Early Years

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Early Years at St. Peter’s Catholic First School (Bromsgrove)

Teaching and Learning

The first year at school is called Reception and is the last year of Early Years provision from birth. This is a very important stage in a child’s life as it prepares them for their future learning and successes. From when your child is born up until the age of 5, their early years’ experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; as well as support their development, care and learning needs.

At St. Peter’s we use the EYFS Framework and this document explains how and what your child will be learning to support their healthy development.

Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.

Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:

  • Communication and language;
  • Physical development; and
  • Personal, social and emotional development.

These prime areas are most essential for your 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:

  • Literacy;
  • Mathematics;
  • Understanding the world; and
  • Expressive arts and design.

These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum, but it’s suitable for very young children, and it’s designed to be really flexible so that staff 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.

The following information explains the 7 areas of learning in more detail.

Communication and Language 

The development and use of communication and language is at the heart of life.  Communication and language depends on learning (and being competent in) a number of key skills, together with having the confidence, opportunity, encouragement, support and disposition to use them.  This area of learning includes communicating in different situations and for different purposes.

Physical Development

Physical Development in the Early Years is about improving skills of co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement. Physical development has two other very important aspects. It helps children gain confidence in what they can do and enables them to feel the positive benefits of being healthy and active. Effective physical development helps children develop a positive sense of well-being.

Young children’s physical development is inseparable from all other aspects of development because they learn through being active and interactive.  Young children use all their senses to learn about the world around them and make connections between new information and what they already know. Your child will learn to move confidently, controlling their body and handling equipment.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

This area of learning is crucial to how successful your child will be as a learner as it overarches every other curriculum area. It is about emotional well-being, knowing who you are and where you fit in and feeling good about yourself. It is also about developing respect for others, social awareness and a positive disposition to learn. These are very valuable lessons for school and for life.

Your child will learn to be self-confident, take an interest in things, know what their own needs are, tell the difference between right and wrong, and be able to dress and undress.

 Literacy

The Literacy area of learning encourages children to listen to a wide range of books.  The children should have a variety of texts read to them followed by them beginning to read simple texts themselves. Phonics takes a central role in this area and writing for a variety of purposes is modelled and encouraged.

Your child will learn to talk confidently and clearly, enjoying stories, songs and poems, hearing and saying sounds, and linking them to the alphabet. They will read and write familiar words and learn to use a pencil.

Mathematics

Mathematical development depends on becoming confident and competent in learning and using key skills. This area of learning includes counting, sorting, matching and seeking patterns, making connections, recognising relationships and working with numbers, shapes, space and measures.  Mathematical understanding is developed through stories, songs, games and imaginative play, so that children enjoy using and experimenting with numbers, including numbers up to 20.

Your child will develop an understanding of maths through a range of practical situations and through talk. They will become comfortable with numbers and with ideas such as ‘heavier than’ or ‘bigger’. They will be aware of shapes and space.

Understanding the World

In Knowledge and Understanding, children are developing the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world. This forms the foundation for later work in science, design and technology, history, geography, and computing.

Your child will explore and find out about the world around them, by being encouraged to ask questions. They will build with different materials, know about everyday technology and learn what it is used for. They will find out about past events in their lives and their families’ lives. They will find out about different cultures and beliefs.

Expressive Arts and Design

Creativity is fundamental to successful learning. Being creative enables children to make connections between one area of learning and another and so extend their understanding. This area of learning includes art, music, dance, role-play and imaginative play. Your child will explore colours and shapes, participate in dance, create art and models, tell and act out stories, sing, listen to and make music.

As a Catholic School we also have an addition area of learning: Religious Education.

Religious Education

The Catholic ethos of our school is evident throughout the whole curriculum and in the children’s attitudes towards themselves, others and the world around them. Our teaching centres on the importance of prayer in our lives and how the children are part of the family of the Church. Children will hear stories from the Bible, learn hymns and songs of prayer and will take part in collective worship and school Mass.  We have very close links to the Parish of St. Peter’s and our Parish Priest is Monsignor Graham Wilkinson (Father Graham).

Characteristics of Learning

In planning and guiding children’s activities, we reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in our practice.

We consider three characteristics of effective teaching and learning:

  • 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.

Supporting Documents

  • Development Matters (Link)

If you wish to discuss the Early Years further then please contact Miss. Sarah Colclough (Early Years Co-ordinator)