The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a mandatory framework that is in place for all registered early childhood care and education providers in England.
In addition to the EYFS, we are inspired by the approaches of Steiner / Waldorf, The Forest School approach and principles, Nature Immersion / connection, Land and place responsive learning and play, Te Whariki, and that of Reggio Emilia.
This pedagogical approach enables us to reflect on the children's development with a range of theories and inspirations to underpin our thinking, and our work. This is a strong point for our practice, enabling us to truly individualise each child's learning, opportunities and experiences at Kindergarten.
The full framework can be accessed here.
The EYFS seeks to provide:
Quality and Consistency.
in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind.
A Secure Foundation.
through planning for the learning and development of each individual child, and assessing and reviewing what they have learned regularly.
between practitioners and with parents / carers.
Equality of Opportunity
and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported.
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programs in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.
There are three prime areas, which are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
There are four specific areas, through which, the prime areas are strengthened and applied.
Assessment is a requirement under the EYFS, we use the Early Learning Goals as a rough guide to assist us with tracking your child's development within the seven areas. We are mindful however, that these statements are a guide only, and that children develop and learn differently and in a range of ways.
You can see the Early Learning Goals on page 11 of the EYFS as linked above. :
Two year progress check.
This is another requirement, and should be completed when the child is between the ages of two and three years. Parents and carers should share this information with their Health Visitor or any other relevant professionals.
Although all the practitioners in our setting will work hard to create a bond with your child, it is a requirement that every child has a named key person. This individual will be completing your child's learning documentation, building a special bond with them for emotional support when necessary, and completing regular observations of them within their play and experiences. We have four groups at Faraway Tree; Beech, Oak, Willow and Birch, each led by a one of our practitioners as the key worker.
How we approach the EYFS.
We understand that all the areas of development are inter connected and tie in with one another. We believe every topic of learning has the potential to have learning applied to every area of development. We believe there are very few, if any learning opportunities that cannot be taken outdoors. The natural environment is calming, inclusive and full of freedom.
Our resources for the children are open-ended to encourage child-led play and learning opportunities.
We provide core resources, and take observations of the children in both their own play, and adult-initiated sessions. Observations taken are used to enhance and individualise the learning environment for each child. This is known as 'in the moment planning.'
The observations are used to impact our plans for the opportunities offered the following week. We use each child's own interests to support and enable them to extend their learning and play, and ultimately, their development. We feel this approach, helps us as practitioners, to really know each child as an individual.
The role of the adult is to observe, interact and enhance the children's experiences, identifying teachable moments, and enriching the learning opportunities within play.
We are supplementing the children's curriculum with various awards and schemes that fit our ethos. Watch our news and events page for upcoming awards!
We are also following the 'Exploring Nature with Children' weekly topics to support the children's nature immersive earning opportunities and experiences in the outdoor environment. The topics follow the seasons, weather and holidays.