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at Didsbury CE Primary School

Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), the first steps of your child's learning journey at Didsbury CE Primary School.

Starting school is an exciting time: a time of new experiences, new friends and new places. Our school days provide a secure and nurturing environment where your child can play, explore, experiment, investigate and learn. We encourage the children to acquire skills and knowledge through first-hand experience, gaining a sound understanding of the world around them.

The curriculum for our Nursery and Reception classes has been developed from many years of outstanding teaching.  It is fully in line with the new EYFS Framework and educational programme. We follow the curriculum from Development Matters and cherish each child as an individual, helping them learn to grow and develop across all areas of their learning.

Our Curriculum

Children develop quickly in the Early Years and we aim to capture their eagerness to learn in all areas of the curriculum. As well as following the new 'Early Years Foundation Stage Profile' Curriculum we use the new Development Matters Framework to support our planning and assessment on a regular basis. Therefore, all staff know the stage all individual children are working at and use assessment to facilitate and move learning on to enable the children to make progress. The Curriculum comprises of seven areas of learning and development.

The 7 areas of learning in the EYFS

There are seven areas of learning and development in the EYFS. All areas of learning and development is important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.

These three areas, the prime areas, are:

Prime Areas of Learning:

  • Communication and Language development of children's spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. This involves providing a language rich environment with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts. Through conversations, storytelling and role play, the children share their ideas with support and modelling from the EYFS team, and questioning invites them to elaborate.
  • Physical Development is vital in children's all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. The EYFS team help children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility through providing play opportunities in both indoors and outdoors.
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive ability. This involves forming strong and supportive relationships with the EYFS team which enables the children to  understand their own feelings and feelings of others. Children are also supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, develop friendships, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and to understand appropriate behaviour. 

We also provide support for children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:

Specific Areas of Learning:

  • Literacy development is crucial to develop a life-long love of reading. This involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write using our Phonics programme, Success for All. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
  • Mathematics is essential in developing a strong grounding in number so children develop the necessary building blocks to excel in Maths. This involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, to subitise, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
  • Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community by increasing their knowledge and sense of the world through visiting local places and meeting important members of society. In addition, listening to a broad selection of books will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world.
  • Expressive arts and design development supports the children's imagination and creativity. This involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities.

Please see the downloads at the bottom of this page for details of our Nursery and Reception classes.

Characteristics of Effective Learning

Playing and exploring – engagement: Finding out and exploring, playing with what the children know, being willing to ‘have a go’.

Active learning – motivation: Being involved and concentrating, perseverance, enjoying achieving what they set out to do.

Creating and thinking critically – thinking: Having their own ideas, making links, choosing ways to do things.              

Achievement of these Prime and Specific Areas of Learning is reached by putting the Characteristics at the heart of all we do. This ensures all children are exposed to a broad and balanced curriculum. Children become self-motivated learners who embrace challenge and are inspired to learn. They are able to fulfil their potential and develop the skills necessary for success.

How do we learn?

We know that children learn best when they are given practical and first-hand experiences.

Providing high quality planned experiences for children’s play is an important way for adults to support children’s learning that is both enjoyable and challenging. When children play, they are learning at the highest level. Play can extend certain areas of their learning – for example, developing language skills by promoting talk between children or introducing new vocabulary that they use and act out in their play.

Each day the children have short teacher led lessons such as Phonics and Maths, but they are also encouraged to independently complete challenging activities across the curriculum that match their individual requirements and help them achieve their next steps.

There is a seamless link between the indoor and outdoor learning environment which children access all day and in all weathers!

  • In the EYFS children’s natural, exploratory drive is developed through their self-directed play.
  • A child initiated (self-initiated) activity is an activity wholly decided on by the child itself and is the result of an intrinsic motivation to explore a project, or express an idea.
  • The learning environment is organised in such a way that children can find and access resources for themselves. This promotes independence and responsibility.
  • We ensure that there is a balance of adult-led and freely chosen or child-initiated activities, delivered through indoor and outdoor play.
  • Outdoor learning has equal value to indoor learning.
  • Outdoor learning has a positive impact on children's well-being and development.

As the children progress through the Reception year more adult initiated activities are introduced to prepare them for their transition into Year 1.

Your Child’s Progress: Tapestry

Regular assessment takes place throughout the Foundation Stage. To enable us to see how your child is progressing and plan for their next steps in learning. We use an electronic system to support our assessment process called Tapestry.

We assess the children by taking photographs, writing observations and uploading them to the child’s Tapestry account. Each child also has a learning journey in which some work is collected, usually written work. All assessments informal and take place alongside activities so that children are not aware that they are being assessed.

Transition into Year 1

  • Before the children move from EYFS into Year 1 the teaching staff of these classes meet to discuss each individual child’s progress.
  • The child’s present teacher informs the future teacher of his/her level of ability, special educational needs and any other information relevant to the well-being and development of the individual child.
  • Year 1 teachers are therefore aware of all the children’s achievements and can implement the next steps of their learning.
  • The Year 1 curriculum builds on and extends the experiences children have had during the Foundation Stage.
    All children attend a meet their new teacher morning in preparation for their move into Year 1.
  • There is also a transition meeting in the Summer term, to support parents with their child’s transition into Year 1.
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