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Early Years Foundation Stage

‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and 5 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 learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.’

Statutory framework for the early year’s foundation stage- Published 31st March 2021, Effective 1st September 2021

The Early Years Foundation Stage applies to children from birth to the end of their Reception Year. At Hollyfast Primary School, we believe that early childhood is the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives, The children start our school in Pre-school in the September following their third birthday or in Reception, in the year following their fourth birthday. 

Our Early Years Vision

From their very first day at Hollyfast, we will strive for children feel a sense of belonging, within their class and our school. Rooted in kindness and respect, this sense of belonging will nurture the children into confident and happy learners and friends. Our school vision and values will encourage children to ‘Aim high, grow within, and reach beyond the stars’. In the Early Years, we will always strive for excellence. By fostering curiosity and building and encouraging independence, we will teach children the importance of ‘dreaming big’‘keeping going’ and making ‘brave’ choices. This will support them in pushing limits and achieving and attaining their very best, all of the time. As well as academic progress, we will also aim for the children in our Early Years to recognise and value their personal growth and achievements, alongside the growth and achievements of others. Through our curriculum, we will build links to the world we live in, encouraging children to recognise, value and celebrate the diversity of each other, our school, and our city, resulting is a powerful understanding of the importance of collaboration, kindness, respect, and togetherness in the world we live in.

Our Early Years Aims

  • To give each child a happy and positive start to their school life, enabling each child, through encouragement and high expectations, to develop socially, physically, intellectually, and emotionally.

  • To provide each child with a growing understanding our school vision and values and how they can be used to build and manage relationships as well as foster a deep love of learning.

Our Early Years Approach

Learning in the EYFS at Hollyfast begins with our children. It’s our aim that our curriculum will be tailored to each cohort's needs, interests and learning styles. Our curriculum supports children to be lifelong curious and independent learners who are positive and supportive of others around them. Children are able to make brave choices and develop an awareness of the ever-changing world they live in and their place in it. We work in Partnership with our families to support our children to grow as individuals and learners. We will involve parents in a variety of ways in their child’s life at school, particularly involving them in our ‘Purposeful Projects’. Our Curriculum is delivered through exciting projects with ‘Hands on’, experience-based learning to develop a curiosity and love of learning. All areas of learning are of equal importance and link with the National Curriculum subjects in whole school progression documents. 

Our Reception provision follows the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, a copy of which can be found here: DfE Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework

The EYFS framework includes seven areas of learning and development, all of which are seen as important and interconnected:

The prime areas are;

· Communication and Language – Listening, Attention and Understanding, and Speaking

· Physical Development – Gross Motor Skills and Fine Motor Skills

 · Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Self-regulation, Managing Self, Building Relationships

The specific areas are;

· Literacy – Comprehension, Word Reading, Writing

· Mathematics – Number and Numerical Patterns

· Understanding the World – Past and Present, People, Culture and Communities and the Natural World

· Expressive Arts and Design – Creating with Materials and Being Imaginative and Expressive


The Characteristics of Effective Learning

EYFS also includes the characteristics of effective teaching and learning. The teachers plan activities within the reception classrooms with these in mind. They highlight the importance of a child’s attitude to learning and their ability to play, explore and think critically about the world around them.

The three characteristics are:

· Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’

· Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements

· Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

Teaching and Learning Approaches

Learning through play

Learning through play is an important part of our Early Years approach. We believe children learn best from activities and experiences that interest and inspire them. Where appropriate, we use children’s interests as a starting point and we provide children with stimulating, active play experiences (indoor and outdoor) in which they can explore and develop their learning to help them make sense of the world. They have opportunities through their play to think creatively and critically alongside other children as well as on their own. They are able to practise skills, build upon and revisit prior learning at their own level and pace. Play gives our children the opportunity to pursue their own interests and inspire those around them. The children learn to adapt, negotiate, communicate, discuss, investigate and ask questions. We believe it is important that adults take an active role in child-initiated play through sustained shared thinking- observing, modelling, facilitating and extending their play.

Adult-led direct teaching

We include direct, carefully planned, adult-led experiences for children in the form of structured adult led teaching and adult- led group activities. These are particularly important in helping children to learn specific skills, vocabulary and knowledge and it is often through children’s play that we see how much of this learning has been understood and taken on. Each day we follow a timetable with set routines in place; however, this can be flexible to support the children’s needs and extend their learning.

Each day, the children take part in adult-led small group sessions for Phonics, Maths, Literacy, Reading and the wider curriculum. The length of these sessions increases across the year, in line with child development and increased stamina and concentration.