Early Years Curriculum
We aim to provide an environment which is sensitive to the needs of each child through maintaining a safe, challenging, stimulating learning area. We actively promote caring, kindness and sharing.
It is recognised that the Early Years children are an important part of our school community and we provide a broad, balanced, relevant and creative curriculum that will set in place firm foundations for future learning and development into Year One and beyond.
We provide planned and purposeful activities that are differentiated. These give opportunities for teaching and learning in both the indoors and outdoors environment and we value what each child can do and assess their individual needs and help each child to progress. We enable choice and decision-making, and nurture self confidence with a view to fostering future independence.
The curriculum is divided into seven areas of learning :
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Understanding of the World
- Physical Development
- Expressive Arts and Design
The prime areas are :
Personal, social & emotional development
This involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others and how to form positive relationships. Children will learn to develop respect for others and how to manage their feelings. They will learn to understand appropriate behaviour in groups and have confidence in their own abilities.
Self-confidence and self-awareness – Children will learn to have the confidence to try new activities and discuss their preferences. They will become confident to speak in a familiar group, talking about their ideas and deciding the resources they need for their chosen activities. They will be able to say when they do or don’t need help.
Managing feelings and behaviour – Children will be encouraged to talk about how and why they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others behaviour and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They will be given opportunities to work as part of a group or class and will learn to understand and follow the rules. They will show the ability to adjust their behaviour to different situations and take changes of routine in their stride.
Making relationships – Children will be shown how to play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They will be shown how to take account of one another’s ideas and how to organise their activity. They will be expected to show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings and learn how to form positive relationships with adults and other children. This 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.
Children are also supported in four specific areas of learning, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
Communication & language
Development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment, to develop their confidenve and skillsin expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Listening and attention – Children will be given opportunities to listen attentively in a range of situations. They will share stories, accurately anticipating key events and learn to respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They will be encouraged to give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, whilst being engaged in another activity.
Understanding – Children will be taught to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They will become confident in answering ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions when asked about their experiences or talking about stories or events.
Speaking – Children will experience how to express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They will also be provided with the skills to develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.
This involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Children will be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and how to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Moving and handling – Children will practise how to show good control and co-ordination in large and small spaces and how to move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They will be given regular opportunities to handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
Health and self-care – Children will be taught the importance of good health, physical exercise and healthy diet. They will talk about ways to keep healthy and safe and also learn to manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.
This involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children will be given access to a range of reading materials – books, poems and other written materials, to ignite their interests.
Reading – Children will be taught to read and understand simple sentences. They will be encouraged to use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They will also read some common irregular words. They will be able to demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
Writing – Children will be taught to use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They will also be shown how to write some irregular common words. They will learn to write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others, with some words being spelt correctly whilst more complex words are phonetically plausible.
This involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and describing shapes, spaces and measures.
Numbers – Children will be taught how to count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, how to place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. They will use quantities and objects to add and subtract two single digit numbers and learn how to count on or back to find the answer. They will be shown how to solve problems including doubling, halving and sharing.
Shape, space and measures – Children will be taught everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money and they will learn how to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They will be taught how to recognise, create and describe patterns and will have opportunities to explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and be able to use mathematical language to describe them.
Understanding the world
This 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.
People and communities – Children will be encouraged to talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They will learn that other children don’t always enjoy the same things and understand the need to be sensitive to this. They will learn about similarities and differences between themselves and others and also among families, communities and traditions.
The world – They will explore similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They will be able to describe features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They will make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur and be able to talk about changes.
Technology – Children will learn to recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They will be given opportunities to select and use technology for particular purposes.
Expressive arts & design
This 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.
Exploring and using media and materials – Children will sing songs, make music and dance and experiment with ways of changing them. They will be shown how to safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques and encouraged to experiment with colour, design, texture, form and function.
Being imaginative – Children will be allowed to use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They will be encouraged to represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.
The Learning Environment – We aim to create an attractive, welcoming and stimulating learning environment which will encourage children to explore, investigate and learn through first hand experience. We also aim to make it a place where children feel secure and confident, and are challenged to develop their independence. Activities are planned for both the inside and outside. The learning environment is divided into a variety of different areas, including: Role play, book corner, writing table, maths challenge, topic display table, listening centre, computer, art and craft area, sand, water, outside, construction,small world and puzzles. These activities are carefully arranged to encourage quiet areas and more active areas within the learning environment.Children are guided to become independent learners and to take some responsibility for initiating their own lines of enquiry and investigation.
Long Term Planning
Kindergarten topics are planned for each of the six half-terms and the early learning goals and educational programmes are distributed over the half-terms, to determine broad and balanced coverage. Nursery topics are based on the children’s needs and interests and are planned for through continuous provision and more structured adult led activities.
Medium Term Planning
We address particular aspects of the curriculum in more detail for each term. We include links between areas of learning and development and opportunities for ICT. Learning objectives, assessment opportunities, and activities and experiences for each area of learning and development are identified.
Short Term Planning
We identify specific learning objectives, activities, differentiation, deployment of adults and resources, to meet the learning needs of the children on a weekly and day-to-day basis. It allows for flexibility in response to individual children’s needs and interests and for revision and modification, informed by on-going observational assessment. Our continuous provision and planning also supports our more structured activities.