Early Years Curriculum

 

Early childhood is the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives.

At Country mice we greatly value the important role that the Early Years Foundation Stage, most commonly known as: The EYFS, plays in laying secure foundations for future learning and development of each individual child. The EYFS is for children from birth to five years of age and is a curriculum which gives guidelines to all nurseries.

It is every child’s right to grow up safe, healthy, enjoying and achieving,making a positive contribution and economic well-being. The overarching aim of the EYFS is to help young children achieve the five “Every Child Matters” outcomes.

At Country mice we aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which will enable each child to develop personally, socially, emotionally, physically, creatively and intellectually to his/her full potential. Each child is valued as an individual and teaching and learning is based on the understanding that children develop at different rates and have different characteristics of learning.

The EYFS seeks to provide quality and consistency so that all children make good progress at their own rate, giving every child the best possible start in education. We aim to provide a secure foundation through all learning and developmental opportunities, which takes this into account. Planned activities are done so around children’s individual interests and are assessed and reviewed regularly. Continually embedded throughout the EYFS is equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is supported as an individual which we believe is essential in ensuring that our setting is inclusive of every unique child. We also believe that positive partnership working with our parents/carers is fundamental in achieving a positive place for a child to explore, develop and grow as an individual.

Learning and Development:

Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all 7 areas of Learning and Development are equally important and inter-connected.

The 3 Prime Areas (these are the main areas of development from birth to two years)

1.    Personal, Social and Emotional Development

        • Making relationships
        • Self confidence and self-awareness
        • Managing feelings and behaviour

2.    Physical Development

        • Moving and handling
        • Health and self-care

3.    Communication and Language

        • Listening and attention
        • Understanding
        • Speaking

Specific Areas (these are the main areas of development to compliment and support the Prime Areas from 2 – 5 years)

4.    Literacy

        • Reading
        • Writing

5.    Mathematics

        • Numbers
        • Shape, space and measure

6.    Understanding the World

        • People and communities
        • The World

7.    Expressive Arts and Design

        • Exploring and using media and materials
        • Being imaginative

To enable a child to become an effective learning the Early Years Foundation Stage identifies three inter-changeable characteristics which help children to learn. Being aware of these characteristics enables the adult to support and extend a child’s learning whilst the child is involved in an activity or at play in the Nursery. The three characteristics are as follows:

  • 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      

Having their own ideas

Making links

Choosing ways to do things

How we embed the EYFS throughout our practice:

 Workshop planning: Throughout each area of the nursery we have workshop areas, construction, role play, and science and investigation are just some examples. These are carefully planned out areas to ensure the children are provided with the best experiences and opportunities. Each area is closely linked with the EYFS to ensure that practitioners are aware of the learning outcomes available for the children in the areas. Workshop planning is reviewed once a term so new lines of interests can be followed and additional resources can be added.

Key Persons system: We operate a key person system at Country mice. This person forms an initial bond with your child and helps you as well as your child to feel safe and secure in your new surroundings. Initially you and your child will begin with us through pre-start sessions; these are extremely flexible and individual to each child and their family. On these pre-starts you will stay and play with your child and the key person will complete all about me sheets, and an initial intake through discussions with you about your child’s stage of development. Your child’s key person is written next to their name on the register.

Learning Journal: A Learning journal is a booklet of information about your child. We encourage you to fill in ‘all about me’ sheets during the prestart sessions as we believe that parents/ carers are a child’s first and most endearing educators and therefore working alongside you and gaining relevant information is so important. We use this journal to record any observations that have been noted about your child’s development. Observations are quick notes of significant moments we may notice in your childs learning. We include pictures, written observations, your child’s creations they have made whilst at nursery as well as formulate a ‘next steps’ for your child, this helps us to focus on your child’s individual needs and challenge them to progress though all areas of their development.

Next Steps: Your child’s next steps will stem from the information we have within your child’s learning journal. The next steps will be split into the 7 areas of learning and development helping us to focus on your child’s individual needs and challenge them. Your child’s next steps will be shared with you every term, we really encourage you to add your comments and add your child’s interests that you have noticed within the home environment. We also really enjoy working with you, so bring in photos, write down anything you see your child do at home or any achievements and pass these on to your child’s key person!

2 yr Assessment: Under the EYFS framework we undertake a 2yr old assessment, this Will be carried out before your child turns 3 providing we have known the child for a least half a  term, but more importantly feeling that we know them as an individual. This will always be discussed with individual parents/ carers.

Within this check your key person will summaries your child’s development across the three prime area of learning and development, this information will be discussed with you and we will also want your input, talking about how you think your child is developing, his/her interests and also what your child enjoys. You will have a formal meeting with your child’s key person to discuss this and formulate the re -post together, the settings manager will support each key person and will oversee the report. You will be given a copy, and a second copy to share with your health visitor.

 Parents as Partners: At County mice we feel that working in partnership with our parents/ carers is part of the seamless continuity which enables us to provide, a stimulating, fun and exciting learning environment. Having you work alongside us promotes positive relationship building between us, yourselves and your child/ children, and develops a professional relationship which enables trust and reliability: all of these in turn enable you to feel confident that your child is in the best possible environment where they feel safe, welcomed, have a sense of belonging and most of all have a fantastic array of activities and experiences on offer to excite those early curiosities.

As partners of Country mice we expect you to take an active part in your child’s learning experience with us, including, sharing information and achievements. This must include keeping us up to date of any contact details, or circumstances that may affect your child. Supporting us to better your child’s learning environment by sharing your suggestions and comments. We also ask that you endeavour to return any relevant paperwork which may be sent to you as quickly as possible.

Settling In Meetings: All parents after their child’s settling in period with us are invited to a meeting with their child’s key person. This is a great opportunity to share next steps and discuss how the child has settled and where we feel they are in their learning and development. We feel this sets the foundations for a great open working relationship with parents sharing information continuously.