The Early Years Curriculum is divided into seven areas of learning:
Prime areas of learning:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language Development
Specific areas of learning:
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design
There is an incredible amount of overlap between all seven areas of learning. Language and Communication underpins children’s foundation and learning.
Development Matters (non-statutory guidance for the Early Years) drives our curriculum at London Fields.
At this formative stage of children’s development, play is essential. Through play the 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.
The staff consider the individual needs, interests and development of the children when resourcing the environment and intervening in play to move learning forwards.
Specific Guided Sessions
In Reception at London Fields, we have three specific guided sessions throughout the day with the following focus.
- Storytelling --
In Nursery we focus on the three Prime Areas of learning ensuring a strong foundation. We aim to start the year with just one specific guided session (Storytelling), then introducing Mathematics in Autumn Two and Phonics in Spring One.
We follow Read Write Inc. Phonics, initially teaching the children in Nursery to recognise the pictures and then their initial sounds. A lot of emphasis is placed upon pre-reading skills: sounds in the environment and oral sound blending.
In Reception we start teaching a sound a day from the second week of the Autumn term. We teach children to read and write the sounds and from the first week, to read and write words. In Autumn Two we divide into smaller groups to teach children in smaller, homogeneous groups. Groups are fluid and progress is monitored closely.
We use Mastering Number (NCETM) and Maths No Problem as the basis for the teaching of Mathematics in the Early Years. Time is initially spent on teaching pre-number skills: identification of numbers, counting, sorting and comparing, understanding patterns, matching by attribute and measurement. Guided sessions are planned around the NCETM's six key areas of mathematical learning: Cardinality and counting, Comparison, Composition, Pattern, Shape and Space, Measures.
In Nursery, children begin the year sorting and categorising a variety of objects. Later they learn how to subitise and the rules of counting; focusing on securing the knowledge of numbers to five.
Similarly, in Reception, significant time is spent on sorting and categorising, then progressing to exploring the composition of numbers to ten and beyond.
Most Pattern, Shape and Space and Measures work is taught through focus activities and our continuous provision.
Themes structure our Storytelling sessions over the half term, for example, Feelings and Emotions in Autumn One and Our Families in Autumn Two. The themes in Nursery vary slightly to Reception (considering the children’s age and stage and interests). All themes are subject to change and development over the year.
Storytelling encompasses a range of areas of learning, but mainly derives from Language and Communication; the main focus of the revised Early Years Curriculum (2021). The theme Feelings and Emotions in Autumn one is carefully chosen as we put a huge emphasis on settling children into Early Years in their first half term. Throughout this theme, for example, Storytelling books will also focus on many aspects of Personal Social and Emotional Development.
Storytelling sessions are planned around a quality book 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. Once children start reading, they take home their Phonics books too.
We also welcome a musical Storyteller to 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 in the wider community. We welcome parents and carers into school to aid this teaching.
When not involved in a guided session, children have access to rich, 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 might be set up outside, linked to specific aspects of Physical Development. There is also ample opportunity for children to access resources independently and set up their own learning experiences.
Our vision in 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 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.