At Earlham Primary School we strive to meet every child’s entitlement to develop a love of learning that will enable them to have the best possible future life chances.
We know that every parent and carer wants their choice of school to give their child the best possible beginning and value the importance of working in partnership with families to ensure that every child enjoys a special start to their school life.
Earlham is an inclusive and welcoming school and our dedicated team of staff are committed to ensuring that every child in our care will be supported to flourish as they take their first steps into their early learning journey.
Children learning in our Nursery and Reception classes are known as the Early Years Foundation Stage or EYFS for short. We follow the statutory EYFS framework for teaching and development. This stage is very important in a child’s life as it helps prepare for school ‘readiness’ as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes.
The EYFS Framework
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.
Children learn skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development, these are split into Prime and Specific areas.
Children start developing in the 3 prime areas first. These are:
- Communication and language;
- Physical development; and
- Personal, social and emotional development.
These prime areas are those most essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning, these weave through our Early Years Curriculum.
As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design.
All 7 areas of learning are used to plan children’s learning and activities. We make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs.
The Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage states four guiding principles which should shape practice in the early years. These are :
- every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self assured;
- children can 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;
- The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment underpin learning and development across all areas. Adults and the considered use of the environment support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
Integral to the EYFS Curriculum are the Characteristics of Effective Learning (COEL) which are involved in all aspects of a child’s learning. They highlight the importance of a child’s attitude to learning and their ability to play, explore and think critically about the world around them. They detail the ways children should learn from their environment, their experiences and their activities and are important life skills that impact on lifelong learning. These characteristics are:
- Playing and Exploring – how the child is engaging, finding out and exploring, using what they know in their play
- Active Learning – the motivation behind the child’s learning, being involved and concentrating, keeping on trying, enjoying achieving what they set out to do
- Creating and Thinking Critically - the thought processes behind the child’s learning and new achievements, having their own ideas, using what they already know to learn new things, choosing ways to do things and finding new ways
Our EYFS Curriculum
- is at the heart of our learning journey approach
- is distinctive, innovative and strategically planned
- is reviewed in the light of national developments, new thinking and research and development
- introduces challenging, engaging and real life problems
- strives to encourage and develop a love of learning
- lets learning happen within a child-centred approach
- ensures resources and apparatus are available to support learning at every stage of development
- ensures resources and apparatus are available to support learning in every area of the EYFS curriculum
- ensures all areas of learning are regarded with the same level of importance and are interlinked in learning
- includes fundamental British values to teach children a sense of self and belonging; enabling them to learn and stay true to the values that make people good human beings
- ensures that children learn to live together peacefully, with each of them playing a valuable role in the multi-cultural world in which they live
Sing Our Story
This year we have been thrilled to have worked with Groundswell Arts to offer the ‘Sing Our Story’ to our EYFS families. The Sing Our Story Project has been developed by Groundswell Arts over the past 8 years and is now running across 40 early years’ settings. It is a bespoke approach to music making that supports parnents/carers to write an original song about their child with a professional musician.
The ‘Sing our Story’ programme supports and celebrates the uniqueness of our Nursery and Reception pupils. The aim is to use song writing to support the early musical development of the youngest members of our school community.
Last term we were fortunate to have had the opportunity to partner with a specialist music teacher who worked with staff, children and parents/carers over several weeks. The children thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from the sessions and it was wonderful to see how pupils who were initially reluctant to sing, quickly gained the confidence to take part.
Each visit had a wonderful impact on the children and their families resulting in increased levels confidence, enthusiasm and emotional wellbeing through the opportunity to engage creatively and collaboratively. The sessions culminated in the composition of bespoke songs for each child, many of which were performed live at fantastic concert in school. This was an exciting and memorable occasion for the children. The ‘Sing our Story’ project created a feeling of group togetherness and strengthened our bond with our parents/carers and this made for an exciting and meaningful experience for all those involved
Working directly with our musicians, parents/carers had the opportunity to meet and share ideas, thoughts and feelings about their child’s life, play, and family which the musicians then used to write unique songs.
At the end of the programme, they received a Certificate, Mp3 download and lyrics, which will serve as a precious memory for each family for years to come.
This term our Reception pupils have enjoyed an introduction to 'Forest School Learning’. The aims of our Forest School are to introduce the Reception age children and in time, Nursery age children, to the outdoors in an alternative space, within the school.
Forest School is a way of developing awareness and hopefully a lifelong love of the outdoors and the natural world, unfolding a magical, myriad of possibilities.
Being outdoors has far reaching effects on the health of the body, the individual’s wellbeing as well as developing knowledge of their world. The children loved being outdoors and taking their learning into the nature.
We hope that the health and wellbeing benefits for the children and their families will be long lasting.