Our bespoke and inspiring EYFS Curriculum promotes effective learning and is designed around the needs of our children. It immerses our children in a language rich environment and develops thinking and problem-solving skills. Priority is given to providing sufficient sustained periods of play with support and resources to allow children to repeat and deepen their taught skill development. Our children guide and drive their own learning through carefully resourced continuous provision with enhancements to aid the development of skills and knowledge. As many of our activities as possible are play-based, however there is also a need for some direct teacher-led activities to ensure all children gain essential knowledge and skills.
There are seven areas of learning and development within the early years, which are extremely important to ensure our children get the best possible start at school. These seven areas are made up of three prime areas and four specific areas.
The prime areas of learning and development include communication and language, personal, social and emotional development and physical development. These are vital to ensure our children feel safe, form a range of positive relationships, develop a love of learning through curiosity and as a result are then ready to take on the challenges of the wider curriculum.
The specific areas of learning and development include; literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design. These areas help to further strengthen the prime areas.
The characteristics of effective teaching and learning describe the behaviours children use in order to learn. The three behaviours are:
1. Playing and Exploring – Having high levels of engagement and being willing to ‘have a go’.
2. Active Learning – Being motivated and demonstrating resilience.
3. Creating and Thinking Critically – Developing own ideas, strategies and making connections.
Effective learning must be meaningful to our children so that they can use what they have learned and apply it to a range of situations. This will allow for our children to make good progress across all seven areas of learning and development.
EYFS areas of learning are:
Communication and Language
This area is comprised of listening, attention, understanding and speaking. The development of children’s spoken language is pivotal in enabling them to flourish in all other areas of learning. It is vital that children have ample opportunities to engage in conversations with adults and peers within an environment that is language rich in order to ensure children’s language is built upon and developed effectively. At Trinity Academy Akroydon vocabulary is a huge focus for us. We pride ourselves on the quality of interactions our children have. We read to our children daily and we engage with a wide range of texts (fiction, non-fiction, poems and rhymes). We take time to ensure our children comprehend what has been read to them and they are actively encouraged to role-play, re-tell familiar stories and ask questions about what they have heard to further support their comprehension. In addition to this, daily ‘Talk Through Stories’ sessions are used to extend and deepen children’s vocabulary so that they can understand the books they will soon be able to read for themselves.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
This area is comprised of self-regulation, managing self and building relationships. The development of strong, compassionate and supportive relationships with adults supports children’s understanding of not only their emotions but the emotions of others. It gives children the safe, secure base from which to develop a positive sense of self and then have the confidence in themselves to achieve set goals. At Trinity Academy Akroydon we want our children to lead happy and healthy lives in Boothtown and beyond. We want them to understand their own feelings and those of others and find ways to self-regulate if needed. Making friends, building a range of relationships throughout our school community, being kind and cooperating with others is key for us.
This area is comprised of fine motor skills and gross motor skills. This area is crucial for children’s all-round development and to ensure they lead happy, healthy and active lives both in school and at home. At Trinity Academy Akroydon, what we mean by this is ensuring our children are as active as they can be. Exploring, getting stronger with good coordination, developing a strong core strength, balancing, being spatially aware and aiming for agility at own level. Fine motor development helps with control and precision which in turn helps with hand to eye coordination. This in turn may lead to increased development of for example; literacy skills. We repeat and vary the opportunities our children have in all areas (puzzles, physical literacy, arts and crafts and using a range of tools) which then develops confidence.
This area is comprised of comprehension, word reading and writing. It is crucial children develop a life-long love of reading. The ability to read and comprehend what has been read will ensure children are ready for the challenges within writing. At Trinity Academy Akroydon, we develop a love of reading, comprehension, word reading and writing very early on. Our adults talk to the children about the world and are continually reading stories to them as well as singing songs and learning rhymes. We instigate word reading from the moment they set foot in class for example; reading your name for self-registration or on your coat peg. Decoding skills start here with speedy recognition of familiar vocabulary within our phonics sessions and whole class sessions. Writing opportunities are immersed in the environment; provision is designed to enable pupils to write confidently and for a purpose.
This area is comprised of number and numerical patterns. Developing a solid grounding in number ensures children’s development mathematically in the years beyond the foundation stage. At Trinity Academy Akroydon, we develop a strong sense of number early on. There are daily opportunities to count and understand numbers to 10 and beyond through singing number songs and rhymes. Within our provision we ensure children have continued exposure to numbers and number patterns through a wide range of activities. These support our children to develop the mathematical language needed to discuss numbers and patterns. Adults work tirelessly to provide opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills through activities linked to shape, space and measures. We ensure our children understand the real-life link of maths within their everyday lives through well thought out and structured role-play. Our children are encouraged to role-play for example; going to the shops and counting how many different things that they need. This in turn supports our children to get excited about numbers and demonstrate a ‘have a go’ attitude as well as not be afraid to make mistakes.
Understanding the World
This area is comprised of past and present, people, culture and communities and the natural world. It is important to guide our children to make sense of the world around them as well as their communities. We explore the similarities, differences and features of the local environment; we take regular walks around the grounds to discover the seasonal changes, noting the spring blossom on the trees and the falling autumn leaves; we compare our own homes with those of others by strolling down the road and noting the different styles of buildings. Additional learning opportunities include; providing stories that help children make sense of different environments; resources to create and explore maps and plans; well-equipped paintings, modelling and drawing areas for the construction of familiar and imaginary landscapes.
Expressive Arts and Design
This area is comprised of creating with materials and being imaginative and expressive. Nurturing children’s artistic and cultural awareness will help support the development of their imaginations and spark creativity. Children are encouraged to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials as a form of self-expression and communication. Children love to display their work in our class art gallery.