Welcome to Early Years at Beamish Primary School.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is how the Government and early years professionals describe the time in your child’s life between birth and age 5. For Beamish Primary School this means children in our Nursery and Reception.
This is a very important stage as it helps your child get ready for main school as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. From when your child is born up until the age of 5, their early years’ experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs.
Nurseries, pre-schools, Reception classes and childminders registered to deliver the EYFS must follow a legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.
The EYFS sets the standards that schools must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good progress through school and life.
Principles of the EYFS
- Every child is unique
- Through positive relationships children learn to be confident and independent
- Children develop and learn in enabling environments
- Children learn and develop at different rates and in different ways
The children are given opportunities to play and explore, to investigate and experience things and to ‘have a go’. They are active and develop their own ideas. They are all unique and will have different interests and abilities. The areas of development have been divided into two groups, Prime and Specific. Our curriculum has 7 areas of learning:
Three Prime areas:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- We support children in creating relationships and making friends. We help them to have a positive sense of themselves, develop respect for others and learn about managing their own feelings and behaviours. Together we encourage children to have confidence in themselves and their abilities and to become more independent. We support the development of attention and concentration skills.
- Communication and Language Development
- Within our provision children have the opportunity to experience a rich language environment. We encourage children to speak and listen in a variety of situations with increasing attention. Staff have a good understanding of speech and language development and support children in developing their confidence to express themselves and develop their vocabulary.
- Physical Development
- We provide opportunities for children to be active and develop their co-ordination, movement and control. We support them in negotiating space and handling tools effectively. Providing daily activities to develop their gross motor and fine motor skills. We also help children to understand the importance of health, good hygiene habits, fresh air, healthy food choices, physical exercise and staying safe.
These prime areas are essential for children’s healthy development and future learning. The three prime areas form essential building blocks and as children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in four specific areas.
Four Specific areas:
- Books and stories are a very important part of our curriculum. By providing children with access to a wide range of reading materials and stories to ignite their interests, they develop a love of reading. We provide opportunities that encourage children to link sounds and letters to support them in the process of learning to read and write. We strive to ignite children’s interests by offering context based on high quality texts and planning exciting opportunities and activities based on the chosen texts.
- We provide children with opportunities and experiences that continually develop their understanding and recognition of numbers, quantities, patterns and number fluency skills.Our Mathematical curriculum covers ‘Number, Measure, Shape & Spatial awareness. We encourage children to solve problems, including those that include addition and subtraction. In our EYFS we support children in using everyday language to talk about and describe shapes, spaces and measures. Maths can be found in all areas of our provision and children experience it in a purposeful and meaningful context within their play and daily routines
- Understanding the World
- We support children in making sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about places, people, technology, the environment and the natural world.
- Expressive Art and Design
- Children have the opportunity to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. Opportunities are provided and encouraged for children to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, songs, rhymes, movement activities, stories, dance, role-play and design and technology.
These seven areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities according to their unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it’s suitable for very young children, and it’s designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child’ needs and interests.
Children in our EYFS typically learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outdoors (Learning to Learn). Here at Beamish Primary School, we strongly believe that outdoor learning is key to a child’s development. The children have lots of quality outdoor experiences each day.
Our EYFS promotes partnership working between practitioners and families to ensure the best start possible for children. It seeks to make sure that every child makes good progress and has the opportunity to gain a secure foundation through learning and development opportunities. These opportunities and experiences must take into account individual children’s needs and interests.
Reading in Reception – ensuring a strong start
Reception parents are invited into school, early in the Autumn term, where they will engage in a series of parent reading workshops. The children enjoy having their special adults come into school to take part in a phonics lesson, reading activities and to listen to a favourite class story. We have published a follow up information guide (underneath the below photos), to support parents so that they have all the information and guidance they need to help their children to learn to read. We have had some fantastic feedback from both the parents and the children!
Phonics and Reading Programme- RWI
At Beamish Primary School we use Read Write Inc (RWI), this is a phonics based programme which helps children learn to read whilst also developing a wide range of vocabulary and encouraging a love of stories. Children in Nursery will take part in a range of fun and exciting activities to help them build their phonological awareness, language and give them the skills they need to begin to read words.
Evidence of your child’s progress will be collected on the online ‘Tapestry’ App. Parents are able to view their child’s learning journey and also provide home-learning observations. We really do value your home input and encourage you to upload them into your child’s learning journal.
At the end of Reception the children will be assessed against the 17 Early Learning Goals and their progress shared with parents.
For more information regarding the EYFS please take a look at the following website or please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the Foundation Stage Team.
You can view or download further information about EYFS and your child’s learning and development by clicking the links below:
EYFS Curriculum Areas
Number fluency is continually developed within early years: our Mathematical curriculum covers ‘Number, Measure, Shape & Spatial awareness. Children participate in short maths sessions daily and are given time to explore mathematical concepts, test ideas, develop their understanding and practise taught skills through play. Maths can be found in all areas of our provision and children experience it in a purposeful and meaningful context within their play and daily routines. Our mud kitchen, construction areas, Forest School and domestic role play are just some of the areas in which children can explore number, shape, space and measures. Children are encouraged to use their mathematical understanding and skills to solve real-life problems and practitioners are trained to identify and extend opportunities to foster this.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum supports children’s understanding of Science through the planning and teaching of ‘Understanding the World.’ Children find out about objects, materials and living things using all of their senses looking at similarities, differences, patterns and change. Both the environment and skilled practitioners foster curiosity and encourage explorative play, children are motivated to ask questions about why things happen and how things work. Our children are encouraged to use their natural environment around them to explore. Children enjoy spending time outdoors exploring mini-beasts and their habitats, observing the changing seasons, plants and animals. Children regularly participate in cookery and baking sessions which allows them to experience changes in state as ingredients are mixed, heated and cooled.
Through Expressive Arts children are encouraged to explore different media, explore how media can be combined to create different effects and develop a range of skills and techniques experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. Children are given daily access to a range of creative opportunities and enjoy our carefully planned and well resourced creative areas both indoors and out. Children are encouraged to create on both small and large scales and our outdoor environment supports this well. Children are encouraged to develop their communication and language skills through talking about their creations and sharing these with others to build confidence and raise self-esteem.
Design and Technology
Through Expressive Arts children are encouraged to construct and create purposefully selecting tools and techniques needed to shape, assemble and join materials they are using. children learn through first-hand experiences which involve putting their ideas into practice to develop an awareness and understanding of the possibilities and limitations of different materials. Practitioners encourage children to explore, observe, solve problems, think critically, make decisions and talk about why they have made their decisions as they design and create. Children’s natural creativity is fostered and opportunities for investigation, designing and making are offered daily within our provision, which enables children to learn a great deal about their world.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum supports children’s understanding of geography, people and communities through the planning and teaching of ‘Understanding the World’. Children learn about features of their own environment such as school, home, community and their city through first-hand experiences and learn how environments may differ through the sharing of books, stories, poems, small world play, role play and visits. Children enjoy the valuable experiences gained from our regular trips to places within their local community such as the library, park and local shops. Children are given time to discuss, comment and ask questions about what they observe about the world around them and are encouraged to be active learners and explore their interests further.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum supports children’s understanding of History through the planning and teaching of ‘Understanding the World’. This aspect is about how children find out about past and present events in their own lives, their families and other people they know. Children are encouraged to develop a sense of change over time and are given opportunities to differentiate between past and present by observing routines throughout the day, growing plants, observing the passing of seasons and time and looking at photographs of their life and of others. Practitioners encourage investigative behaviour and raise questions such as, ‘What do you think?’, ‘Tell me more about?’, ‘What will happen if..?’, ‘What else could we try?’, ‘What could it be used for?’ and ‘How might it work?’ Use of language relating to time is used in daily routines and conversations with children for example, ‘yesterday’, ‘old’, ‘past’, ‘now’ and ‘then’.
Through Expressive Arts, children are taught to sing songs, make music and dance. Children are given opportunities to experiment with ways of changing sound and develop an understanding of pulse rhythm and pitch. Children follow a scheme of work from Charanga Music School and enjoy listening and responding to different styles of music, learning to sing, joining in with nursery rhymes and action songs which leads to playing classroom instruments and performing for others. Children are also encouraged to use everyday objects to make music and create sound, children enjoy exploring our music wall outdoors and experiment with sound using objects made from different materials such as wood, metal and plastic. Children experiment with water buts, kettles and pans, piping, guttering, bin lids and many different types of beaters.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and carefully planned provision are designed to support children’s physical development. We offer daily playful opportunities for children to engage in physical activity both in and outdoors. Our children have access to free flow play for sustained periods of time and are encouraged to use our large outdoor environment including our forest school, mud kitchen, play equipment and large sandpit. We access this environment all year round and in all weather conditions to support the development of gross and fine motor control, balance, coordination, confidence and problem solving skills. We explore meditation, yoga, massage and relaxation techniques and share a range of healthy snacks to develop our understanding of the importance of a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Through Personal, Social, Emotional Development children are supported to build constructive and respectful relationships that allow them to play, learn and develop alongside both adults and their peers. As children make friendships they learn to manage conflicts and rivalries with the support of adults. Children are empowered to envisage themselves as valuable individuals who are aware of what makes them unique In the Early Years children are encouraged to express their feelings and adults carefully model the handling of these feelings and emotions to support children in becoming independent in moderating their own feelings. Children are taught to manage their own physical needs and understand the importance of respecting others privacy. A large part of the curriculum in the Early Years supports the developing resilience within young children, children are encouraged to persevere to meet their goals and targets. As a part of the learning journey experienced in the Early Years developing the understanding of rules and routines is an integral part that runs parallel to all.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum supports children’s understanding of Religious Education through the planning and teaching of ‘Understanding the World’. Children are encouraged to use their imagination and curiosity to develop their appreciation of, and wonder at, the world in which they live. Exploring others views, cultures and beliefs supports children in developing their views and beliefs about themselves, their family and community. In finding out about others, young children are encouraged to reflect on belief, culture and practice and explore faith through observing festivals and celebrations, sharing stories, visuals, toys and puppets, handling real artefacts, roleplay, books and discussion.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development in the Early Years
What is SMSC?
SMSC stands for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. All schools in England must show how well their pupils develop in SMSC.
Spiritual: explore beliefs and experience; respect faiths, feelings and values; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect.
Moral: recognise right and wrong; respect the law; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views.
Social: investigate moral issues; appreciate diverse viewpoints; participate, volunteer and cooperate; resolve conflict; engage with the fundamental values of British democracy.
Cultural: appreciate cultural influences; appreciate the role of Britain’s parliamentary system; participate in culture opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.
SMSC in the Early Years
SMSC development is now referenced throughout Ofsted’s School Inspection Handbook. In the Early Years, we have a thoughtful and wide-ranging promotion of pupils’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development and their physical well-being.
- Encouraging awe and wonder for environment – e.g. lying looking at clouds in the sky
- Encouraging appreciation of nature – e.g. spider webs, watching ladybirds
- Encouraging children to reflect on their experiences, individually and in group time
- Supporting development of imagination and creativity through stories and open-ended creative provision
- Planning for and offering magical moments
- Acknowledgement of importance of enjoyment to well-being through having fun e.g. jumping in puddles
- Encouraging awe and wonder for objects – e.g. curiosity cube
- Encouraging strong key person relationships – influencing quality of life through these interactions
- Through questionnaires encourage community involvement in thinking about values to promote e.g. being honest
- Promote values through stories at large group time
- Discuss values and feelings through use of the “Box of Feelings” programme
- Reward system rewarding attitudes e.g. being kind
- Staff modelling of values e.g. being friendly
- Supporting children’s following of rules e.g. “no running in the classroom”
- The Restorative Approach is used consistently by all staff in the nursery
- Use of conflict resolution techniques to encourage children’s understanding of feelings of others
- Use of keyperson groups to encourage children to form friendships
- Staff support social skills and development throughout play and learning experiences
- Snack times and lunch club– supporting table manners
- Teaching self-care habits – e.g. blowing noses, covering mouth when coughing
- Support inclusion of children within play and challenge any stereo typing e.g. “boys can’t come in the home corner”
- Support transition process into nursery and into school
- Support development of respectful behaviour e.g. listening to others, not invading other children’s space
- Sharing a wide range of quality inclusive texts/stories and social stories with children
- Appreciation of cultures of others as it arises from home backgrounds of children within nursery and within the books shared
- “News from Home” sheets encourage families to tell us about their own cultural celebrations and customs and these are shared
- Encourage bi-lingual children to use their home language, as well as English and discuss importance of this with parents
- Challenge stereo –typical language and ensure all types of families feel accepted and respected.
- Quality inclusive resources purchased and provided in the environment
- Understanding and feeling comfortable in a variety of cultures