What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?
Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which is how the Government and early years professionals describe the time in your child’s life between birth and age 5. This is a very important stage as it helps your child get ‘school ready’ as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. From when your child is born up until the age of 5, we strongly believe that their early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs. In order for children to acquire a deep level of learning, it is important to ensure they have opportunities to build memory prompts, enabling them to recall things which they have learnt, effectively continuing to build their knowledge as they progress throughout education.
What is the EYFS Framework?
Firstly, the framework sets out:
- The legal welfare requirements which we follow to keep your child safe and promote their welfare.
- The 7 areas of learning and development which define examples of your child’s play and activities as they learn new skills and knowledge.
- Each area of learning is broken down into small steps, called ‘Development Matters Statements’, we use these along with our own professional judgement, to assess the progress your child is making.
- Early Learning Goals are expected levels which your child should reach, usually by the end of their Reception year. It is important to remember that every child is an individual and will progress at different rates, some may exceed this goal, some may reach it, whilst some will still be working towards it into Year One.
What does it mean for me as a Parent/Carer?
We ensure that your child has a safe and happy learning environment by following the welfare standards set out which include: the numbers of staff required in Early Years, child to adult ratios, and things like administering medicines and carrying out risk assessments. At Pennycross Primary School we value providing quality learning for our children. Foundation stage practitioners will communicate key information with you on a daily basis (at drop off or pick up) and will be the first to tell you about your child's learning and celebrate achievements with you.
How my child will be learning?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework explains how and what your child will be learning to support their healthy development. They will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
There are three prime areas of learning which are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning.
As children grow, these prime areas of learning help them to develop skills in four specific areas. These are:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
As Early Years teachers, we use these 7 areas to plan your child’s learning and activities. We fully understand that each child is an individual in their own right and will develop at their own pace. Consequently, we ensure we are supporting them to make sure that their activities are both suited and tailored to meet your child’s unique needs.
We strongly believe that children in their early years learn by playing and exploring, being active; developing creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
How can I as a Parent/Carer support my child’s learning?
All the fun activities that you do with your child at home are important in supporting their learning and development, and have a really long lasting effect on your child’s learning as they progress through school. Even when your child is very young and is not yet able to talk, talking to them helps them to learn and understand new words and ideas. If you make the time every day to do some of the following things with your child, it will make a real difference to your child’s confidence as a young learner.
The Foundation Stage practitioners will involve you in your child's learning journey at many points during the year. It is key you share any home learning achievements with the adults at school so we can celebrate your child's achievements. Maybe they have learned to ride their bike without stabilisers, get their socks and shoes on independently or have learned to catch a ball.
The learning journey is most effective for your child when we all work together on their next steps. To help ensure we all know the best way to do this, you will be invited in at regular points in the school year to learn how phonics is taught, what our maths sessions look like, how to support early independent writing and how to support your child with their targets so they are confident and ready for entering Key Stage One.
The intent of our Foundation Stage:
- to provide an induction programme that enables children to come to school happily.
- to build a relationship based on mutual respect with both children and parents through pre-school and Home visits, information meetings and booklets, enabling children to settle well into Pennycross Primary School.
- to provide the children with opportunities to develop their social skills when interacting with others.
- to scaffold learning opportunities that build on children’s existing skills in thinking and communication.
- to develop the children’s physical skill, so that they have increased control over their body movements.
- to develop the children’s aesthetic, moral and spiritual awareness so that they can begin to make judgements.
- to enable the children to understand more about the world around them by exploring first hand features of both the natural and man-made world.
- to foster a lifelong love for learning. We will do this by ensuring every day has elements of AWE and WONDER
- to show children where they fit in their immediate community, to show them the opportunities all around them, to show them how they contribute to society. We will do this through learning shared learning activities in the local area such a singing for the residents of our local care home.
- to teach respect and tolerance. We do this through the interactions modelled, through the demonstrations and scaffolded learning opportunities to celebrate diversity. This key area of development for each and every child is explored during our philosophy sessions and through our monthly munch sessions but most importantly, we believe that by showing respect and intrigue towards each others experiences and opinions in our general daily lives is what teaches children to have those attributes and readily show them to others.
Implementation in our Foundation Stage:
We provide the children in Foundation Stage with learning opportunities appropriate for their age and stage. This means that our robust induction process ensures we know your child's starting points and can provide activities which motivate and inspire them.
In order to ensure your child makes good progress in their learning we provide a landscape of learning which changes as the school year progresses.
In the Autumn term the prime areas of learning are focused on as your child must be confident with their new friends and adults in the setting in order for them to learn. We focus on developing an understanding of school routines and expectations as well as developing children's speaking and listening skills.
Children will take part in daily key skills sessions so that skills needed to support all areas of learning can be learned rapidly, during a supported activity led by adults.
In the spring and summer terms much of the learning is differentiated so children can be supported appropriately to meet their individual needs. RWI (Read, Write, Inc sessions), maths and handwriting activities are all tailored to facilitate progress for your child and their learning journey.
Throughout your childs year in the Foundation Stage at Pennycross they will have lots of opportunities for child initiated play based learning. Please remember to value this learning as much as the formal activities led by adults as it is when learning alongside peers that children feel real ownership of their learning, take risks, build in confidence and practise applying skills and knowledge taught during adult led learning. Play based learning is key for building resilience and determination; skills that are paramount for future lives.
How can I as a Parent/Carer support my child’s learning on a daily basis?
- Encourage your child to dress and undress independently
- Help your child learn to zip up their coat independently
- Celebrate learning points. None of us learn if we are not confident to try, fear of making mistakes holds us back! Show your child this.
- Ask your child what the best part of their day at school was
- Share a story with your child at bedtime each night
- Once given, share your child's school reading book each day. Little and often is best. A page each day is better than a whole book once a week
Impact in our Foundation Stage:
As a measure of our intent we believe that on entering the Foundation stage unit at Pennycross you will see children who:
- make progress in their learning
- show evidence of feeling included, secure and valued.
- show no evidence of children feeling excluded or disadvantaged.
- interact with other children and adults in positive ways.
- are engaged in and show high levels of motivation in activities planned by adults and also those that they plan or initiate themselves.
- are confident and secure in taking risks in their learning
- are taking part in well-planned, purposeful activities that build on what children already know, match the different levels of the children’s needs and take place both in and outdoors.
- are developing skills and talents in chosen curriculum areas.
and practitioners who:
- manage carefully the transition between home and school to support everyone involved.
- establish feelings of trust and respect with parents and children.
- treat children as individuals to ensure each has equality of opportunity.
- promote self-confidence and a positive attitude to learning in all children whatever their gender, ethnicity, special educational needs, disability or ability.
- recognise that being successful and feeling confident and secure are major factors in protecting children against early failure.
- understand that children develop rapidly during the early years – physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially.
- through their delivery of a broad and relevant curriculum display their understanding of curriculum requirements.
- ensure the learning environment is well planned and well organised and follows the agreed school procedures.
- ensure children are making good progress and reaching their full potential.
- intervene appropriately to engage children in the learning process.
- are aware of those children who may require additional help and those who are more able and of how support needs to be provided.
- observe and respond appropriately to children.
- plan their time well, so most of it is spent working directly with children.
- establish an ethos in which individual achievements are valued.
- ensure the safety of children at all times, evaluate their practice, recognising the importance of identifying their own training needs.
We are proud to announce that the Foundation Stage at Pennycross Primary achieved the Bristol Standard Accreditation for seven consecutive years.
The award is testament to the fact that all Foundation Stage practitioners take time to get to know each and every child in our Foundation stage community (parents, grandparents and children alike). This ensures we are equipped with a comprehensive prior knowledge of each child, this then enables us to fully support them with their continuing learning journey.