Understanding The Early Years Foundation Stage For Parents
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas are labelled the prime areas (see table below). Prime areas begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas. Prime areas are fundamental, work together and move through to support development in all other areas.
The Nursery must also support children in four specific areas, (see table below), through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas and provide important contexts for learning. Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.
Areas of Learning and Development
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Making relationships
- Self-confidence and self-awareness
- Managing feelings and behaviour
- Moving and handling
- Health and self-care
Communcation and Language
- Listening and Attention
- Shape, space and measure
Understanding the World
- People and communities
- The world
Expressive Arts and Design
- Exploring and using media and materials
- Being imaginative
Each area progresses through age related stages or stepping-stones to the final ‘ Early Learning Goals’ at 40-60 months. It is appreciated that children do not all conform to these and may vary in the speed at which they achieve them. A final assessment of a child’s progress through the seven areas of Learning and Development towards the Early Learning Goals takes place in the academic year in which a child turns five (Reception).
It must be emphasised that all learning at St Matthews Nursery will be through fun, creative and stimulating activities. Our children will be given the freedom to select from a range of activities during a session, which we believe increases their desire to learn.
The Learning and Development areas are given a meaningful focus by employing the children’s own ideas and interests and allowing them to feel a valued part of the whole planning and learning process.
Comprehensive record keeping will allow us to check that each child is getting what s/he needs to ensure a supportive and stimulating nursery experience. Every child will have a “learning journal” to put pictures in and examples of their learning so parents have a record of their time with us.
Where assessment highlights potential needs, the Special Educational Needs Co-coordinator (SENCo) will spend extended periods of time observing a child in order to gain a detailed overview of the situation. This information is shared and discussed with parents/carers.
Parents/carers will always be welcome to look at their child’s records and should feel confident to meet with their child’s play partner or the Nursery leader at any time to discuss any matter.