Early Years

 

 

Early Years

at

St. Peter’s Catholic First School

 

At St. Peter’s we aim to provide the best possible start to your child’s school life. Our Early Years unit is a happy and secure environment in which children are nurtured to reach their full potential. The children develop friendships, learn new skills and grow in confidence all whilst learning through play.  We support all children in building solid foundations which last a lifetime.

 

What is Early Years Foundation Stage Framework?

The EYFS framework outlines the seven areas of learning your child will be exposed to. It is split into two categories. The Prime Areas and the Specific Areas.

 

The three Prime areas are:

It is here that your child will be provided opportunities to develop their fundamental skills. These skills will enable them to communicate, grow and learn in their environment.

 

The four Specific areas are :

It is here that your child will have a range of experiences which consolidate the Prime areas but also broaden their knowledge and skills.

 

The EYFS framework also identifies three Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning

By ensuring that the children at St. Peter’s are given opportunities to develop their own play and adults are there to ‘scaffold’ their learning they will be able to ‘Do More, Know More and Remember More’.

 

Communication and Language

The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children’s language effectively – Development Matters (2021)

How this looks at St. Peter’s

  • Children are encouraged to listen and respond when reading a wide variety of texts e.g. fiction, non-fiction, poems and rhymes.
  • Children are provided extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts.
  • Adults are key in modelling a range of rich vocabulary and language through conversation, storytelling and role play.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others – Development Matters (2021)

How this looks at St. Peter’s

  • Children are supported in learning about their own and others emotions.
  • Children gain confidence in trying new activities and begin to believe in themselves and their ability.
  • Children develop the skill of listening in order to follow instructions.
  • Children are given opportunities to learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating and managing personal needs independently.
  • Children are encouraged to build friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably.

 

Physical Development

Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults. – Development Matters (2021)

How this looks at St. Peter’s

  • Children are given opportunities to play both indoors and outdoors focusing on negotiating space.
  • Children are supported in developing their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility.
  • Children engage in activities which develop their gross motor and fine motor skills.
  • Children are encouraged to move energetically, such as running, jumping, dancing, hopping, skipping and climbing.
  • Children are exposed to a wide variety of fine motor activities which will develop the muscles in their hands which are crucial when beginning to learn to write.
  • Children are encouraged to use their cutlery when eating.

 

Literacy

It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing). – Development Matters (2021)

How this looks at St. Peter’s

  • Children have daily Phonics lessons to learn new sounds
  • Individual reading/Group reading – Children practise reading the taught sounds in words by segmenting and blending words. They also learn to read tricky words to help their fluency and develop their comprehension skills by being able to talk about a text
  • Children have story time where we read books that are topic based, from our Author focus or chosen by from the reading corner by the children themselves
  • Children are given opportunities for writing whether it be an adult task or in child-initiated play
  • Children are encouraged to articulate their ideas and structure them in speech, before writing.

 

Mathematics

Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. – Development Matters (2021)

How this looks at St. Peter’s

  • We follow the White Rose Mathematics Scheme
  • It is based on a CPA approach – Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract
  • Children practise their maths skills by using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames
  • Children will be given the opportunity to use the new mathematical vocabulary that has been modelled by an adult

 

Understanding of the World

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension. – Development Matters (2021)

How this looks at St. Peter’s

  • Children are encouraged to compare and contrast places and people by talking about similarities and differences
  • Children are given opportunities draw on their own experiences to make relevant comments
  • Children are able to explore the world around them and be able to talk about what they see, feel and hear

 

Expressive Arts and Design

The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe. – Development Matters (2021)

How this looks at St. Peter’s

  • Children are able to explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques in order to create their masterpieces
  • Children are encouraged to share their artwork by talking about how it was created
  • Children are given opportunities to role-play using props and materials
  • Children develop a sense of musicality by exploring instruments and listening to a range of music genres
  • Children are exposed to a wide variety of stories, songs, poems and rhymes