Early Years Foundation Stage
“Children learn well in a safe, vibrant and engaging environment that feeds their curious minds."
Ofsted Report, Summer 2019
Early Years Phase Leader
At Floreat Montague Park we are passionate about Early Years and aim to ensure that every child who begins their learning journey with us has a positive and happy start to their school life. Here at Montague Park, we recognise that starting school can be a daunting experience for your child but we work hard to ensure that your child has a smooth transition into school life, in a safe and stimulating environment.
Our Nursery and Reception classes provide both child and adult led learning opportunities through a rich, thematic EYFS curriculum. We aim to work in partnership with you as a parent but also with your children to ensure that we incorporate some of their own interests within our classrooms and their learning. We appreciate that every child is unique and we strive to build positive relationships, ensuring that every child has equal opportunities. Your child’s key worker will be their classroom teacher but throughout the day they will have several high-quality interactions with various members of support staff.
Your child will spend the majority of their day within our Early Years Setting free flowing between our engaging indoor and outdoor environments. We refer to the time of the day as exploration time and during this time your child will be given the opportunity to self-select and plan what they will do. Our staff members work with the children at this time to support and challenge them, through quality interactions. Through our interactions with your child and clear modelling we hope to encourage more independence in their learning and personal care. This part of our EYFS curriculum is commonly referred to as learning through play and at Floreat Montague Park this is just one of the ways we ensure that your child has secure foundational learning.
However, we are aware at Montague Park that some aspects of the EYFS curriculum need direct adult-led teaching and your child will take part in taught carpet sessions each day. In Nursery, these will consist of small group times building up to whole class learning in the Reception Year. During these sessions we aim to cover subjects like English, Maths, Phonics, Science, Art and many more.
Over your child's EYFS journey at Montague Park we will track their learning in 7 key areas, please see below for more information on these areas. At the end of EYFS, in the Reception Year, your child is formally assessed within these areas. Each area is broken down into seventeen sub-sections and has an early learning goal. We then assess your child against these early learning goals through our child-initiated observations, teacher judgement and their adult led work. If you would like to find out more information on this please follow the link to the Development Matters document below, where you will be able to see the early learning goal for each area.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
We also look for and encourage the development of the Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL), which thread through all areas of learning and support children to be effective and motivated learners. They are:
Playing and exploring – engagement
Children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go
Active learning – motivation
Children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
Creating and thinking critically – thinking
Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
Areas of Learning
At Floreat Montague Park, we follow the statutory EYFS Framework and use the non-statutory guidance from Development Matters to support us in our planning, teaching and assessment of your child’s learning journey. Following this guidance, your child will be taught at their own pace and assessed through seven areas of learning. These seven areas are split into the prime and specific areas.
We focus on developing the children’s skills in the prime areas first as they are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.
They are as follows:
The Prime Areas
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.
Communication and Language through: 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.
Physical Development: Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, coordination 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, coordination 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 coordination, 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.
The Specific Areas
Literacy: 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).
Mathematics: 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.
The wording for each area has been taken from the EYFS Statutory framework 2021. It is our statutory obligation to follow the educational programmes of study above.