Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Reception and Year 1 parents recently had the opportunity to visit phonics lessons being taught to their children to support their understanding of phonics. As ever, we asked for feedback which can be found here and includes a report from one of our governors who also attended.
“Children have real understanding only of that which they invent themselves.”
The EYFS curriculum at Mossgate Primary School is shaped by the seven areas of learning & development and the individual needs, interests & stages of development of the children. An exciting and challenging curriculum is constantly being crafted as a direct response to children’s interests & fascinations with connected stories, poems and books at the heart of all we do.
It is our intention that language development will have a significant place and focus within our EYFS curriculum. A wealth of activities & experiences are planned in order that language development is promoted and taught at every opportunity across all areas of learning.
Our curriculum will ensure that the activities & experiences for children are shaped by the Educational Programmes set out in the EYFS Framework:
Communication & 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.
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, 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.
Personal, Social & 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.
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 & 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.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
At Mossgate, we are passionate about supporting children to become effective learners. The learning environment and approach to teaching and learning in the EYFS is planned to support children in developing the Characteristics of Effective Learning. We follow children's interests to ensure they are highly engaged and motivated to enable them to develop their creative and critical thinking.
This video exemplifies a typical day in EYFS, with lots of opportunities for children to follow their interests, whilst learning the important knowledge & skills that our curriculum provides.
Learning through play is a very important part of a child’s development. We plan our environment to ensure that children have the opportunity to experience a wide range of learning opportunities across the curriculum. We ensure that we provide stimulating resources which allow children to initiate their own learning, whilst adults play and teach alongside them. All children are encouraged to use our outdoor and indoor learning environment. The environment & resources are reviewed on an on-going basis and enhanced in response to children's needs, interests & fascinations.
These videos give a flavour of how our indoor & outdoor learning environments might be organised.
“The work of education is divided between the teacher and the environment.”
Our entire EYFS curriculum has been carefully planned so that whilst our children can play and follow their own interests, they also have an abundance of opportunities to learn vital knowledge & skills appropriate to their age & stage of development, but also that lay the foundations for all future learning in the National Curriculum & beyond. At the bottom of the page you will find our EYFS Curriculum Map for the year and long term plans for Literacy & Mathematics. In addition, we plan medium term timelines for each half term & short term plans for weekly/daily planning as required.
The intended impact of our curriculum is that all children can be supported to make outstanding progress from their starting points, in order to achieve the Early Learning Goals and a Good Level of Development, whilst also preparing them for the future curriculum requirements in Key Stage One & beyond.
Bryony Booth – EYFS Leader
Updated September 2022