At Noah’s Ark we deliver the statutory curriculum, the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ (EYFS). This curriculum applies to all children between 0 and 5 years in all settings and schools in England and provides a framework on which all Early Years education is based. As well as a Learning and Development component, it also includes Safeguarding and Welfare guidance. The curriculum covers 7 areas of learning, which are split into 2 parts, called the Prime and Specific areas. The Prime areas are considered the key, fundamental areas upon which the Specific areas depend, and together they cover all facets of a child’s development.
There are four themes in the EYFS.
This theme is about how children develop: they are all different and their learning needs and styles are unique too. Positive relationships and good communication are vital so that we can plan for individual learning needs. Children do best when all their physical and emotional needs are met, and this is what we aim to do at Noah’s Ark. Staff begin by observing each child’s development and learning and assess their progress, planning for their next steps. Together we identify any areas which may need some additional support and arrange this if necessary.
Each child’s development is supported across all the areas of learning by the Characteristics of Effective Learning:
This theme is about children learning to manage their feelings and build friendships. We respect all families and aim to develop a positive two-way relationship with parents and carers. Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. Staff are warm and friendly and help to foster a sense of belonging. We are sensitive and responsive to children’s feelings and support their efforts and encourage independence. Children need to learn about risks and safety, how to make right choices, and how to stick to boundaries.
This theme is about how we plan for and check on each child’s progress. Children learn and develop well in environments in which the adults provide experiences based on children’s individual needs and there is a strong partnership between staff and parents/carers. These environments value everyone’s learning and offer stimulating resources relevant to all the children’s cultures and communities. We offer rich learning opportunities through play and playful teaching and support children to take risks and to explore.
This theme is about how children develop and learn in different ways. The EYFS framework covers the education and care of all children in the nursery, including children with additional needs. We teach children by providing challenging, playful opportunities across the Prime and Specific areas of learning and development. We aim to foster the Characteristics of Effective Learning: Playing and Exploring, Active Learning and Creating and Thinking Critically.
The EYFS is divided into two areas. The first, the Prime Areas, begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas. The Prime areas continue to be essential throughout the whole EYFS.
The Specific Areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society. They grow out of the Prime areas and provide important contexts for learning.
Activities from all the above curricular areas are planned on a daily and weekly basis, taking into account the child’s previous learning, and are extended to accommodate the needs of individual children. Staff intervene where appropriate to enhance this learning through play experience. Teachers take notes during observation of the children at work and play and this information informs future planning.
We recognise that all children have unique skills and achieve differently and that it is inappropriate to make provision for them in a uniform way. We concentrate on providing the fullest range of learning opportunities in order to meet each child’s learning needs.
Children work through a series of development steps towards the early learning goals which most children will reach by the end of their Reception Year. Throughout their time at Noah’s Ark, each teacher keeps a record of each child through an online programme, Tapestry, where their progress and development is monitored, through observation, samples of work, photographs and input from parents and the children. Parents are welcome to look at their child’s record at any time.
If you would like to find out more about the EYFS or the areas of learning and development, all the documents we use can be found on this website, which also has parents’ pages and contains lots of information about the EYFS – http://www.foundationyears.org.uk