Early Years Foundation Stage
At Towers Schools we build our futures together- and what better place to start than at the very foundations?
The Foundation Stage, or ‘Early Years’ at Towers Infants consists of our wonderful Nursery and Reception classes.
We are committed to helping our children become happy, confident and independent learners by understanding and catering to their individual wants, needs and interests. We provide them with a safe and stimulating environment in which to learn and explore and we pride ourselves on developing a love of learning that can only come from access to an exciting and enriching curriculum.
All of our adults support children through the use of high quality interactions that challenge thinking and extend learning.
Children have a variety of opportunities to facilitate their own learning through carefully resourced provision which are designed to encompass all areas of our curriculum. All of our adults support children through the use of high quality interactions that challenge thinking and extend learning.
Through play-based learning and topics we endeavour to provide each child with a range of opportunities which stimulate their creativity and support their development based on their likes and interests.
We value the importance of the outdoor environment, ensuring that children can develop in all aspects when they are engaged in outside activities.
The Early Years curriculum is composed of seven key areas of learning which we consider carefully when planning activities and provision for our children. Wherever possible, we look for opportunities to bring different areas of learning together to provide a broad and balanced curriculum.
The seven areas of learning are as follows:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Communication and Language
Communication and Language is made up of the following aspects:
- Listening and attention
Through modelling by our adults and language rich opportunities within the environment such as signs, symbols, words and songs, this area of learning involves giving children opportunities to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves as well as being to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Communication and Language provides children with opportunities for speaking and listening and ignites children’s interest in reading and writing. Children are supported in communicating their ideas and thoughts with each other and with adults in a safe and encouraging environment.
Physical Development is made up of the following aspects:
- Moving and Handling
- Health and Self-Care
This area of provision focuses on providing opportunities for children to be active and interactive while developing their co-ordination, control, and movement skills. Children are also helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food and drink.
We support children in their understanding of the importance of being physically active and eating healthily. We are committed to demonstrating and discussing the importance of exercise, sleep and eating to promote health.
We provide opportunities both indoors and outdoors for children to develop physically, encouraging safe, energetic, physical play. Our snack times and topics throughout the year promote social skills and the importance of making healthy food choices.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Personal, Social and Emotional Development is made up of the following aspects:
- Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness
- Managing Feelings and Behaviour
- Making Relationships
This area of learning involves helping our children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others, enabling them to form positive relationships and develop respect for others. We provide children with a means to develop social skills and learn how to manage their own feelings, to understand appropriate behaviour in groups and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Our Core Values provide a strong basis for children to begin building their social skills, form positive relationships and to understand the importance of mutual respect. We look at each Core Value individually for children to fully understand and appreciate how they fit into our everyday lives and the choices that we make.
Literacy is made up of the following aspects:
This area of learning is where children begin to make links between the spoken sounds and how they are presented in written form. We work closely with children to provide opportunities for them to access different texts such as books, poems and other written materials to ignite their interest in words. Children have access to books in all areas of our provision, whether this be inside or outside. We also actively encourage children to write or give meaning to marks that they make in all areas as a means of communicating what they are thinking.
Children learn each individual sound through discreet teaching of Systematic, Synthetic Phonics. These lessons give children the opportunity to access different sounds, focusing on how they are blended together for the reading of words and segmented for spelling of words.
This area of learning consists of the following aspects:
- Shape, Space and Measures
Mathematics covers a broad range of skills from providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their understanding of counting, using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems to describe shapes, spaces and measures.
We ensure that we support children’s understanding in these areas by providing opportunities to explore, practise, learn and talk through different mathematical processes and skills. They practise skills and gain confidence and competence in all curriculum areas, both inside and out. Children are encouraged to use mathematical words and ideas in their play, enabled by our environment which has resources for counting, calculating and shape available indoors and outdoors.
Understanding the World
UW is made up of these aspects:
- People and Communities
- The World
This area of learning 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. Through careful planning in topics such as ‘Where in the World is..?’ children are able to explore some of these ideas in depth, asking and answering their own questions about the world around us.
We offer children opportunities to explore and observe the environment, living things and objects which are of interest and importance to them. We offer open-ended questions such “How can we..?” and “What would happen if…?” to develop encourage and develop children’s natural curiosities, allowing them to find the answers for themselves. We are committed to giving children first-hand experiences to observe, predict, make decisions and discuss.
Expressive Arts and Design
EAD is made up of these aspects:
- Exploring and Using Media and Materials
- Being Imaginitive
This area of learning 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.
We strive to support children’s curiosity and play and provide opportunities in each area for them to explore and share their thinking, ideas and feelings in music, in art, movement and dance, role play and technology.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
At Towers Infant School we recognise that children are different and learn in a variety of ways.
The Characteristics of Effectively Learning allow us to reflect on these different learning styles and inform the way that we plan.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning are as follows:
- playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
- active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; and
- creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
Assessment in the Foundation Stage
Assessment plays an important part in helping parents, carers and practitioners (teachers and teaching assistants) to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs, and to plan activities and support.
Assessment begins on entry into the Foundation Stage and involves practitioners observing children whilst they are working and playing. At the end of the Foundation Stage the Foundation Stage Profile is completed for each child and outcomes are reported to parents and carers. The profile provides a picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities and their progress against expected levels.
2Build a Profile
At Towers Infant School we assess the learning of all children in the Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception) on an app called 2Build a Profile.
This app provides a simple, effective and powerful way to log children’s achievements against the Early Years Profile and the areas of learning discussed above. It enables staff to capture planned and spontaneous moments, which are recorded and used to monitor each child’s progress against individual age-related targets.