“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their potential. A child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.”
- “Early Years Foundation Stage Profile” Department for Children, Schools and Families 2012
The EYFS is based upon four principles:
· A unique child. We recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We recognise that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates. Children’s attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by feedback from others; we use praise and encouragement as well as celebration and rewards to encourage and develop a positive attitude to learning.
· Positive relationships. We recognise that children learn to be strong and independent from secure relationships and aim to develop caring, respectful and professional relationships with the children and their families.
· Enabling environments. We recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending the children’s development. Through observations we assess the children’s interests, stages of development and learning needs before planning challenging and achievable activities and experiences to extend their learning.
· Learning and development. Our Early Years classroom is organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are areas where the children can be active, be quiet and rest. The unit is set up in learning areas where children are able to find and locate equipment and resources independently.
Early childhood is the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. At St Edward's Catholic Academy, we greatly value the importance that the EYFS plays in laying secure foundations for future learning and development.
Learning and Development
Learning and development is categorised into three prime areas of learning:
· Communication and language.
· Physical development.
· Personal, social and emotional development.
Additionally there are four specific areas of learning:
· Understanding the world.
· Expressive arts and design.
Achievement of these prime and specific areas of learning is by:
· Playing and exploring.
· Active learning.
· Creating and thinking critically.
Observation, Assessment and Planning
Good planning is the key to making children’s learning effective, exciting, varied and progressive. Effective learning builds on and extends what children know and can already do. Our planning shows how the principles of the EYFS are put into practice and is always informed by observations we have made of the children, in order to understand and consider their current interests, development and learning needs. All staff who work in the Foundation Stage are involved in this process. The planning within the EYFS is based around the children’s interests. These plans are used by the EYFS team as a guide for weekly planning. However, we may alter these in response to the needs of the children. We make regular assessments of children’s learning and we use this information to ensure that future planning reflects identified needs. Assessment in the EYFS takes the form of long, short and recorded observations and this involves the teacher and other adults as appropriate.
Learning Through Play
At St Edward's Catholic Academy, we do not make a distinction between work and play. Children learn through planned play activities and staff will decide when child-initiated or adult-led play activities would provide the most effective learning opportunities.