The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. You can read more about this statutory guidance here; Setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five.
There are seven areas of learning and development in the EYFS that underpin our core curriculum. Three of these, the prime areas, are particularly crucial for igniting children’s enthusiasm and building their capacity to become confident, curious and independent learners. In addition there are four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
The Primes Areas
Communication and language
Personal, social and emotional development
The Specific Areas
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design
During their earliest years, children form attitudes about learning that will last a lifetime. In order to inspire children to embrace a love of learning we value how children learn rather than just what they learn. These ‘characteristics of effective learning’ underpin this philosophy and support us to enable the development of a growth mindset. Children (and adults!) with a 'growth mindset' believe that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort, persistence, trying different strategies and learning from mistakes.
The characteristics that we inspire are:
Playing and exploring (which emphasises the importance of engagement)
Finding out and exploring
Using what they know in their play
Being willing to have a go
Active learning (focuses on motivation)
Being involved and concentrating
Keeping on trying
Enjoying and achieving what they set out to do
Creating and thinking critically (concerned with the development of thinking skills)
Having their own ideas
Using what they already know to learn new things
Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways
At Wendover Pre-school we know that children learn in a number of ways - through play, adult modelling, observing each other, guided learning and direct teaching. We give children the best experience in their early years by providing a mix of these approaches across the strands of our core curriculum.
Receptivity and connectedness are key elements of measuring progress in Settling, Flourishing and Sunshine group. We really get to know children as unique people with distinct skills, interests and ideas. The more we understand about a child, the better we can support them in a way that empowers them to develop into a confident, curious and independent learner.
‘Teaching is superb. The staff meticulously observe children and plan highly effective activities to cater for their individual interests. This helps to promote the highest level of achievement for children of all ages and abilities.’ OFSTED 2018
At Wendover Pre-school our ‘All About Me’ form (on entry) provides information from home to give us a starting point. We continue to gather information from home and observations of children in the setting to determine developmental stages, identify interests and establish areas of focus.
Individual focus sheets are written to incorporate each child’s unique needs and plan for development. Our assessment information celebrates every child’s progress – whether small steps or huge strides. Each child is unique, and while we are guided by an understanding of patterns of child development, progression unfolds differently for each child - like a spider’s web with many strands, not a straight line.
If children are not yet reaching typical developmental stages, or they are moving beyond typical stages, they will benefit from targeted learning strategies based around identified needs. We may seek advice and support from outside agencies, such as speech and language therapists/occupational therapists. At WPS we know that every child can make progress, if they are given the right support.
Progression and learning experiences are recorded and celebrated in a child’s learning journey book and over time these books tell a story of a child’s development.
Our ‘Thinking Book’ shows examples of activities and daily planning in the setting. We also note thoughts and ideas in the ‘Thinking Book’ to extend learning and enhance core provision. These valuable resources enable us to reflect on our practice and provide a responsive and inspiring environment.
‘All children make consistently high rates of progress in all areas of learning. They are extremely well prepared for their future learning and eventual move on to school. Children develop an excellent sense of responsibility and high levels of independence.’ OFSTED 2018