EARLY YEARS CURRICULUM
At the Gipsy Hill Federation, we strongly advocate play and concrete learning throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage and beyond. Children learn through first-hand experiences, books, explorative resources and rich conversation. Children’s physical and mental well-being is at the heart of our curriculum and planning. We aim for our children to be:
These values and intentions underpin all of our provision across the seven areas of learning (Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Communication and Language; Physical Development; Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World; Expressive Art and Design). They support children to become lifelong, confident and enthusiastic learners and prepare them for their journey into Key Stage 1 and beyond.
Partnerships with parents and carers are key to this. We recognise that you are your child’s first and most enduring educator, and we know that children learn and develop well when there is a strong partnership between staff and parents/ carers. We therefore aim for the school and parents/ carers to work closely together, welcoming and listening to all families.
WHY WE TEACH THROUGH PLAY?
We teach through play because we know that carefully organised play develops skills which are crucial throughout life: perseverance, concentration, problem solving, the processing of challenges or trauma, positive relationships, self-regulation, and much more. In particular, research shows us that child-initiated activities provide rich opportunities for children to develop self-regulation and metacognition (Robson, 2015) which can help children make up to seven months additional progress (The Education Endowment Fund). Freely chosen play activities also often provide the best opportunities for adults to help children achieve their next steps by giving them rich opportunities to extend children’s thinking (Sylva et al, 2010).
WHAT CHILDREN LEARN IN EYFS?
In the EYFS, children’s learning is based around a different topic each term. What we teach in the topic and how is carefully planned around what children already know, their interest and their next steps.
Our topics, and the broad intent behind them, is as follows:
Know me to teach me
Children will settle into school, feeling safe and secure in their environment and building relationships with adults and children in their class. They will identify and share their likes and dislikes. They will explore both their indoor and outdoor learning environments, developing their confidence and skill using the different equipment. Through this, they will develop their gross and fine motor skills, which will support their mark making and writing development throughout the year.
Children will know who is in their family and be able to talk about some of the things that make them and their family unique and special. They will identify some of the similarities and differences between them and their family and the wider community. Children will share some of the special times and festivals they celebrate and the ways that they celebrate them. They will also learn about festivals that others celebrate and the different ways that they are celebrated.
People who help us
In this topic, children will learn about some of the people in the community who help us and different jobs that people do. They will talk about ways that they can help others, both in the classroom and more widely. Through this, children will develop their understanding of respect and safety, and begin to learn ways to cooperate, negotiate and resolve issues or conflicts.
Once upon a time
Children will read, discuss and role play a range of traditional tales from around the world. They will develop rich story vocabulary and their skills in sequencing stories. Exposure to a wide range of texts will foster a love of reading and enable children to begin to develop their own preferences with texts. They will have opportunities to use their knowledge of these stories in their own imaginative and role play as well as in their writing.
Our wonderful world!
In this topic, children will learn more about their local environment and the area in and around their school. As part of this, they will develop their understanding that nature exists in the world immediately around them - on their balconies, in their gardens and in local parks - as well as in faraway places. They will learn to value and take care of their local environment and the world around them, understanding their role in caring for the natural world and ways that they can look after it. Outdoor learning will be key. Vocabulary and knowledge children learn during this topic will prepare them for science learning in the future, as will learning to ask and answer questions about what they notice and discover.
To find out more information about the EYFS in the Gipsy Hill Federation, including information about how children transition into school and the Reception Baseline Assessment.