Early Years Foundation Stage
Haversham Village School recognises the importance of this stage in a child’s development and is aware it is a time in a child’s life where they develop physically, intellectually and socially and build the foundations for future learning. Learning at this age is a rewarding and enjoyable experience, in which children explore, investigate, discover, create, practise, rehearse, repeat, revise and consolidate their developing knowledge, skills and understanding and therefore our policy has been developed in line with the latest Early Years Foundation Stage documentation to ensure such learning takes place.
The Early Years Foundation stage at Haversham Village School is formed by a class of up to 25 children who enter the setting in September aged 4 or 5. The environment consists of a large classroom with a carpeted area, a shared area used for a wide range of activities and an outdoor space which has access from both rooms.The Foundation Stage team is made up of teaching and non-teaching practitioners with training and experience in Early Years.
The key role within the setting is taken by the class teacher who is helped by teaching assistants. All team members take responsibility for the welfare of the children and continually evaluate practice and seek to improve the experiences and environment offered to the children. Haversham Village School strives to create a learning environment that provides a rich variety of experiences that are conducive to learning. We encourage the children to make choices and develop independence through easy accessibility of materials, clear labelling and defined ‘working’ areas including the outdoor space and we try to provide resources that inspire the children and encourage them to initiate their own learning. The activities and resources available to the children both inside and outside include story corners, writing tables, role play areas, sand and water trays, construction equipment, small world toys, creative materials and areas to work, ICT equipment such as a computer, cameras and bee-bots, cooking facilities and climbing equipment.
At our school we plan an exciting and challenging curriculum based on our observations of the children’s needs, interests, and stages of development across the seven areas of learning to enable the children to achieve and exceed the early learning goals. All seven areas of learning and development are 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 are the prime areas:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Children are also supported through the four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Children are provided with a range of rich, meaningful first-hand experiences in which children explore, think creatively and are active. Medium term plans are inspired by a story book every half term, each of which offers experiences in all seven areas. These plans then inform our short-term weekly planning, alongside our observations, which remains flexible for unplanned circumstances or children’s responses.
During the school day children have whole group and small group sessions which increase as they progress through the EYFS with times for a daily phonics session using ‘Letters and Sounds’ and 'Jolly Phonics' and for teaching aspects of Mathematics and Literacy. The curriculum is delivered using a play-based approach as outlined by the EYFS.
(‘Each area of learning and development must be implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities’).
We organise and plan to provide a balance between children having time and space to engage in their own child-initiated activities and those that are planned by the adults.
- Child initiated activities – children make choices from within the learning environment to meet his/her outcome for learning. If appropriate, early years practitioners might interact to stretch and challenge this further.
- Adult Initiated Activities – practitioners provide the resources to stimulate and consolidate learning.
- Adult Directed Activities – children engage in planned activities to meet specific learning outcomes.
We acknowledge the importance of play within the Foundation Stage and strive to create a stimulating environment where the children can explore and develop learning experiences both inside and outside, which help them make sense of the world. Through play they can practise and build up ideas, investigate and solve problems and have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own.