In Nursery and Reception we follow the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. The Early Years curriculum is divided into seven areas of learning; three Prime Areas and four Specific Areas, as detailed below:
Prime Areas of Learning
Communication and language development
This involves reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts. Through conversation, storytelling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.
This involves children developing their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, allows children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.
Personal, social and emotional development
This involves children to manage their emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities. Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently. Through supported interaction with other children they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably. These attributes will provide a secure platform from which children can achieve at school and in later life.
Specific Areas of Learning
It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing).
Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers.
Understanding of the world
Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains.
Expressive arts and design
The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. It is important that children to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts.
Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning 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’s progress towards the Early Learning Goals is tracked using the Development Matters guidance materials.