All children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outdoors.
Children in the EYFS will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their learning through 7 areas of learning and development.
The first three areas are particularly important in encouraging children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn and form relationships all essential for future learning. These three areas are known as prime areas and include:
- Communication and Language;
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
As children develop the prime areas will help them develop skills in four specific areas of learning. These are:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
The 7 areas are used to plan children’s learning and activities. We make sure that the activities are suited to each child’s unique needs.
Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play with a mix of adult-led and child initiated activity.
Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults.
As children develop throughout EYFS 2 and show a ‘readiness’ there is a gradual shift towards more activities that are led by an adult to try to help children prepare for more formal learning, ready for Year 1.
Communication and Language
Communication and language consists of three aspects:
- Listening and Attention
Through adult support and planned activities children are encouraged to become communicators, learning to listen and express themselves. They are supported to extend their vocabulary and will experience stories, songs, poems and rhymes. They are encouraged to take part in role-play and use talk to clarify their thinking. They will learn to distinguish between sounds including letter sounds ready to support learning to read and write.
Physical development consists of two aspects:
- Moving and Handling
- Health and Self-care.
Opportunities are provided for children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement both indoors and outdoors. Children learn to move with confidence, imagination and safety. Opportunities are provided for children to develop their fine motor skills that are needed in order to use pens, scissors and tools effectively. Planned PE sessions in the hall or playground help children to develop their gross motor skills for example by climbing, balancing, throwing, catching and negotiating space.
They learn the importance of keeping healthy and the factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. They will observe the effect that exercise has on their bodies.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Personal, social and emotional development consists of three aspects:
- Making Relationships
Managing Feelings and Behaviour
Within a nurturing environment children are helped to develop a positive image of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others. They are helped to develop social skills and to manage their feelings and behaviour. They learn to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities. Through activities and conversations children are encouraged to express their ideas and feelings and to develop strategies to cope with new, challenging or stressful situations. We provide a range of positive images and experiences that help them embrace and accept differences in gender, ethnicity, language, religion, culture, special educational needs and disabilities.
Literacy consists of two aspects:
Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials including books, poems and other written materials. They are helped to recognise that print carries meaning. Through a range of activities and classroom labels, signs and notices children develop an understanding of the relationship between the spoken and written word. They are encouraged to ascribe meaning to marks that they make in play.
Children are encouraged to link sounds and letters through daily teaching sessions. They are taught letter formation and how to use their letter sound knowledge to begin to read and write.
Mathematics consists of two aspects:
- Numbers and Shape Space and
Children are given opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe and compare shapes, spaces and measures using appropriate mathematical language.
Understanding the World
Understanding the World consists of three aspects:
- People and Communities
- The World
Children are helped to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and to find out about people, places, technology and the environment. Children are helped to find out about past and present events. Opportunities are given to help children deepen their knowledge of their own and other people’s cultures in order to celebrate the similarities and differences.
Children are given opportunities to investigate objects and materials looking at their properties. They learn about change, patterns, similarities and differences and to question how and why things work. They have the opportunity to construct with a range of tools, materials and techniques. They explore the natural world and their local environment and are encouraged to express what they like or dislike.
They learn how to use appropriate information technology such as computers and programmable toys to support their learning.
Children are surrounded by technology and we believe it is vital they recognize the importance it has in their lives from an early stage. At Henwick, ICT is used across all the areas of learning and we give children the chance to play with and explore a variety of technology and tools. It is worth remembering that ICT is not just a computer, but could be anything from listening to recorded stories, drawing images on an interactive whiteboard or recording sounds – the possibilities are endless. One of the ways we use ICT to develop creativity is through the website purplemash.co.uk. As a school, we have bought access for all of our pupils to this creative online space. It houses a range of creative tools and activities that we use in school, but we also encourage parents to explore it at home with their children. You can access it at home by going to http://www.purplemash.co.uk/sch/henwick and entering your child’s login details, which are included the welcome pack you will receive when your child joins us.
Children attend our on-site Forest School each week. Forest School encompasses a range of outdoor activities from arts and crafts, team building, wildlife conservation, imaginative activities, physical play, construction and natural exploration. Forest School encourages the development of the children’s emotional and physical development through outdoor play, activities and exploration in an outdoor classroom.
In each session, the children will participate in a variety of self-chosen activities with time for free play and exploration. Sessions are led by our qualified Forest School Leader.
When appropriate, groups will be taught to use a variety of tools, from mallets to bow saws, under close adult supervision. All activities are risk assessed and can be tailored to meet children’s requirements.
Having time regularly in nature is a wonderful chance for children to connect with the environment. All the activities take into account children’s different learning styles and together help to build self-esteem, communication skills, independence and self-confidence.
Expressive Arts and Design
Expressive arts and design consists of two aspects:
- Exploring and Using Media and Materials
- Being Imaginative.
Children are given the opportunity to play and explore with a wide range of media and materials. They are given the opportunity and encouragement to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play and design technology.