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Early Years

The key formative years of childhood are short – therefore the quality of the learning and teaching experience is of major importance. The vital skills and concepts formed in the early years help children make sense of their knowledge and understanding. They are the foundations upon which the quality of later learning and development depends.

Aims for the Early Years Curriculum

At Hawkes Farm we aim to:

  • provide a positive start to educational life, enabling all children to enjoy learning
  • help children become confident, independent learners
  • help all children to reach their full potential in all areas of development
  • provide high quality provision and care for all children
  • provide a safe and stimulating environment where achievements are celebrated

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.

At Hawkes Farm we use the EYFS 2012 statutory guidance to inform and support our planning (long, medium and short term) and to enhance our assessment procedures. The guidance sets out the early learning goals which the children should achieve by the time they reach the end of the reception year. There are three prime areas and four specific areas covered by the early learning goals.

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSE)
  • Self-confidence and self-awareness
  • Manage feelings and behaviour
  • Making relationships

PSE is critical for very young children in all aspects of their lives and gives them the best opportunity for success in all areas of learning. Children will learn how to work, play, co-operate with others and function in a group beyond the family. Children should feel safe, secure, respect themselves and others and develop a positive self-image. Children will learn about relationships and the importance of friendship. They learn of their own and other cultures and develop problem solving skills and a positive disposition to learning.

  • Communication and Language  (CL)
  • Listening and attention
  • Understanding
  • Speaking

CLL depends on developing and being confident in a number of key skills, together with having the opportunity, encouragement, support and disposition to use them. This area of learning includes communicating with others, speaking and listening in different situations and for different purposes, being read to and experiencing a wide range of books. CL is used in every part of the curriculum and it is vital that the children develop these basic skills in order to become independent and confident learners.

  • Physical development (PD)
  • Moving and handling
  • Health and self-care

PD in the EYFS is about improving the skills of co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement. PD has two other very important aspects. It helps children to gain confidence in what they can do and enables them to feel the positive benefits of being healthy and active. Effective physical development helps children to develop a positive sense of well-being. Children are given time to explore, experiment and refine movements within a safe, planned and resourced learning environment.

  • Literacy (LD)
  • Reading
  • Writing

Central to LD is the systematic teaching of phonics following the Linking Letters and Sounds programme alongside the Jolly Phonics sound and action techniques to develop reading and writing skill.

  • Mathematics (MD)
  • Numbers
  • Shape, spaces and measures

MD development depends on becoming confident and competent in learning and using key skills including counting, sorting, matching, patterns, making connections, recognising relationships and working with numbers, shapes, space and measure. MD is taught through fun and imaginative play activities alongside focused whole class and small group carpet sessions.

  • Understanding the World (UW)
  • People and communities
  • The world
  • Technology

Within UW children are developing the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world in which they live. This forms the foundation for later work in science, design and technology, history, geography, RE and ICT.  They learn by gathering information, by direct teaching and using indoor, outdoor environments and the local resources.

  • Expressive Arts and Design (EA & D)
  • Exploring and using media and materials
  • Being imaginative

EA & D is fundamental to successful developing and learning. Being creative enables children to make connections between one area of learning and another and to extend their understanding. This area of learning includes art, music, dance, role play and imaginative play. Children have time to explore and experiment with ideas, materials and activities and should feel secure to try new experiences and ways of doing things. Children learn through using and applying all of their senses.

The Learning Environment

Well-planned play, both indoors and outdoors, is a key way in which young children learn with enjoyment and challenge.

Through play, in a secure environment with effective adult support, children can:

  • Explore, develop and represent learning experiences that help them make sense of their world;
  • Practise and build up ideas, concepts and skills;
  • Learn how to control impulses and understand the need for rules;
  • Be alone, be alongside others or co-operate as they talk or rehearse their feelings;
  • Take risks and make mistakes;
  • Think creatively;
  • Communicate with others as they investigate or solve problems;
  • Express fears or relive anxious experiences in controlled and safe situations.

Adults in the setting will support play by:

  • Planning and resourcing a stimulating environment
  • Supporting children’s learning through planned play
  • Extending and supporting self-initiated learning
  • Extending and developing children’s language and communication in their play.
  • Listening to all forms of children’s communication in their ideas and taking these into account when developing play and planning.
  •  Narrating children’s play.
  • Asking questions about children’s play.

At Hawkes Farm we use our designated classrooms, rainbow room and outside area as our learning environments. All children spend time in each of the learning areas exploring and investigating the resources available. As part of our long, medium and short term plans we plan for all three areas and treat them as all being of equal importance and value.