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Starting school and the EYFS

Joe above, ready to rock the socks off school in September, yes even with his shoes on the wrong feet. I can’t believe how fast the years have gone, we opened 4 Cheeky Monkeys two weeks before he was born back in March 2014!!

In preparation for him starting school I signed up to a ‘Family Play and Learn Course’ the school have organised. I really enjoy this morning’s class, it was a brilliant refresher as I haven’t sat and studied the EYFS for quite a while (evident when I got the name of it wrong arghhhh).

This mornings course made me think, I quite often write that we work to Ofsted Standards (although we’re no longer registered with them) and in yesterdays blog I wrote about our setting having resources that cover the 7 areas of the EYFS, but how many of our parents/carers know what that means?

With this in mind I have explained the EYFS a little bit below:
EYFS is the abbreviation used for The Early Years Foundation Stage this is a framework that was published in 2012 by the Department for Education. The framework sets the standard for the development, learning and care of children from birth to five.

If you have a child that attends a nursery or pre-school you’ve probably heard their teacher/key worker refer to the EYFS at progress meetings you’ve attended.

The framework means all early years professionals (adults that work with children under 5) are working to the same set of guidance. This document means if a child were to move location from North England to South England the two childcare settings would be able to liaise easily regarding the child’s learning/development.

This statement is taken from the EYFS:
‘Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments.’

The four themes of the EYFS that underpin all the guidance are in bold below
• Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
• Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
• Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
• Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The EYFS sets out 7 areas of learning and development

Children should develop the 3 Prime Areas of Learning first:

Communication and language.
Physical development.
Personal, social and emotional development.

The prime areas help children develop skills in the 4 Specific Areas of Learning:

Literacy
Mathematics
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design

The EYFS also looks at how a child learns and develops new skills these are called Characteristics of Effective Learning:

Playing and exploring – engagement
Finding out and exploring. Playing with what they know. Being willing to ‘have a go’.

Active learning – motivation
Being involved and concentrating. Keeping trying. Enjoying achieving what they set out to do.

Creating and thinking critically – thinking
Having their own ideas. Making links. Choosing ways to do things.

I hope I’ve not confused anyone as I know it’s a lot to take in, basically if you plan to cover a prime area you often cover a specific area too, for example:

Singing nursery songs will improve communication and language (prime area) but might also have numbers in the song (mathematics specific area).

Where the Characteristics of effective learning come in here are how the child chooses to learn the song, do they thrive when being active and involved in the singing? Does it have dance moves? That would fall under Playing and exploring characteristic however another child might prefer the same song being sang while looking at the pictures in a book, possibly active learning.

Before I go as I know this is a long blog, I just want to share the following with you:

I read some feedback a couple of days ago about a painting activity, the adult wrote that once the paint colours had been mixed up, the children lost interest and the resources weren’t effective. I was a little sad to read this as the learning potential here was massive:

  • Sensory (touching the paint how does it feel?),
  • the mixing of the paint and the colour change (huge language and communication opportunity),
  • Physical development using the resources correctly did you support the child? (hand eye coordination, problem solving and fine motor skills).

There’s so much your child will learn even in a 3 minute activity, look at play through your child’s eyes and let me know how much fun you both have.

My next blog will cover the 17 Early Learning Goals and your child’s EYFS profile.

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