Our vision in the EYFS is shared with the wider school; for children to think well and feel well. We believe that children in Early Years learn best if they experience learning first hand, through meaningful and purposeful interactions with others and through physical activity and play.
Our Early Years principles are based on the EYFS statutory guidance which states three main characteristics of learning:
- Playing and exploring
- Active learning
- Creating and thinking critically
And four overarching principles of good practice:
- Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
- Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
- Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
The Early Years Curriculum is divided into seven Areas of Learning:
Prime areas of learning:
Communication and Language
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Specific areas of learning:
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, alongside Development Matters (non-statutory guidance for the Early Years) informs our Early Years curriculum at London Fields.
At this formative stage of child development, play is essential. Through play, children build their confidence as they explore, relate to others, problem solve and set their own goals. Children learn by leading their own play and take part in play guided by adults.
Our staff consider the individual needs, interests and development of the children in our EYFS when resourcing the environment and intervening in play to move learning on.
Specific Guided Sessions
In Reception at London Fields, we have three specific guided sessions throughout the day:
In Nursery, pupils begin daily storytelling in the Autumn Term and phonics is introduced during the Spring Term.
In Reception, we begin teaching 'a sound a day' early in the Autumn Term. We teach children to read and write the sounds, building up to reading and writing word and phrases.
We use Mastering Number (NCETM) as the basis for the teaching of Mathematics in the Early Years. Time is initially spent on teaching pre-number skills i.e. the identification of numbers, counting, sorting and comparing, understanding patterns, matching by attribute and measurement. Guided sessions are planned around the NCETM six key areas of mathematical learning; Cardinality and Counting, Comparison, Composition, Pattern, Shape, Space and Measure.
Most Pattern, Shape, Space and Measures knowledge is taught through adult led focus activities and learning planned for the continuous provision.
Themes structure our storytelling sessions over the half term, for example, Feelings and Emotions in Autumn One and Celebrating Family in Autumn Two. The themes in Nursery vary slightly to Reception (considering the children’s age, developmental stage and interests). All themes are subject to change and develop over the course of the academic year.
Storytelling encompasses a range of areas of learning, but mainly derives from Communication and Language; the main focus of the revised Early Years Curriculum (2021), as well as the specific area of Literacy.
Storytelling sessions are planned around a quality text per week. Children learn ‘repeated refrains’ from the book and by the end of the week are able to retell and act out the story with props.
A variety of storybooks are sent home weekly for sharing, further promoting a love for reading and reading for pleasure. Once Reception children have the skills to decode, they take home a phonics storybook book as well.
We also welcome a musical Storyteller to our Early Years every term, whose planned sessions complement our termly themes.
Other Guided Sessions
We celebrate festivals and other significant events throughout the year, taking every opportunity to link learning and development to the children's' own experiences both within school and the wider community. We welcome community members in to our classrooms to enrich our learning experiences.
When not involved in a guided session, children have access to quality continuous provision, indoors and outdoors. Some activities are set up for the children to access on table tops or outside – i.e. a mathematics table top activity might link to the taught carpet session. An obstacle course may be set up outside, linked to a specific skill in Physical Development. There is also ample opportunity for children to access resources independently, plan and carry out their own learning experiences.
Curriculum overview 2023-2024
For an overview of our current academic year's learning in the EYFS based on the educational programmes, please see the below documents.