Early Years Curriculum Statement
As the first step into education for many children, an engaging, supportive EYFS is crucial. Our curriculum encourages children to follow their own interests, and utilises ‘in-the-moment’ planning to ensure high-quality learning. Working in a child-centred way means that differences and diversity are celebrated and explored as part of daily life.
We prioritise the development of the Prime Areas of the Curriculum: Personal, Social & Emotional Development, Communication & Language and Physical Development, and our timetable is specifically designed to include longer periods of free-flow playing and learning. Children learn to take managed risks and rise to challenges with resilience. They are encouraged to have a growth mind-set, and to question what they see, to develop enquiring minds and a thirst for learning. Our curriculum works on the understanding that communication, emotional understanding and social skills underpin the Specific learning areas of Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts & Design.
At East Stour, we utilise the statutory Characteristics of Effective Learning (DfE) to ensure that children are empowered and motivated by their own learning journeys, and that learning is meaningful, purposeful and useful. The curriculum celebrates that every child is unique and will benefit from different learning styles, and open-ended resources.
Our curriculum follows the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early years Foundation Stage, updated September 2020 for early adopters of the 2021 curriculum. This document specifies the requirements for learning and development in the EYFS and provides the prime and specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. Through our knowledge of each child and formative assessments the EYFS team plan exciting and engaging activities that will move the children’s learning forward. This may involve following a class theme where we take advantage of cross curricular links in order to combine transferable skills and develop a wide-ranging vocabulary which underpins the children’s learning. This may also include following individual children’s interests and making the most of those focused moments where the teaching and learning can be maximised in a one to one way with teacher and child. Each year creates its own unique blend of whole class, guided, adult directed play and child-initiated play activities dependant on the nature and needs of the class of individuals. We look forward at the start of a year to see where the class will lead us.
Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active and thinking critically and creatively and this takes place both in the indoors and outdoor area. Our outdoor area is open all year round and in all but the most challenging weather conditions. Children make their own decisions about where they learn best and teachers ensure that there are opportunities for all areas of learning both inside and outside.
We use the Early Excellence Assessment Tracker to record our children’s knowledge, skills and learning dispositions. It is a consistent and reliable way of demonstrating progress through the EYFS. The statements within EExAT consist of six monthly bands of development that reflect an ‘age related expectation’. EExAT recognises the importance of relating attainment to chronological age and also values the 'how' of learning and so the characteristics of effective learning are scored in the system and levels of well being and involvement are recorded too. The EYFS team collects evidence of children’s learning through observations, photos and videos which are shared with parents using the Early Excellence Assessment Tracker (EExat). This means that parents can engage with children regularly about their learning and can contribute to the knowledge we have of the child in school.
Children at the end of Foundation stage will have developed essential knowledge and skills required for everyday life and lifelong learning. Children at East Stour will be well rounded, happy, inquisitive and successful learners.