Our Vision for Early Years at Montrose School
Children begin their Early Years Foundation Stage journey at Montrose School in the Nursery or the Reception class. If they attend the Nursery they start at age 3, then complete their final year of the Foundation Stage in Reception. Some children just attend the Reception year.
The Nursery has one class of 34 places (either attending for 15 and 30 hours) and the two Reception classes have 30 children in each in a base of 60 children.
All children have an allocated Key Person and enjoy a combination of playing and learning both indoors and outside. In the Foundation Stage the children learn through play and there is a balance between the adult-led and the child-initiated learning.
In Reception they also take part in our ‘forest school’ activities within our lovely grounds.
The children start school each September and we gradually prepare them for learning in their future school career. Our expectation is that your child's records will be passed on from Nursery and/or Pre-school groups, enabling us to ensure continuity throughout the Early Years Foundation stage.
The Prime areas of learning ensure that the children are happy, settled and confident with their friends, adults and our school environment. From this foundation their ability to become more independent, together with being inquisitive learners and good communicators develops, along with learning across the specific areas of learning. These 7 areas of learning are closely linked and help to develop ‘characteristics of effective learning’ within the children – playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically. This does not mean that all your child's learning is divided up into specific areas. One experience may provide a child with opportunities to develop a number of skills and concepts across several areas of learning.
We follow the national Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. The EYFS is a very important stage in a child’s life as it helps prepare for school ‘readiness’ as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes.
Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences before the age of five will have a major impact on their future life chances.
The EYFS framework explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development and provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare.
The 7 areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first.
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
The prime areas are those most essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning. The prime areas will help to develop skills in 4 specific areas.
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
All 7 areas of learning are used to plan children’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting the children will make sure that the activities are suited to their unique needs and are flexible so that staff can follow children's needs and interests. In the Early Years at Montrose School our children are happy and motivated to learn through rich and challenging learning experiences. We ensure there are opportunities to explore and take risks, and have meaningful first-hand experiences in an exciting environment. We have high expectations for all our children and recognise that children have different starting points to their learning. We plan according to children’s stage of development so all can thrive and develop. We aim for children to be well-rounded individuals who are independent, resilient, and confident in themselves and with others. Partnership with Parents/Carers Our parents are welcome to be actively involved in their children’s learning in school and are invited to share in a number of learning experiences throughout the year. We recognise that parents are each child’s first educators and value their contributions to judgements about their child’s development. We use this information to support our assessments and share information about what children need to do next to develop and thrive.
During the year parents/carers will be invited to attend progress meetings and at the end of each year they will receive a school report about their child’s achievements.
Our partnership with parents ensures that parents have the opportunity to work closely with our Early Years practitioners to support children’s transition into the setting. We would like parents to feel secure in the knowledge that their child is well cared for and happy at school.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning
- Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’
- Being active – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties
- Creative and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas
Children work and play independently, with a strong emphasis on choice and being able to sustain concentration on their work/play, as well as taking part in a variety of adult-led activities.
The focus on the Characteristics of Effective Learning is on how children learn rather than on what they learn i.e. process over outcome. Underpinning the Characteristics of Effective Learning is the understanding that during their earliest years, children form attitudes about learning that will last a lifetime.
Children who receive the right sort of support and encouragement during these years will be creative and adventurous learners throughout their lives.
Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception
Throughout the Foundation Stage the children will have learnt across all areas of learning, towards achieving the Early Learning Goals. All children are assessed against these goals at the end of the Reception year.
Each child’s level of development is assessed against the early learning goals (above). Practitioners will indicate whether children are meeting expected levels of development:
- Emerging, not yet reaching expected levels of development for age
- Exceeding, , beyond expected levels of development for age
There are a total of 17 Early Learning Goals in EYFS
The 3 prime areas:
Communication and language
- Listening and attention: children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.
- Understanding: children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.
- Speaking: children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.
- Moving and handling: children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
- Health and self-care: children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.
Personal, social and emotional development
- Self-confidence and self-awareness: children are confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.
- Managing feelings and behaviour: children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.
- Making relationships: children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.
The 4 specific areas:
- Reading: children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
- Writing: children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.
- Numbers: children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.
- Shape, space and measures: children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.
Understanding the world
- People and communities: children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.
- The world: children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
- Technology: children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.
Expressive arts and design
- Exploring and using media and materials: children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
- Being imaginative: children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.
If you have any queries or concerns about the Foundation Stage please do not hesitate to speak with your child’s teacher, who will be happy to help.
Wigston Lane, Leicester, Leicestershire