Playing and Learning
The EYFS sets standards to ensure children learn in a healthy & safe environment. It promotes development to support the transition into school & provides a range of knowledge & skills to ensure good progress throughout life.
We are guided by this, offering children a range of experiences which is continued into lower school and our partnership ensures a smooth transition with little disruption to learning. Areas of learning are sub-divided into early learning goals; 3 prime areas, which ignite children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and build their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These are the main focus for 2-3 year olds. In addition, the 4 Specific areas strengthen and apply the prime areas. Children will be supported to reach learning goals, which are usually accomplished up to the end of the Foundation Stage.
We provide regular Development Updates, a Progress Check before a child is 3 years old will be shared with families; this will identify strength’s, areas for development, schema’s of learning & next steps to extend development. These assessments will be discussed with you to support learning at home & the framework encourages you to share this with your Health Visitor for inclusion in your child’s ‘Healthy Child Programme’.
While your child is with us our main aim is to encourage independence, security and self-confidence/esteem. With these valuable attributes children successfully build relationships with peers and staff and participate in activities that will encourage development. While encouraging such development children will be offered a mixture of child-initiated & adult-led activities, which value 'Learning through play'. We believe that children develop greater understanding of concepts if they experience things first hand, making discoveries themselves while being supported, encouraged and when appropriate, offered further challenge by staff. . Characteristics of effective learning which we support include Playing & Exploring where children investigate & ‘have a go’, Active Learning where they concentrate, persevere & enjoy achievements & Creating & Thinking Critically where they develop their own ideas & develop strategies to achieve goals.
There are 7 areas of learning; 3 Prime Areas; Communication and Language, Personal, Social & Emotional development, & Physical development which are the primary focus for children under 3 years old since they are crucial for providing a base from which to learn and develop, igniting curiosity & enthusiasm for learning & forming effective relationships. These areas are strengthened & applied through 4 Specific Areas; Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World & Expressive Art & Design.
The Early Years Foundation Stage 2021
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which covers provision from birth to five years, is being reformed and there is a new EYFS framework that all schools and settings will have to follow from September 2021. These national changes have been made to better support all young children’s learning and development. It is also the aim that the new framework will better prepare children for the transition into key stage 1.
There are some elements of the EYFS that have not significantly changed and some that have. Below are some of the key points from the new EYFS reforms that include relevant changes which parents, carers and children may notice or experience.
How could you help learning and development at home to support the new EYFS reforms?
We have evaluated our planning and Learning Journeys and will be piloting our new programmes this term. If any family has any questions or would like more information on our new processes please let me know.
Early Years Foundation Stage (September 2021) and Development Matters (03/21)
Poppies Nursery embrace the EYFS (September 21) and Development Matters (March 2021), to provide broad, rich learning opportunities throughout our environment. We value the outdoor environment and have an open-door policy whereby children may choose where they wish to spend much of their time throughout their session or day with us. We use a combination of child initiated and staff initiated activities, the latter to predominantly support each child’s Cultural Capital and also to ensure the opportunities our children experience include all areas of learning.
English as an additional language
The characteristics of effective teaching and learning
In planning and guiding what children learn, we also reflect on the different rates at which children are developing and adjust our practice appropriately. Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
The areas of learning and development
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.
Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.
These are the prime areas:
Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
Educational programmes must involve activities and experiences for children, as set out under each of the areas of learning.
Communication and Language
The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children's language effectively. 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, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children should be supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary. 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.
Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives7. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop 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, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.
It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. 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. By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding - such as using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting - children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.
Understanding 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. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.
Expressive Arts and Design
The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. It is important that children have regular opportunities 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. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.
Seven key features of effective practice.
1. The best for every child
2. High-quality care
3. The curriculum: what we want children to learn
4. Pedagogy: helping children to learn
5. Assessment: checking what children have learnt
want children to know and be able to do.
6. Self-regulation and executive function
Executive function includes the child’s ability to:
These abilities contribute to the child’s growing ability to self-regulate:
Language development is central to self-regulation: children use language to guide their actions and plans.
Pretend play gives many opportunities for children to focus their thinking, persist and plan ahead.
7. Partnership with parents
We use the Development Matters descriptors for child development to ensure our observations are accurate, and also to support children appropriately on their learning journey.
More information can be found on:
Play helps children learn and develop through ‘doing and talking’, which theory has shown to be the means by which they think. We use the EYFS as a guide to ensure we are providing a range of play activities which help children progress in a secure and happy environment. Children decide how they will use activities, with adult help, support and encouragement when required.
We encourage parents to share comments and any information conducive to the well being of their child, as we may then promote the child's security, self-value and confidence, all of which enable a child to access the activities on offer. Staff praise and share children's accomplishments within the group and with parents, and similarly share concerns. Children's developmental records are available at any time for parent's perusal and contribution.
We hope you and your child enjoy your time at ‘Poppies’. Please see staff if you have any comments, questions or suggestions we may incorporate into ‘Poppies Life’.