Early Years Foundation Stage
The prime areas of Foundation Stage Learning are:
Personal, social and emotional development (PSED)
This involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Adult-led PSED opportunities
Children are given many opportunities throughout the week to engage in role play activities. Often the adults will model a phone call or conversation between the characters from the book we are studying as a class, and give the children an opportunity to do this too with a partner. Not only does this help to deepen the child’s understanding of the characters, it also helps them to develop their social skills, embeds the particular vocabulary and language patterns of the story and offers valuable opportunity for children to gain confidence through performing these improvised activities. The adult- led role play helps the children to develop empathy with several points of view.
We offer a wide variety of costumes, role play props and equipment. We set up temporary stages with musical instruments and base a lot of the role play upon our observation of the children’s interests because if the learning opportunities are guided by the children’s interests, they are more likely to engage in ‘deep play’ where scaffolding their learning becomes more possible through the meaningful contexts the children create.
This involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Throughout the course of the Reception year, the children will have opportunities to engage in many physical activities which will develop their physical abilities.
From starting school, children will have weekly swimming and PE lessons where they will learn to listen to instruction, play in a team, and navigate obstacle courses mastering physical challenges through sports.
Bikes, trailers, scooters, cars, building materials and bouncy hoppers are made available to the Reception children in our continuous provision and offer many opportunities to develop refine their gross motor skills.
For the development of fine motor skills, we have many different fine motor promoting resources to support the children in this area; again these are always linked to the class story or your child’s particular interests.
Communication and language development
This involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Language development is supported through the use of ‘Talking Partners’ where children are encouraged to work in pairs in order to verbally reflect upon ideas in all subject areas and formulate these ideas into sentences to be shared in a comfortable small group. This interaction with peers is a key component to the success of the Talk for Writing method that we teach at Maidwell Primary School.
Understanding the world
Many of the activities of Foundation Stage are linked to that of Years 1 and 2 and the children are encouraged to access the history, geography, science and RE curriculums in a manner appropriate to their development.
Specific areas of Foundation Learning are:
Expressive arts and design
This 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.
Our Christmas production which the whole school takes a role in each Christmas allows the children to engage in art activities which link to
Each topic the Key Stage 1 children have there is an associated art and design activity. Reception children are always included in this and have many art materials available to them throughout the school day which they can freely choose to create what they would like.
At Maidwell, we deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum in conjunction with the ‘Talk for Writing’ process where we link the stories that children learn each term with the different areas of the EYFS.
Talk for Writing is a kinaesthetic, visual, auditory based method for teaching literacy which enriches the vocabulary of children whilst embedding a wide range of language patterns in order to support the development of writing.
As a ‘Talk for Writing’ school we teach through a process that creates very confident writers.
- Children are presented with a story which is told to them orally so they can create unique images in their minds eye.
- With the help of the children, the story is then drawn in pictures which forms a ‘story map’.
- The children then create actions to match each picture on the story map in order to help them internalise the story.
- Next, the children ‘step the story out’ which is where they refer to the story map and recite the line of the story picture by picture, stepping forward each time. This helps the children to memorise the chronology and embed the particular language features of the story.
- Children then engage in drama circles where they act the story out in a group, using mime to act out the parts of animate and inanimate objects or characters this part is called ‘deepening’. It is a brilliant teaching opportunity to introduce a breadth of rich new vocabulary in meaningful contexts. We also do ‘hot seating’ where the child or the teacher dresses as one of the characters in the story and the children ask them questions. The ability to form appropriate and well thought out questions is an important strand of speaking and listening.
- After this imitation process the children innovate their memorised story and think of new features to overlay the original.
- Finally,when the children have all the vocabulary memorised, they are confident to have a go at writing their own stories. At first this is achieved through guided writing where the adult models writing the sentences on the white board, thinking out loud as they write, reminding children to use spaces between their words, have capital letters at the beginning and the correct letter formation.
- Before long (and teamed with the rapid learning of phonics daily) the children begin to write their own sentences pushing what we call their "sound buttons."
- This process can take between one and two weeks and enables the children to write beautifully.
- Reception children will then learn the features of particular non-fiction text types and create tool kits with picture icons instead of words to help them remember the ‘ingredients’ needed for particular non-fiction text types such as instructions, recounts, persuasive writing and even dialogue. Because of the active and fun way we teach writing at Maidwell, Reception children become independent, creative and confident writers very quickly.
At Maidwell Primary School the children experience readig activities from day 1. There are daily guided reading sessions where children are taught to recognise that print carries meaning: that words are read from left to right and the way in which books are written. Books are sent home in order that parents play a part in this important learning. "Key words" are learnt - these having an icon and action to support retention. The children are encouraged to develop a love of books through the "Page Turner" Reception library.
Phonics is taught through daily sessions. The children begin by learning single letter sounds which are supported by an image and actions. Once a number of sounds have been learnt the children will begin to read words through the segmenting and blending process eg. c.a.t = cat. The children are encouraged to use only the pure sound, "push their sound buttons" and begin to read words.
The children are provided with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
At Maidwell we believe in creating firm foundations of understanding of numbers. In order to achieve this we use Numicon Shapes.
Numicon Shapes are designed to exploit three key strengths of young children, to help them understand numbers. These three strengths are their abilities to learn by doing, learn by seeing, and to exploit their strong sense of pattern. The Numicon Shapes have been designed for children to manipulate them, to observe and notice, and to explore patterns when using them.
Mathematically, the design of the Numicon Shapes helps children to see connections between numbers by manipulating and making connections using the Shapes. A key understanding for children is that numbers are not just randomly occurring things, but that they form a highly organised system – which is full of many kinds of patterns.
There are two types of addition situations: those where quantities are added together and those where ‘something more’ is added (i.e where there is an increase). We need to introduce both situations, and use the language appropriate to each situation. The key words are ‘together’ and ‘more’. Adding prices together when shopping uses ‘together’, whilst discussing how much a child has grown involves ‘more’. We need also to remember to present both kinds of situation when using apparatus, so you will find that both these addition structures are addressed in the activities.
Subtraction involves four different kinds of situation, which is one reason that understanding (long doing) subtraction is much more difficult for children than addition. First, we can have ‘take away’, in which there is loss (e.g. if some of the biscuits on the plate are eaten). Second, there is ‘decrease’, in which there is less (e.g. when prices are reduced in a sale). Third, there is ‘comparison’, in which there is difference (e.g. when comparing the heights of two children of different ages). Fourth, we can keep adding to see how far we have to go to reach a target – we could call this ‘the opposite of addition’ (e.g. working out how much longer there is until lunchtime). Once again, when using Numicon apparatus it is important to present all four situations and emphasise the appropriate language.
Numicon Shapes are designed primarily to help children visualise and deal with number ideas. As they handle the Shapes, move and rearrange them, they experience and learn about shape and space, which are important ideas. They see and experience transformation and changes in position.
They will also notice the symmetry and asymmetry of even and odd Numicon number Shapes, and in fitting the Shapes together they can experiment by turning the Shapes over (reflections), turning them round (rotations), and moving them together (translations). The introductory activity in this Kit involving covering the Baseboard with Numicon Shapes (area) is important because this experience allows the children to explore the various shape properties of the patterns and begin to learn some essential geometric ideas, which will help them ‘see’ the connections between the associated number ideas in a visual language.
Creating a number-rich environment – Giving number a high visual profile.
How does this all fit together?
Because the EYFS is a play based curriculum and play experiences necessarily need to be of interest to each child, we blend maths activities into different areas of the setting for example we teach capacity and vocabulary related to measurement in the mud kitchen, water tray or role play area. Or if a child shows a strong interest in mark making and painting we will incorporate maths activities into art activities.
The benefits of the Reception children being in a mixed age class are as follows:
- Consistency: The children are with the same teacher and teaching support staff for three school years
- Children follow the example of older children so behaviour expectations are high and Reception children tend to ‘rise to the challenge’ and see the expectations manifested in the behaviour of their peers
- Children are exposed to some of the Key Stage 1 topics and can meet the associated activities at the level they are operating
- Peer learning is very powerful in this setting because the children in their zone of proximal development are able to co-construct new understandings through talk partner activities with more able/experienced peers
- Children have a very smooth transition to the next year group with no disruption