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Early Years Foundation Stage (Reception)

In Reception, children work towards the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which is the statutory framework that sets the standards that all Early Years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.

It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children are ready for school, developing a broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.  The EYFS runs through from Nursery to the end of Reception.

The School is an extension of a child’s home and our small classes allow us to be sensitive to a child’s needs and provide appropriate support with care and attention.  The learning environments encourage discovery, independence and social interaction and the curriculum is broad and balanced, offering children a variety of choices and opportunities through varied activities and other experiences.

Why is The Foundation Stage important?

The Foundation Stage claims its name and importance from the fact that it gives children secure foundations for later learning. Early experiences affect children’s attitudes to learning and children learn best from experiences and opportunities through a carefully planned well-balanced, topic based curriculum.

The EYFS profile summarises and describes each individual child’s attainment at the end of Reception.   

The profile is based on ongoing observation and assessment in the three prime and four specific areas of learning.

The Prime Areas of Learning:

• Communication & Language
• Physical Development
• Personal, Social & Emotional Development

The Specific Areas of Learning:

• Literacy
• Mathematics
• Understanding the World
• Expressive Arts & Design

The EYFS in more detail 

Communication and Language
Communication and language is a prime area of learning and in our small class settings, children are encouraged to take full and active roles, talking about their experiences, feelings and achievements.  An appreciation of books is celebrated, with children seeing them as enjoyable, informative and stimulating and nursery rhymes, poems, stories and songs are all important features of life in Reception.  
Physical Development
There are lots of opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors and children learn the importance of keeping healthy.  Children use the Prep Gym for PE lessons and activities such as dance, gym and games.  They learn to use a range of large and small equipment to help develop their fine and gross motor skills, hand and eye co-ordination and their self-confidence.  As they progress through Prep, children take part in Sports on the School Field and also at McAllester Field, where facilities include an Astro-turf and tennis courts.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Through a range of activities, children’s personal and social skills, values and attitudes, are developed.   As they grow and mature, children learn to co-operate with their peers, taking turns to share and spend time exploring their emotions.  They are encouraged to be more independent and become more sensitive to the needs of others; whilst developing their self-confidence within our smaller class settings, along with self-control.  
Opportunities for reading are extremely important and children are heard reading each day. One of the ways this occurs is through guided reading sessions and another way is through our Reading Buddies programme, where Year 6 pupils help Reception pupils to develop their reading skills. During Literacy sessions, children learn to link sounds and letters and use their knowledge to read and write simple words by sounding out and blending.  
Early mathematical concepts are important for everyday life and develop gradually in children.  Through a range of varied activities, children are given opportunities to sort, match, order, sequence and count. They begin to develop their mathematical language, as well as start to understand the early concepts of size, shape and time. Number rhymes, songs and stories which have an element of mathematics in them, all play a part in Reception life and help to reinforce learning in a fun and engaging way.
Understanding of the World

Children are naturally curious about their environment and the people around them; within ‘Understanding the World’, a wide range of topics and skills are covered.  The Outdoor Classroom offers an inspiring learning environment and there are lots of opportunities for children to explore and develop a knowledge and understanding of the local environment and the wider world, as well as different cultures. Talks about the environment, the weather and the seasons, road safety and personal safety, as well as visits from people from the local community, all combine to support this area of learning.  Visits to places such as local farms, museums and zoos further enhance and support the children’s learning.

Within this topic, the skills and concepts in science and technology are introduced and observation, exploration, investigation and questioning skills are all actively encouraged.  The nature and interest table prompts lots of informative and useful discussion and the Prep ICT room and iPads support children in how to use ICT, as well as supporting learning through a range of different programmes and applications.  
Expressive Arts and Design

This area develops imagination, creativity and self-expressions through various mediums such as art, craft, drama, music and movement.  Children have lots of opportunities to explore and experiment with colour, shape, texture and pattern using a wide variety of materials and tools.  Musical activities such as singing, listening to music and playing simple percussion instruments are offered by a specialist Music teacher and offer lots of fun where children enjoy responding to the music through movement and dance.

Forest School

We are fortunate to be in the position to offer Forest School lessons.  ‘Forest Schools’ is an innovative approach to learning, utilising the natural environment to present learning opportunities and challenges. Through regular exposure to the natural environment in Forest Schools, children develop a wide range of skills, attributes and personal qualities that foster more independent, resilient and motivated learners.
Read more about Forest School ...

Fundamental British Values

Across the Early Years phase in Reception the principles of Fundamental British Values are upheld. The values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs, are all incorporated into the daily routine and in the care and education provided.

Democracy: Making Decisions Together

We provide activities that involve turn-taking, sharing and collaboration.  In Reception, the children are part of an end of year production where the children work together to perform a collection of songs, rhymes and dances that celebrate their experiences and achievements over the year.

Rule of Law: Understanding Rules
We help ensure that children understand their own and others’ behaviour and its consequences, helping them to distinguish between right and wrong. In Reception, the children are rewarded in assembly for their good behaviour with a courtesy and manners award.
Individual Liberty: Freedom for All
We provide children with opportunities to develop their self –knowledge, self-esteem and increase their confidence in their own abilities. We achieve this by giving children the autonomy to make choices in their play, allowing them to challenge their physical abilities and learn to trust in themselves by rising to new challenges.  
Mutual Respect and Tolerance: Treat Others as You Want to be Treated
We encourage children to acquire a tolerance, appreciation and respect for their own and other cultures, by discussing with children the similarities and differences between themselves and others. Topics of ‘all about me’ and asking children to bring in photographs from home of their family, help us all to appreciate our multicultural society.