THE EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE
Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years (nursery and reception) follow a curriculum designed especially to meet the needs of very young children, known as the Early Years Foundation Stage.
The curriculum covers 7 areas of learning and development:
All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. 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, the prime areas are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development.
Kells Infant School will also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
The specific areas are:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive arts and design
Kells Infant School has planned play based educational programmes which include the activities and experiences described below under the following areas of learning and development:
- Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
- Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
- Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
- Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Handwriting If your child is learning to write his/her name please ask your child's teacher for a guidance sheet to help with the teaching of correct letter formation. Help us to encourage good handwriting and good letter formation by observing your child as they form each individual letter and discourage the use of capital letters in middle of words. Bad habits are hard to break!
- Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
- Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
- Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Play is essential to your child's development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems and relate to others. Children learn by leading their own play, and taking part in play which is guided by adults. As the children grow older and as their development allows, the balance will gradually shift towards more activities led by adults, to help children prepare for more formal learning, in readiness for year 1.