At St. Andrew’s C E Primary School, our children in Nursery and Reception are taught with reference to the government guidance document ‘Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage.’ The EYFS curriculum covers the age of children from birth to five years old. This non-statutory guidance is set up in chronological age bands and the children are assessed in their relevant age band. For example, as Nursery children begin school in the academic year in which they will turn four years old, their age band is 30-50 months and for Reception this is the year in which they turn five so their band is 40-60 months.
These two years culminate in the summative assessment of the children against the seventeen Early Learning Goals, which are derived from the seven areas of learning as detailed below.
As stated in the Development Matters guidance:
‘Children develop quickly in the early years, and early years practitioners aim to do all they can to help children have the best possible start in life. Children have a right, spelled out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to provision which enables them to develop their personalities, talents and abilities irrespective of ethnicity, culture or religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities or gender.’
This is our educational philosophy in the Early Years phase of St Andrew’s. Four themes underpin the learning in this age group. They are:
- A Unique Child
- Positive Relationships
- Enabling Environments
- Learning and Development
Our approach is one of holistic development. By this we mean we look at the child as a whole, not just in their capacity to learn but also in their overall development. This approach ties in with the seven areas of learning that are also detailed in Development Matters.
The areas are split into two categories: Prime and Specific.
The prime areas are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development.
The specific areas are:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design.
Alongside these are the three Characteristics of Effective Learning, which are:
- • Playing and exploring
- • Active learning
- • Creating and thinking critically
The Characteristics of Effective Learning and the Prime and Specific Areas of Learning and Development are all interconnected.
The Nursery and Reception learning environment is carefully set up to ensure that children can independently access materials, equipment and information that enable them to make excellent progress both inside and outside. We create opportunities for our children to be challenged in all seven areas of learning, through this stimulating and carefully planned curriculum.
We recognise the importance of parents/carers as the children’s first educators and we work closely in conjunction with them, to enhance the learning opportunities we offer. Parents are invited to help in the classrooms and share any skills they possess with the children or to come in and read to the children, sometimes in their home language.
Through careful observation and assessment of the children, we cater for their interests through the activities we offer. We aim to provide a varied and stimulating learning environment where every child is actively learning and engaged.