At Mereside Farm we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which sets the standards that all early years’ providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.
Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
We strongly believe in the four guiding principles that shape practice in early year’s settings. These are:
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/or carers; and
Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
There are seven areas of learning and development in the EYFS that we use to shape educational programmes at Mereside Farm and this is done through a wide range of play opportunities with a balance between child and adult led activities being crucial. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected, however the three prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. These are especially important with children under the age of 3 but form a strong basis for future learning for all children. This is because happy, secure children who are able to socialise and communicate with peers will find other learning much easier moving to school. These Prime areas are:
• Communication and language
Involves children being provided with the opportunity to experience a language rich environment; develop confidence in expressing their wants, needs and feelings and being able to speak and listen in a variety of contexts.
• Physical development
Involves children being encouraged to be interactive and active in their learning and develop control, coordination and movement. They are supported in understanding the importance of physical activity and how to make informed healthy choices at meal times.
• Personal, social and emotional development.
Involves supporting children in developing a strong, positive sense of themselves, and of others; form strong attachments and relationships and develop respect for others to develop their social skills and learn how to effectively manage their feelings. This area also supports the children in understanding appropriate behaviour and develops confidence in their own abilities.
As children grow, the progress in the prime areas will then help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:
- Understanding the world; and
- Expressive arts and design.
These 7 areas are used alongside your own child’s needs and interests to plan the experiences and activities we offer on a day to basis. Working in this way ensures that we help children to develop and progress at the rates that are right for them as an individual whilst also providing challenge to help them to reach their full potential.
The EYFS continues to the end of the reception year at school so our role is to support the transition from nursery to school when children reach that milestone in their lives, enabling us to help them to prepare for this exciting new adventure and the change to a more formalised way of teaching and learning.
In planning and guiding children’s activities, we reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice. These characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
- Playing and Exploring
Supports children's investigating, exploring and experiencing things through being willing to 'have a go'
- Active Learning
Aids the children’s motivation to learn by helping develop their concentration, and their ability to persevere when they encounter difficult situations / challenges, and to enjoy achievements celebrating the completion of tasks.
- Creating and Thinking Critically
Supports independent thinking and creation of their own idea’s, making links between differing ideas and developing strategies for completing tasks.
Records of children progress are kept and shared with parents regularly and our parent portal is used to share observations of children as they play and learn at nursery. There is also the facility for parents to send photographs and exciting moments in children’s life to us, keeping the two way communication strong.