We consider the Early Years is extremely important, both in its own right and in preparing children for later schooling. The Early Years team at Longden build upon the children’s current and previous life experiences. We provide a stimulating multi-sensory learning environment to enable children to develop to their potential in all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage. The 2021 Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets out seven areas of learning and development that shape our curriculum. All these areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.
The three Prime Areas are:
• Communication and Language
• Physical Development
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
The three Specific Areas are:
• Understanding of the World
• Expressive Arts and Design
Social, Emotional and Personal Development
The Early Years staff considers that the physical and emotional needs of children must be addressed if they are to learn effectively. Staff believe that learning is maximised in a low-stress, but appropriately challenging environment. The aim is to develop children’s emotional literacy and self esteem through regular circle time activities, exploring emotions through stories, role-play and games. In the Early Years, fostering positive partnerships with parents is particularly important in order to achieve these aims.
Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunities
The aim is to meet the needs of all children, including those who are more able and those with special educational needs through planning opportunities that builds upon and extends children’s knowledge, experiences and interests by:
• using a range of teaching strategies based on children’s learning needs
• providing a supportive learning environment in which the contribution of children is valued
• individual Education Plans or their equivalent, where appropriate, that have short term focused objectives and which are reviewed
Learning, Teaching and the Curriculum
Learning and teaching in the Early Years involves a balance of adult led, adult – directed and child-led and child-initiated approaches to learning through the EYFS curriculum. The EYFS provides a broad and balanced framework to meet the needs of newborn babies to five year olds. A wide range of learning and teaching approaches are used in the Nursery. Some work is theme based and some is directly planned as a result of a child’s special interest.
Teaching and learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage takes account of the spontaneous and integrated nature of children’s learning. It acknowledges that such learning is not necessarily sequential and that young children need time and opportunities to consolidate and extend their learning in their own way.
Time is provided for adults to listen to children and for observational assessment of this incidental learning, which contributes to pupil tracking, assessment for learning and future planning
The Indoor and Outdoor Learning Environment
The learning environment in the Early Years reflects the need for physical space in children of this age and is arranged to meet the needs of individuals, groups and the curriculum. Resources are of good quality and quantity.
Additional resources may be provided and the environment may be reorganised to enhance pupils’ play and learning. Opportunities are provided for children to choose resources independently and to engage in extended periods of play. They also have the opportunity to choose whether they would like to play inside or outside or have ‘free-flow’. Use is made of the extensive opportunities offered by the whole school environment. The on-going development of the ‘wild area’, (woodland) further enhances outdoor learning, encompassing all areas of the curriculum