Early Years Foundation Stage

In the Early Years Foundation Stage there are seven areas of learning and development which are grouped into two categories – prime and specific areas.

Prime areas

Through developmentally appropriate play, including both adult and child initiated activities, we offer a curriculum that will enable children to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to progress towards their early learning goals and to be ready for the next stage of life and learning. 

From the seven areas, three areas are 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, they are:

Communication and Language (CL)

Development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

In both small and large groups, children are encouraged to extend their vocabulary and fluency by talking and listening and by hearing and responding to stories, songs and rhymes.

Physical Development (PD)

Involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement.  Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.  A range of equipment and opportunities both indoors and outdoors allows children to develop confidence and enjoyment in the use of their bodily skills.

A high level of adult support enables children to safely create and meet physical challenges, developing increasing skill and control in moving, climbing and balancing.

At the same time, children are supported in the development of fine motor skills required to use tools, including pens and pencils and to handle small objects with increasing control and precision.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)

Involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others, to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Within a nurturing environment, children are individually supported in developing confidence, autonomy and self-respect.  They are encouraged to work and concentrate independently and also take part in the life of the class, sharing and co-operating with other children and adults.

Specific areas

Children will be supported in four specific areas through which the three prime areas are strengthened.  The specific areas are:

Literacy (LD)

Development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Helping children to understand that written symbols carry meaning, to be aware of the purpose of writing and when they are ready, to use drawn and written symbols for themselves.

Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials to ignite their interest.  A well-stocked book corner gives every child the opportunity and encouragement to become familiar with books. They learn how to handle them carefully and be aware of their uses, both for reference and as a source of stories and pictures.

Mathematics (MD)

Involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.  By means of adult-supported, practical and child initiated activities, children become familiar with sorting, matching, ordering, sequencing and counting activities which form the basis for early mathematics.

Understanding the World (UW)

Involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.  A safe and stimulating environment allows children to explore and experiment with a range of natural and manufactured materials.

They learn to observe the features of objects and substances, recognising differences, patterns and similarities, and to share and record their findings.

Children are supported to explore and understand their environment within the class and within the wider community.  A range of safe and well-maintained equipment enables children to extend their technological understanding.

Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)

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 in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Art equipment, including paint, glue, crayons and pencils as well as natural and reclaimed materials provides for open-ended exploration of colour, shape and texture and the development of skills in drawing and collage.

Children join in with and respond to music, movement and stories, and there are many opportunities for imaginative play.

First published on 31st May, 2017 and modified 6th November, 2023

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