A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE EYFS
'Living, loving and learning together'.
It is our intention that the EYFS curriculum provides a balance of child-initiated learning and carefully considered opportunities for adult-directed learning. We believe that learning for children is most rewarding where they can explore, question, create, and develop curiosity. We believe that children thrive when they build warm and trusting relationships, which support them with learning to co-regulate and self-regulate. At St Paul’s we understand the importance of language development, enhanced through interactions with other children and adults, alongside the explicit teaching of new vocabulary. We support our children in developing the skills needed to learn to listen, speak and meet expectations for behaviour by working together and being kind. Throughout the Foundation Stage, many aspects of learning are brought together effectively through play and high-quality interactions, growing children’s understanding of concepts, and enriching and broadening their experiences. We use children’s interests and experiences to build on concepts and develop their knowledge, skills, and understanding.
At St Paul’s, we recognise the uniqueness of the Foundation Stage and promote the use of play as the primary vehicle for learning. Our learning environment is crucial in providing rich and stimulating experiences, which enhance and develop the children’s interests and curiosities. We acknowledge that children learn at different rates, in different ways, and plan according to the children’s needs. We follow the ‘Early Years Statutory Framework’ (2021) and use ‘Development Matters’ (2021) alongside ‘Birth to 5’ (2021) to form the basis for our curriculum development. The timetable is structured so that children have direct teaching in phonics, maths, and reading with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED. These sessions are followed by focused learning where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets and next steps. These focused activities mean practitioners can check for understanding, identify, and respond to misconceptions quickly.
Interactions with young children are profoundly important for supporting and extending their learning. We believe that the growth of language is vital to every child’s social, emotional, and intellectual development. Quality interactions matter for all children, especially those who may fall behind the majority. Having a good vocabulary, understanding sentence structure and being familiar with the language of books are all directly related to competency in reading and writing. All children need activities which help them to learn language and new vocabulary; this should be learnt through play, books, and direct teaching time. Knowing our children well enables our practitioners to initiate or respond to interactions at the right time and in the right way, finding the right hooks, on which to attach a conversation. As practitioners, we listen attentively to children’s remarks, model language, and explicitly teach new vocabulary to broaden the depth of our children’s knowledge and understanding.
Promoting a love of reading and developing language is at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow the rigorous and successful ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ programme with fidelity and consistency. The daily phonics session follows the review, teach, practice, and apply method of teaching, providing opportunities for children to recap and over learn phonics to embed long term learning. Children engage with daily group reading sessions, alongside guided reading, to develop their love of reading and early reading behaviours. Sessions are planned with key questions, vocabulary, and opportunities for discussion about the text that has been read. Children are encouraged to name the parts of the book, their features, and are warmly invited to talk about their favourite part. In Reception, daily comprehension is planned, where children are taught to sequence, recall, and develop their emotional literacy by discussing the Zones of Emotional Regulation in relation to the characters and the main events of the text.
Our curriculum recognises the importance of outdoor learning and the impact this has on children’s well-being. Through outdoor play children learn to explore and develop the learning experiences that help them make sense of the world. They learn to self-regulate and think creatively alongside other children. Outdoor learning offers children the freedom to explore and use their senses whilst being physically active and exuberant. It gives children first-hand contact with weather, the natural world, and seasons. The children at St Paul’s are encouraged to and use the Early Years playground and/or the woodland area wherever possible, and the curriculum is carefully planned to facilitate this.
The curriculum of the EYFS encompasses seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. The EYFS framework places emphasis on the prime areas, followed by emphasis on the specific areas. Within these areas, there are sub-categories, which are used to assess the children at the end of the Reception year.
The Prime Areas:
|COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGE||PERSONAL, SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT||PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT|
|LITERACY||MATHEMATICS||UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD||EXPRESSIVE ARTS AND DESIGN|
None of these areas can be delivered in isolation from the others. They are all equally important and interrelated. All areas of the curriculum must be delivered through a delicate balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities.