Early Years Foundation Stage
The period from birth to age five is described as the Foundation Stage. It is a distinct stage and important both in its own right and in preparing children for later schooling. The period the children are in the Nursery is referred to as Foundation Stage 1. Children in the Nursery attend for either a morning or an afternoon session of three hours. When children transfer to school into reception (in September the year they turn 5) this is referred to as Foundation Stage 2. After Foundation Stage 2 the children move into Key Stage 1 for Years 1 and 2. The curriculum for the Foundation Stage underpins your child’s future learning. It is organised into seven areas of learning:
Communication and language development 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.
Physical development 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.
Personal, social and emotional development 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.
- Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
- Mathematics involves providing children 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.
- Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
- Expressive arts and design 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.
Assessment in the Foundation Stage
Pupils are assessed regularly in order to plan a curriculum which meets the needs of all pupils and to track progress. Progress in the Foundation Stage is assessed using ‘best fit’ judgements against the Early Years Foundation Stage Ages and Stages document, which is an assessment tool used by both our Nursery (FS1), by other pre-school settings and by Reception (FS2) staff. This relates the performance of pupils to age-related expectations.
At the end of the Foundation stage, pupils are assessed using the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. This document describes the attainment of pupils in relation to Early Learning Goals for 17 different areas of learning. Pupils may be judged to be ‘emerging’ (i.e. still working towards the Early Learning Goal) ‘expected’ (i.e. having met the majority of the statements in the Early Learning Goal) or ‘exceeding’ (i.e. working at a level beyond the Early Learning Goal). This information is shared with parents at the end of their child’s reception year.