The Early Years Foundation Stage begins at birth and continues until the end of the Reception year. At Braithwaite School we welcome children to the school from the age of 3. The curriculum for the Foundation Stage underpins all future learning by supporting, fostering, promoting and developing children’s:
- Personal, social and emotional well-being
- Positive attitudes towards learning
- Social skills
- Attention skills and persistence
- Language and communication
- Reading and writing
- Mathematics and reasoning skills
- Knowledge and understanding of the world
- Physical development
- Creative development
Throughout the Foundation Stage, the children work towards a range of early learning goals in six areas:
- Personal, social and emotional development: emotional well being, knowing who you are and how you fit in and feeling good about yourself. It is also about developing respect for others, social competence and a positive disposition to learn.
- Communication, language and literacy: communication, speaking and listening in different situations and for different purposes, listening to a wide range of stories, reading simple texts and writing for a variety of purposes.
- Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy: counting, sorting, matching, seeking patterns, making connections, recognising relationships and working with numbers, shapes, space and measure.
- Knowledge and understanding of the world: developing crucial knowledge, skills and understanding in order to make sense of the world. This forms the foundation for later work in science, design and technology, history, geography and information technology (ICT).
- Physical development: improving skills of co-ordination, control manipulation and movement. Physical development helps children gain confidence in what they can do and enables them to feel the positive benefits of being healthy and active.
- Creative development: helps children to make connections between one area of learning and another and so extend their understanding. This area of learning includes a wide range of art, music, dance, role-play and imaginative play.
The Importance of Play
Young children are active learners and they learn through their play. Play is crucial to the young child as it provides many of the experiences necessary for the child’s healthy intellectual, physical, emotional and social development. It allows the child freedom to explore and make sense of his or her ever-changing world, to solve problems, to set new challenges and to follow their natural curiosity.
The curriculum in our Early Years Foundation Class is play based. Some activities are done independently and in others children work with an adult on a specific task. Each child has the opportunity to choose from a range of options and to work in small and large groups. We have carried out a mjor review and renewal programme for the resources for play (sometimes called 'Continuous Provision') in our Early Years classroom over the last year, supported by expertise from 'Early Excellence', a nationally recognised organisation to promote excellence in Early years. We are now turning a similarly rigorous focus on our provision for outdoor play.
In addition to play based activities our Reception pupils take part in a structured interactive phonics programme, Read Write Inc, to rapidly develop early literacy skills. As the year progresses, Reception children are involved in more structured activities as they start to work towards a Literacy and Numeracy lesson in preparation for Key Stage 1.
Our outdoor play area provides a safe environment for a range of learning opportunities. The outdoor curriculum is an extension of the indoor one and forms an integral part of the daily routine. We have a safe, enclosed play area for our Foundation Stage children which includes a zone for wheeled vehicles, a sand pit, play house, flower bed and a shed in which numerous resources are kept. Both Nursery and Reception children spend some time outside each day. We also explore and make use of the rest of the school grounds, including the play facilities on our field, as well as taking children out in to the local community to visit places such as the local library and fire station and to woods and fields.