Early Years Curriculum
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for learning, development and care up until the age of 5 years old. At Balksbury Federation in our children’s first year, the year in which children turn 5, we follow the EYFS Profile. Throughout this year, children explore, develop and learn in an engaging indoor and outdoor environment.
Early Years learning concentrates on seven areas split between prime and specific areas of learning.
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
Learning through play is one of the key principles of Early Years education and we embrace this fully whilst providing structure and content through teacher lead activities and interventions.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
In Year R we develop the individual learning characteristics of children. We observe how children respond to both the teaching and learning taking place in the environment. The focus of the Characteristics of Effective Learning, is on how children learn rather than what they learn i.e. process over outcome. The three characteristics of effective teaching and learning identified by the EYFS 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
• Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
Children will work their way through the characteristics throughout the year and will move towards the end of their time in Year R by being able to think critically and creatively.
Here at Balksbury Federation we use the Government Scheme Letters and Sounds to teach phonics; this is coupled with ‘Cued Articulation’ to help embed children’s sounds using a visual and kinaesthetic hand action. The hand movements are logical – each hand movement represents one sound and the cue gives clues as to how and where the sound is produced.
Letters and Sounds has a six phase programme designed to build children’s speaking and listening skills as well as prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills.