The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a statutory framework that sets the standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five.
‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.’ (DFE 2021)
At Coltishall Primary School we firmly believe we can help our children achieve the purpose set out in the EYFS. We seek to promote positive attitudes to learning, build confidence and self-esteem, stimulate enthusiasm and encourage independence. We do this by providing well-planned and resourced experiences and by giving the children the opportunity to succeed within a supportive, caring atmosphere where they feel cared for and valued.
We believe that children are individuals and must be treated as such from the moment they start school. They should be enabled to acquire skills and attitudes to provide them with a solid foundation for learning and development, and thereby allow them to benefit fully from the opportunities ahead of them.
We recognise that the home influence remains important throughout their school years and it is crucial to build and work effectively together to promote children’s development. This partnership helps to make school learning part of children’s lives rather than something separate and artificial.
At Coltishall Primary School, education in the EYFS is rooted in play based learning supported by meaningful practical activity both indoors and outside.
At our school we aim to follow the principles set out in the EYFS so that every child can learn and develop effectively. The principles are grouped into four distinct but complementary themes:
- The Unique Child. We recognise that every child is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Positive Relationships. We recognise that secure relationships enable children to learn to become strong and independent.
- Enabling Environments. We recognise that the environment plays a key role in which children’s experiences can respond to their individual needs thereby allowing them to learn and develop well; furthermore that a child’s development is supported through strong partnerships between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
- Learning and Development. We recognise that children learn and develop in different ways and at different rates.
We meet their needs by:
- Providing an induction programme that enables children to come to school happily and by collaborating with local nurseries/preschools to ensure a smooth transition;
- Providing a wide range of opportunities to motivate and support children, and to help them to learn effectively;
- Planning experiences that build upon and extend children’s knowledge, understanding and interests, and develop their self-esteem and confidence;
- Providing a stimulating environment that enables choice and decision-making, fostering independence and self-confidence;
- Using a wide range of teaching strategies based on children’s learning needs;
- Working in partnership with parents and guardians, valuing their contributions, to maximise support for children;
- We promote School Values and Learning Dispositions;
- Providing a safe and supportive learning environment in which the contribution of all children is valued.
Learning and Development
The EYFS consists of seven areas of learning and development, all of which are important and inter-connected. Three areas, the prime areas, are crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity for learning, forming relationships and thriving. These are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
- Communication and Language (CL)
- Physical Development (PD)
Four specific areas allow the prime areas to strengthen and be applied, these being:
- Literacy (L)
- Mathematics (M)
- Understanding the World (UW)
- Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)
All seven areas are delivered through planned, purposeful play with a mix of child-initiated and adult-led activities. We believe that it is important for adults to support children’s learning through play by getting involved in the play themselves and modelling by example. As effective learning builds on and extends what children know and can already do, the planning within the EYFS is always informed by observations we have made of the children in order to understand their current interests, development and learning needs. All staff who work in the EYFS are involved in the process.
In order to meet the needs of every child we plan for their learning using the ‘Birth to Five Matters’ document. The development statements are used to identify possible areas in which to challenge and extend the child’s current learning and development. We are continually drawing on the children’s own interests making sure there is ample opportunity to cover the PSED objectives that are so important for children in the EYFS.
Each area of learning has Early Learning goals which establish expectations for most children to reach by the end of the EYFS. When planning and guiding children’s activities, staff support and extend the different ways that children learn by reflecting these in their practice.
The three Characteristics of Effective Learning which underpin the Prime and Specific Areas of Learning and Development are:
- playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
- active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; and
- creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
Equal opportunities and Inclusion
We ensure that all pupils have equal access to a broad and balanced curriculum regardless of age, gender, race and ability.
In the EYFS we set realistic and challenging expectations that meet the needs of all our children, so that most achieve the expected level by the end of Reception. Some children progress beyond this point. We achieve this by planning to meet the needs of boys and girls, children who are working above the expected level, children with specific learning difficulties and disabilities, children from all social and cultural backgrounds, children of different ethnic groups and from diverse linguistic backgrounds.
Children with special educational needs are supported to enable them to access the provision fully. We liaise closely with our feeder Preschools and with health visitors, the school nurse and social services. Children who have earlier been identified as having special needs are discussed with their parents and the professionals concerned and if necessary the governing body. Learning Plans identify targets in specific areas of learning for those children who require additional support commensurate with the school’s Special Educational Needs Policy. The school’s SEND Co-ordinator is responsible for providing additional information and advice to staff and parents and for arranging external intervention and support as necessary.