The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) learning and development programme is comprised of three prime areas of learning and four specific areas.
The three prime areas of learning underpin all that we do in the EYFS and are particularly important for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas are:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Children are supported in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
Activities and experiences for children in all areas include:
Communication and language development, which 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.
Personal, social and emotional development, which 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, which involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters through the Jolly Phonics scheme and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (stories, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Mathematics, which 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, which 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.
Physical development, which involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children are also helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Expressive arts and design, which 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.
Children enter the Kindergarten class at around 2 ½ years old and are assigned to a key member of staff who will be their main teacher for their time in Kindergarten. Attendance at this stage may vary from 2 mornings a week to full time according to parents’ wishes. Much of what the children are doing at this stage is child initiated and children are encouraged to follow their own interests. Adult led activities focus on the prime areas of learning and as the children grow and develop the specific areas are introduced.
In September following their 3rd birthday, children move to the Transition class. Here they are taught in small groups as they continue through the EYFS in all the areas of learning. Attendance varies from three mornings a week to full time, according to parental choice, and by the end of the Trinity term this will ideally involve staying for the afternoon on at least one day a week. In addition to the activities planned by the group teachers, Gym is provided by the director of sport, Music is taught by a member of the Pre-Prep staff and French is introduced. Ballet lessons are available to all children as an optional extra.
In preparation for the move to Reception the children are visited by the Reception staff and have opportunities to spend time in the Stable Yard, which houses the Pre-Prep department, during the Trinity term ensuring a smooth transition into full-time education in September.