Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Structure of the EYFS
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of their reception year. Martin Frobisher Infant School’s Early Years Foundation Stage accommodates children from the age of 3 to 5. We have a 39 place Nursery which children can attend from the term after their 3rd birthday. The nursery offers morning sessions 8.30am-11.30am or afternoon sessions 12.30pm – 3.30pm. We also offer provision for eligible children to attend for up to 30 hours. In addition to the 30 hours offer we have arrangements in place to provide care for the children to stay until 3.30pm for which a fee for the extra 1 hour is payable to the school. The nursery is staffed with a ratio of 1 member of staff to every 13 children. This includes 1 teacher, 1 Nursery Nurse and other appropriately trained teaching assistants dependent on numbers throughout the year.
We have a reception unit with places for up to 45 children. To ensure best practice we have two teachers and 2 teaching assistants when the unit is full. The number of teaching assistants may be reduced if numbers of children are lower. In addition to this we have specialised teaching assistants who also work within the classes and provide extra support and intervention where needed.
Our early years setting follows the curriculum as outlined in the latest version of the EYFS statutory framework that applies from September 2021.
The EYFS framework includes 7 areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected. However, 3 areas known as the prime areas are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
The prime areas are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
The prime areas are strengthened and applied through 4 specific areas:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
- Our curriculum is underpinned by strong teaching in the prime areas so that children have a solid basis for all future learning. The curriculum promotes a love of early reading and many themes are linked to key texts, both fiction and non-fiction.
Our curriculum is underpinned by strong teaching in the Prime Areas so that children have a solid basis for all future learning. We aim for children to be happy, confident and independent in their learning. Our focus on communication and language leads to children having a love of reading. High quality books, songs and rhymes all contribute to the progress children make in this area. Children’s well-being has high priority and we aim for all children to have a connection with nature, sparking enthusiasm, wonder and joy. Children’s interests are closely monitored and we encourage children to lead their own learning and share this with their peers. Our philosophy of 'Seek and Explore' is firmly embedded in our EYFS curriculum!
At Martin Frobisher Infant School we place the individual child at the centre of our planning. This is achieved through detailed observation and knowledge of child development. This observation and on-going formative assessment is at the heart of our highly effective early years practice.
We achieve this through:
- observing children as they act and interact in their play, everyday activities, child initiated activities and planned activities, and learning about what the child does at home;
- observing what children can do, and identifying their stage on their developmental pathway;
- considering ways to support the child to strengthen and deepen their current learning and development;
- considering the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in our care. This information is then effectively used to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all of the areas of learning and development.
Teachers plan activities and experiences for children that enable children to develop and learn effectively. In order to do this, staff working with the youngest children focus strongly on the 3 prime areas.
Teachers also take into account the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience. Where a child may have a special educational need or disability, staff consider whether specialist support is required, linking with relevant services from other agencies, where appropriate.
In planning and guiding children’s activities, staff reflect on the different ways that children learn and include these in their practice. Planning is objective led which allows staff to adapt activities to children’s individual interests and to use different areas of provision.
Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play, and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Staff respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction.
As children grow older, and as their development allows, the balance gradually shifts towards more adult-led activities to help children prepare for and be ready to access the year 1 curriculum.
The Learning Environment
Both the Nursery and Reception settings are organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are areas where the children can be active, be inquisitive, ask questions, be quiet and reflect. The provision is set up to help the children find and locate equipment and resources independently. Being outdoors offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and on different scales than when indoors. It presents the children with opportunities to explore, use their senses and be physically active and exuberant. We plan activities and resources for the children to access outdoors that help the children to develop in all seven areas of learning.
“Children’s play reflects their wide ranging and varied interests and preoccupations. In their play children learn at their highest level. Play with peers is important for children’s development.”
Through play children at Martin Frobisher Infants develop and explore learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. The adults model play and play sensitively with the children fitting in with their plans and ideas. The children are encouraged to try new activities and judge risks for themselves. We talk to them about how we get better at things through effort and practice and that we can all learn when things go wrong. They practice and build up ideas learning how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own.
“Children learn best through physical and mental challenges. Active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve children for sustained periods.”
Active learning occurs when children at Martin Frobisher Infants are motivated and interested. Children need to have some independence and control over their learning. As children develop their confidence they learn to make decisions. It provides children with a sense of satisfaction as they take ownership of their learning.
Creativity and Critical Thinking
“When children have opportunities to play with ideas in different situations and with a variety of resources, the discover connections and come to new and better understandings and ways of doing things. Adult support in this process enhances their ability to think critically and ask questions.”
Children at Martin Frobisher Infants are given opportunity to be creative through all areas of learning, not just through the arts. Adults support children’s thinking and help them to make connections by showing genuine interest, offering encouragement, clarifying ideas and asking open questions. Children can access resources freely and are allowed to move them around the setting, both indoors and outdoors, to extend their learning.
At Martin Frobisher Infant School, ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development processes. Staff observe pupils to identify their level of achievement, interests and learning styles. These observations are used to shape future planning. Staff also take into account observations shared by parents and/or carers.
Throughout nursery and reception all staff observe children’s learning and assess against the school’s overview of what is typical for children at different stages in the school year. This has been developed using the non-statutory guidance, Development Matters and the statutory programmes within the EYFS framework.
Alongside this within the first 6 weeks that a child starts reception, teaching staff will administer the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA).
At the end of the EYFS, staff complete the EYFS profile for each child. Pupils are assessed against the 17 early learning goals, indicating whether they are:
- Meeting expected levels of development
- Not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’)
The profile reflects ongoing observations, and discussions with parents and/or carers. The results of the profile are shared with parents and/or carers for their child.
The profile is moderated internally (referring to the Development Matters guidance) and in partnership with other schools within the Wakefield Schools Trust, to ensure consistent assessment judgements. EYFS profile data is submitted to the local authority.
Working with parents
We recognise that children learn and develop well when there is a strong partnership between staff and parents and/or carers.
Parents and/or carers are kept up to date with their child’s progress and development through regular updates sent home using Evidence Me, termly parental consultations and termly reports. The EYFS profile helps to provide parents and/or carers with a well-rounded picture of their child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities at the end of the EYFS.
Each child is assigned a key person who helps to ensure that their learning and care is tailored to meet their needs. The key person supports parents and/or carers in guiding their child’s development at home. The key person, alongside the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, also helps families to engage with more specialist support, if appropriate.
Safeguarding and welfare procedures
We promote good oral health, as well as good health in general, in the early years by talking to children and planning activities about:
- The effects of eating too many sweet things
- The importance of brushing your teeth
The rest of our safeguarding and welfare procedures are outlined in our safeguarding policy.
Parents can find out more about what to expect as your child moves through the EYFS in this guide.