Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. At St Mary's Catholic Primary School, we follow the standards set by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to ensure that all children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children a broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.
Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments.
Development Matters was produced by Early Education with support from the Department for Education. It is non-statutory guidance which supports all those working in early childhood education settings to implement the requirements of the Statutory Framework for the EYFS.
Development Matters demonstrates how the four themes of the EYFS Framework and the principles that inform them work together to support the development of babies, toddlers and young children within the context of the EYFS framework. The document also illustrates how the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ may be supported and extended by adults as well as how they underpin the ‘Prime’ and ‘Specific’ areas of learning and development. The age/stage bands overlap because these are not fixed age boundaries but suggest a typical range of development. When using Development Matters it is, however, important to remember that babies, toddlers and young children develop at their own rates and in their own ways. The development statements and their order are not necessary steps for every child and should not be used as checklists.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, we believe that the purpose of education is to bring about goodness: human flourishing. We strive for our students to become independent, curious, and creative learners who understand what it means to be human. As part of the early year’s curriculum, we offer a balance of child-initiated and adult-led learning using purposeful continuous play, focused teacher inputs, engaging and enriching experiences and small group/individual activities; this allows us to explore all seven areas of learning and support children in making progress. We intend to provide an immersive and engaging environment where children’s learning is not limited but inspired.
The Early Years Curriculum is implemented through six different topics throughout the year. Where possible, we use a cross-curricular approach, linking our learning to each topic, but carefully as not to take away from the skills taught in the prime areas of Literacy, Phonics and Maths. Using observations and book work, we can provide individual next steps in learning and support children in making progress. This also allows us to highlight gaps in learning and plan purposeful provision to support children in meeting these needs.
We place a high emphasis on the relationship staff have with children, utilizing their skills and passions to engage children and promote a love of learning in class. Throughout the year, we also enjoy having class visitors, experiences days and educational visits to develop knowledge of the wider world.
We evidence progress through the effective use of observations and assessment. Every child in both Nursery and Reception has a virtual online learning journey that is individual to them. Alongside these, children have subject books, independent writing folders and intervention folders to show progress in the prime areas.
The EYFS framework is structured very differently to the national curriculum as it is organised across seven areas of learning rather than subject areas. To find out how the skills taught across the EYFS feed into the national curriculum subjects, see the documents provided below.
To find out more about the learning that takes place in EYFS, make sure to check out our class page!