Welcome to the Early Years Curriculum:
Be the Best You Can Be
Thank you for choosing Thundersley Primary School for your child. It gives us great pleasure to welcome you and your family to our school community. Children learning in Reception classes are known as the Early Years Foundation Stage or EYFS for short. This stage is very important in a child’s life as it gives children opportunities to develop their language and communication skills; gives them opportunities to play and explore; create and think critically and be active and engaged in their learning. Our rich curriculum ensures that children learn self-regulation and executive function – how to focus, to think flexibly, to inhibit their impulses and to hold information in mind. It also helps prepare for school ‘readiness’ as well as preparing them for their future learning and life beyond school.
“When we give every child the best start in their early years, we give them what they need today. We also set them up with every chance of success tomorrow” DfE, Development Matters 2021.
We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework.
The EYFS framework explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development. It makes provision for the children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
We also use the 'Development Matters' guidance to support us with the new EYFS framework.
We have used these documents to create our own curriculum. See ‘The roadmap of our curriculum’
Areas of Learning
Children learn skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development, these are split into Prime and Specific areas.
Children start developing in the 3 Prime areas first. These are:
- Communication and Language (Listening, attention and understanding; and Speaking)
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development (Self-regulation, Managing Self and Building Relationships)
- Physical Development (gross motor skills and fine motor skills)
These Prime areas are those most essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning, these weave through our Early Years Curriculum.
As children grow, the Prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 Specific areas. These are:
- Literacy (Comprehension, Word Reading and Writing)
- Maths (Number and Numerical patterns)
- Understanding of the World (Past and present; People, Culture and communities; and The natural world)
- Expressive Arts and Design (creating with materials and being imaginative and expressive)
All 7 areas of learning are used to plan children’s learning and activities. We make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like the curriculum in the rest of the school but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child's unique needs and interests, while also teaching them the most important skills and knowledge to prepare them for future learning.
Learning at Thundersley
The Early Years is all about your child learning through play. Your child will spend most of their day in school accessing the continuous provision and following their own interests both indoors and outdoors. The areas within the classroom are set up to reflect the current topic, take into account the needs and interests of the children and provide a challenge. The children will access these areas with support and guidance from teaching staff.
EYFS Overarching Themes and Values:
A Unique Child - We recognise that all children are different. We identify and celebrate their strengths and support their areas for development.
Positive Relationships - Our pupils interact well with each other and with the adults in the school. We encourage parents to be involved with their child’s education.
Enabling Environments - Our indoor and outdoor areas encourage exploration, investigation, and independent learning. Our displays and resources are well maintained and reflect current learning.
Learning and Development - Pupils achieve well and make good progress from their starting points. Learning is playful, practical, and purposeful and builds upon prior attainment. Our children enjoy coming to school.
Areas within the Foundation classrooms:
- A writing area containing mark making equipment and a variety of papers as well as envelopes and examples of good writing. This gives the children a chance to practise and apply what they have been learning during their phonic sessions.
- A book corner containing a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and class-made books.
- A Maths resource area which allows children to select appropriate items to help them solve practical problems and talk about their mathematical thinking. Children can practise and develop the skills they have learnt during their Number Fun sessions.
- A creative area containing resources for a range of art and craft materials
- A construction area containing resources for developing motor skills, social interaction and problem solving.
- A small world area which allows children to develop their play skills, refine fine motor skills, engage in imaginative play and develop language.
- An area for sand, malleable materials (e.g. play dough) and water play, where children can engage in practical investigations.
- A role play area which can be developed along themed line to cover several aspects of learning in “real life” scenarios, and which develops play, language, and story telling. It gives the children the opportunity to practise their reading, writing and number learning in a meaningful context.
Outside learning environment
The outside area is seen as a reflection of the classroom. The children have opportunities to learn and play in all areas of the curriculum in the outside learning environment.
The staff are constantly assessing the children in their everyday activities, play and through more focussed adult-led interactions and sessions. We use observations of the children, photos and the work that they do. Children will undertake a simple, fun baseline assessment with their teacher when they first start. Children’s phonic knowledge and mathematical understanding will also be regularly assessed at key points throughout the year. Typically a termly record illustrating progress will be sent home.