The Foundation Stage Curriculum is based on Seven Areas of Learning. These areas are divided into Prime areas and Specific areas.
The prime areas of learning are:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social and emotional development
The specific areas of learning are:
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
The DfE describes the prime areas as being fundamental to children’s learning of the specific areas, with the specific areas, in turn, helping to further develop the prime areas. In reality, this means planning activities that support the three prime areas for younger children (so until around 2 years old). For children aged two and above, planning and activities should be widened to also incorporate the four specific areas of learning & development.
In the Early Years, children learn through play and activities are designed to promote independent learning. Early Years practitioners will look closely at the way in which children learn. This is known as ‘characteristics of effective learning.’
The characteristics of effective learning are:
- playing and exploring
- active learning
- creating and thinking critically.
The curriculum in the Foundation Stage is structured around a ‘mini topic’ approach; which incorporates children’s own interests. Each topic has planned learning objectives and specific assessment opportunities are built-in. The curriculum, whilst developed through a topic approach, ensures there is a suitable balance between adult-led and child-initiated independent activities.
Outdoor learning happens throughout the day in Nursery and Reception. Children have opportunities to experience a wide range of themed activities; including role-play activities and sensory-based activities.
The curriculum has been developed to maximise progression for children and in particular, to enable them to access learning opportunities when they are ready rather than as a result of their age. The Foundation Stage curriculum allows for flexibility.
Activities that are provided are interesting and carefully matched to the capabilities and interests of the children. The children are taught in different ways and in different teaching styles according to the needs of the children and the curriculum.
The current tracking system enables staff to identify baseline starting points for all the children entering Nursery and Reception and thus enables them to plan for appropriate teaching.
Home Learning and activities at Home
In partnership with parents/carers, all children are encouraged to continue their learning at home. Within the Foundation Stage, the main focus of the activities will be early skills in the personal, social and emotional development, speaking, reading, writing and mathematics.
It is essential that parents/carers support children at home, in order to encourage them to achieve as best they can.
Learning at home will take the form of practising recognition of letters, word and numbers through games and activities advised by the teaching staff. We encourage all children to read at home every day with an adult and experience having stories read to them where they can take part in retelling stories.
During the course of the year, you will be asked to support your child to help them research their focus themes, develop a project which will help them to develop their own initiated interests outside of school.
Partnership Learning with parents
We value our partnerships with parents/carers and recognise the importance of working together to support each child. School staff organise and run a variety of workshops for parents/carers and children to attend. Through these workshops, parents/carers will be able to understand how to support their children with their learning. We offer phonics, maths, reading and messy play mornings throughout the year.