and we want our children to develop an enthusiasm and interest in the subject. They experience working with and applying numbers, money, measuring length as well as mass, capacity and time. They will also look at the properties of 2D and 3D shapes, understanding direction and making and interpreting data in different graphs. Children are encouraged to apply their knowledge to solve different problems. Children will also develop confidence and fluency in mental calculation.
Where appropriate, the children explore mathematics through practical experiences, for example using money in shopping, weighing when cooking.
At Mortimer St John’s we follow the National Curriculum. Please click on the link below for further information.