In Reception, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
The Statutory EYFS framework document can be found at Early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). We also follow the document Development Matters, which can be found at Development Matters - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The EYFS is aimed at supporting the learning and development of children from birth to five years of age. Play and more importantly, learning through play, is an essential part of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
The EYFS is divided up into Seven Areas of Learning and Development, which are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
- Communication and Language (C+L)
- Physical Development (PD)
- Literacy (L)
- Mathematics (M)
- Understanding the World (UTW)
- Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)
Each of these areas is divided up into more distinct areas, making 17 in total. These initially consist of the prime areas of learning. Within these initial areas, children can develop a secure foundation. The skills included in the Prime Areas are Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development. By focussing on these first, children can secure the skills needed to progress within their development.
Children will then move on to more refined topics in the Specific Areas of Learning. These include Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Each of the EYFS Seven Areas of Learning and Development, and the areas within each one are:
1) Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) focusses on children's mental and physical wellbeing. Children work on long-term skills and awarenesses to build a healthy foundation they can take forward. It's divided into these topics:
- Managing Self
- Building Relationships
Personal, social and emotional development (PSED) provides children with lots of social opportunities. Children can learn to form healthy bonds and make stable, lasting friendships. For example, they’ll learn what the right and wrong things to do are, alongside respect, compassion, morals, and lots more socio-emotional skills.
The subject also opens children up to discuss their thoughts and feelings. This can help them to form a level of ownership, independence, and self-esteem.
2) Communication and Language (C+L) encourages conversations and spoken language skills. Underpinning all skills, it's foundational for children to be able to interact with their peers and their learning environment. It's split into the following distinct areas:
- Listening, Attention and Understanding
There’s a lot more to language development and communication than simply ‘talking’. It refers to the variety of ways that children take in information, and communicate information - only a part of this is used with spoken words.
Words and image association is one of the best forms of initiating language and communication development. This is why reading books to young children is a great way of bringing this out, since they’ll be able to make a connection with the pictures in the book, and the text you’re reading out.
3) Physical Development (PD) is vital for healthy lives, as well as affecting other areas of learning. Both gross and fine motor skills are developed over Early Years in activities like writing and cutting. Practitioners plan by looking at these specific areas:
- Gross Motor Skills
- Fine Motor Skills
As children move around, they’re exploring the world around them through handling objects.
If children are exposed to healthy eating and leading an active lifestyle, they’re likely to continue those positive habits as time goes on.
By children having regular physical activity in their lives, it’ll promote healthy development, growth, composition, and cardiovascular fitness. Physical development activities help children to control and manage their body movements and control. It also improves brain development, too, such as critical thinking skills and concentration, since physical fitness ensures heightened brain function.
4) Literacy (L) skills will form a strong foundation for children's school careers, and are split simply into:
- Word Reading
With literacy, as a part of the EYFS seven areas of learning, children begin to build connections between spoken sounds and the letters in writing.
In order to achieve this, they’ll need to start forming levels of experience with letters and words, pictures and objects, and sounds.
Communicating through written language is an essential part for many areas of daily living.
5) Mathematics (M) area of learning focusses on simple concepts that are foundational to higher maths topics in KS1 and up. In EYFS children focus on the maths areas of:
- Numerical Patterns
Learning maths can help with life skills such as spatial awareness, shapes and measurement, and problem-solving.
Maths also serves for other uses like handling and managing money, telling the time, so they’re not late for any commitments they have in place, or working out distance and time together, so that they can travel.
6) Understanding the World (UTW) supports children's learning about the surrounding environment. In this area of learning, children can explore new cultures and better understand basics that we often take for granted.
- Past and Present
- People, Culture, and Communities
- The Natural World
Children will discover similarities and differences, what world and what doesn’t, what they can and cannot change, and why certain things happen within the world around them. There are lots of opportunities to experiment and investigate through continuous provision. From this subject out of the EYFS seven areas of learning, children can make observations and form their own opinions and theories.
As well as learning about societies and communities, cultures, people, and places, there are elements of science within this type of learning, too. For example, children will learn about the environment, such as weather conditions, plants, and wildlife.
7) Expressive Arts and Design (EAD) supports children's creative development and expression. It helps children create their own art works and encourages them to value their own thoughts, opinions and skills. The two areas in this area of learning are:
- Creating with Materials
- Being Imaginative and Expressive
Expressive arts is one of the EYFS seven areas of learning, which provides emotive sharing. They’ll be using a range of materials and activities in order to express themselves through imaginative play. This is as well as to communicate, since verbal communication can be limited at such a young age. These activities include design and technology, dance, movement, music, art, and role-play.
At Denver we will plan activities to cover these seven Areas of Learning. Throughout the day or session, children will have the opportunity to complete activities that cover many, if not all, of EYFS Seven the Areas of Learning and Development.
Assessments take place on a daily basis in EYFS through the form of observations - rather than formal testing.
Children in early years will all have a learning journey. We use Tapestry for our learning journeys.
At the end of Reception, children are assessed against an Early Learning Goal in each area. They are considered ‘emerging’ or ‘expected’ within each area. If a child has reached the 'expected' level of development at the end of Reception, they have met a 'Good Level of Development' or GLD.