Planning Our Nursery Curriculum
At St Francis Xavier EYFS is a very important stage in a child’s life as it helps prepare for their future learning and successes. Children’s early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun, secure; and support their interests, development, care and learning needs. We believe every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their full potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences before the age of five will have a major impact on their future life chances.
The curriculum within the Early Years Foundation Stage is planned around four main themes taken from Development Matters in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 2021, which 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.
A Unique Child
Learning and Development
Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.
The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.
Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and inter-connected.
The EYFS framework (see link below) explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development and provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. Children will learn skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
(Each of the seven Areas of Learning and Development are further divided into different aspects – see chart below)
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:
Communication and language
Personal, Social & Emotional Development
These prime areas are those most essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning. As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
All 7 areas of learning are used to plan children’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child at St Francis Xavier will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like the curriculum in the rest of the school but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be flexible so that practitioners can follow your child's unique needs and interests.
Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. It is very important that they develop social skills, such as turn-taking, sharing and independence, which help them greatly in the next stages of their learning.
The ways in which the child engages with other people and their environment underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner.
These are called ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ within the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework--2
Playing & Exploring
Creating & thinking critically
Finding out and exploring Playing with what they know Willing to have a go
Being involved and concentrating Keep trying
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
Having their own ideas Making links
Choosing ways to do things
Phonics teaching and learning are a key part of the Foundation Stage and help to develop early reading and writing skills. If you visited our or a Reception class, you would see a range of activities taking place such as role-play, practical games, painting, cutting and sticking and reading in the book corner. You would also see the outdoor garden/classroom in operation, with equipment such as bikes, cars, sand and water.
Although we have 7 areas of the curriculum, this does not mean that all your child's learning is divided up into specific areas. One learning experience may provide a child with opportunities to develop a number of skills and concepts across several areas of learning. Our expectation is that your child's assessment records will be passed on from Nursery and/or Private Nursery providers, enabling us to ensure continuity throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Children can be observed in St Francis Xavier participating in learning that is self-initiated, adult enhanced, adult-initiated or adult-led. We encourage a partnership with parents/carers so that they are actively involved in their children's learning.
How do we assess your child’s Learning and Development in EYFS at SFX?
During the time that your child spends in EYFS at SFX the staff will monitor their achievements and identify what the ‘next steps’ are for their learning against The Ages and stages of Development from the Every Child Matters Document (https://www.early-education.org.uk/development-matters) . The staff also greatly value any information you, as the main educators, share with them about your child, to enable them to have a much broader and more accurate overview of your child’s achievements. A range of children’s achievements and curriculum experiences are recorded electronically on ‘Learning Book’ at school. You are warmly invited to contribute photos, comments, information about special occasions in your family that your child has experienced etc to enable staff to have a much deeper and more informed overview of your child.