Curriculum: Early Years
At TES we follow a structure of learning, development and care for children from birth to five years old from the UK, called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
The EYFS ensures the following:
- that children learn through play
- that providers work in partnership with parents and keep them up to date on their child’s progress
- safe-guarding of the welfare, learning and all-round development of children with different backgrounds and levels of ability, including those with special educational needs and physical disabilities.
In the British Primary Section, the EYFS learning journey is provided for children from the start of their Nursery experience to the end of their Reception year. (Additionally, those children not yet ready to wholly access the KS1 curriculum, follow a ‘transition from the EYFS’ in their first term in Year 1).
The EYFS curriculum uses ‘stages of development’ that start with ‘birth-11 months’ and finish with the ‘Early Learning Goals’ (ELGs, 40-60+ months). These ‘stages’ mean that each child’s unique learning requirements and interests can be appropriately supported and provided for.
Children can enter Nursery from their third birthday and stay for half of the day or the whole day. They may be in Nursery up to 6 terms, depending on age at entry. Reception children attend for the full school day.
Through play, in a secure but challenging environment with effective adult support, children can:
- explore, develop and represent learning experiences that help them to make sense of the world
- practice and build up ideas, concepts and skills
- learn how to understand the need for rules
- take risks and make mistakes
- think creatively and imaginatively
- communicate with others as they investigate or solve problems
The ways in which each and every child engages with other people, and the environment, underpins learning and development in all areas.
Both Nursery and Reception run as units.
The Nursery unit has 64 children in 4 registration bases with 1 teacher and 1 learning assistant in each.
The Reception unit has 80 children in 4 registration bases with 1 teacher and 1 learning assistant in each. In addition, there are English as Additional Language (EAL) teachers supporting specific language needs in the unit.
In each year group, the children can, under the direction of their teacher, have access to all class and outside areas for their play. The 10 Reception staff work throughout the unit, teaching, supporting and observing a mix of teacher-led activities, adult-supported play and self-initiated play.
We have specialist teachers for Music (all Foundation Stage) and Chinese Language and Culture, ICT, Art and PE (Reception classes only).
We support learning on an individual basis. After an initial observation period (and a baseline evaluation), we plan, teach, monitor and evaluate learning & development in 4 x 8 or 9 week cycles during the year. At the beginning of each cycle there is written notification of each child's individual ‘next steps' in areas of learning and development. At the end of the cycle there is a written evaluation of his/her progress.
The EYFS requires us to provide two written summaries of development and learning: one when a child is 2 years old, and one in Term 3 of his/her Reception year.
For children in Nursery, at the end of his/her first cycle, we give a short written summary of development in the ‘prime' areas and preferred learning styles. Slightly later than required by the EYFS, this progress check enables early identification of development needs so that any additional support can be put into place.
At the end of Reception we assess learning against the expected levels of progress for 5 years olds (the ELGs) in the EYFS Profile. Parents receive a written summary stating if their child is not yet meeting these levels (emerging), meeting the expected levels, or is exceeding them.
Parental partnership is essential to the success of this approach. We inform through Cycle paperwork (with parents having an opportunity to comment on both the ‘next steps' and the progress); Blogs; the Home-link Diary; appointed Parent Meetings and informal chats. We request that a child's development at home is shared: how he/she likes to play, her/his interests and dislikes and any other details that will help us know and understand each child.
Evidence of every child's time in Foundation Stage is shown through the Interactive Learning Diary (ILD) and each child's portfolio. Included in these are photos, anecdotal observations and samples of work chosen to demonstrate each child's unique learning journey.