The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum sets standards for learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. It ends when a child enters KS1. The EYFS is the framework by which all children in England have a focus placed on the their well being and development as they grow and prepare for their entrance into compulsory education. The standards ensure all children will learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.
As you may well be aware, the EYFS has been recently reformed and these reforms became statutory for all schools in September 2021. At Chiddingstone School we chose to be early adopters of the new EYFS and, as an early adopter school, we have been following the new EYFS curriculum from September 2020.
In summary, the EYFS comprises:
The EYFS framework outlines seven areas of learning and development and educational programmes. There are three prime areas, which are seen as being particularly important for a child's development and future learning. These are:
There are four specific areas of learning, through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied. These are:
In addition, the Characteristics of Teaching and Learning are an important part of the EYFS curriculum and describe how a child learns. The three characteristics are:
Throughout the year we consider every child's needs and interests to plan challenging and enjoyable activities and experiences. We aim to achieve all this through a rich and varied curriculum. We use the Cornerstone creative curriculum to ensure we plan to give our pupils real life and memorable experiences to promote life long learning. The curriculum is designed to be inclusive and progressive. As well as being classroom based, we also move beyond the YR classroom, through a range of activities including visiting theatre groups and speakers, educational visits, weekly Forest School, PE and outdoor learning. The children also find out about different cultures, create their own role play areas, learn French, take part in weekly RE lessons and join the rest of the school for Act of Worship. We also pair up with Year 6 to develop our literacy skills and every child has a Year 6 buddy.
The creative curriculum is taught through a variety of topics including:
As well as delivering the curriculum through a range of adult led and adult directed activities, an important element of the EYFS is child initiated learning. Child initiated learning is an important element of the early years and in our school we call this "Children’s Choice". The children can choose to play indoors or outdoors and we have a lovely new canopied area so the children are able to access the outdoors whatever the weather. Child-initiated play has an important role in children's learning and development, because children explore and learn from their own thoughts and ideas through the freedom and creativity that child-initiated play enables. Through play we help and support children to extend their vocabulary and develop their communication skills.
A greater focus on teaching specific skills will occur as the children progress through Reception year, which will help them prepare for Year 1.
The Early Learning Goals are the level of development the children should be expected to have attained by the end of the EYFS.