EYFS - The Foundation Stage Curriculum
For children in Reception classes Meridian Community Primary School follows the Foundation Stage curriculum set out by the government. This curriculum is organised into seven areas of learning. Three of them are considered ‘prime’, meaning they are of key importance before children are able to fully access the ‘specific’ areas of learning. The prime areas of learning are personal, social and emotional development; communication and language and physical development. The specific areas of learning are literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design. The diagram below depicts the importance of the three prime areas in children’s development.
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Children access all areas of learning through a combination of whole class, small group and one to one learning, alongside child initiated play and exploration. Meridian School boasts a large space for Reception, allowing children to access many different areas, including outside, whilst they learn.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Statement
Unique child - Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
Positive relationships – children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
Enabling environment – children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners, parents and carers.
Learning and development – children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years’ provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development.
The importance of each area of development
Personal, emotional and social development
It is in this area of development that children are encouraged to have a positive sense of self and learn to use this to create relationships with both adults and peers. It is in this area of learning that we focus on many of our school values ‘respect, kindness, strength, honesty and responsibility.’
Personal, emotion and social development is constantly ongoing at Meridian however it is often taught and discussed explicitly during circle times.
We believe that circle time is an important part of the curriculum. Young children, apart from learning and growing, sometimes have to deal with complex personal and social issues at the same time as exploring their world. Circle times provide a vehicle for the delivery of the PSED curriculum as well as having a strong spiritual, moral and cultural dimension.
This area of learning encourages children to learn to use their bodies safely and promote good health. We look at all areas of physical activity such as gross and fine motor control, movement and balance. It is also in this area of learning that children begin to look at how to take care of their bodies and stay healthy, encouraging good practises such as exercise and making good food choices.
The outside area is the key to our physical development provision. Children are encouraged to use their bodies in a range of ways. They are taught vital safety rules with regards to limitations and are encourages to explore how their bodies move and react. Children choose the equipment they want freely, however some equipment from the PE store may be added to extend the children’s learning.
We explicitly teach children how to move and control their bodies in Physical Education lessons which start after the October half term break. In these sessions children change out of their uniform into a school P.E kit. We look at gymnastics, dance, team and ball games.
Communication and language
Communication and language development at meridian Community Primary school involves a language rich environment, developing their confidence when speaking and providing opportunities for children to speak and listen to others.
Communication and language development happens all-day-every-day at Meridian Primary school as it is key to all areas of learning however, children take part in open discussions and circle times in order for children to further develop their speaking and listening skills.
At the heart of Literacy at Meridian Community Primary school is a love of reading. Encouragement of reading starts from their first day at school as books are the key when learning to read and write. Children are given daily phonics lessons where upon they learn the sound each letter makes. At Meridian we follow Letters and Sounds when teaching phonics Children are given access to a variety of books and are exposed to many different forms of writing.
There are always a variety of books arranged in an attractive book areas with soft comfortable seating. Children enjoy a variety of books, whilst learning to read for pleasure and information. They learn how to handle books, talk about the characters, predict what might happen next, build up knowledge of phonics and develop an intuitive understanding of the structure of written language. The children also make and read their own books and we constantly remind them and model for them, the importance of how to take care of books. Later in the year (spring term) the children will also have a weekly guided reading session with the class teacher.
Mathematical development provides children the opportunity to explore number, shapes, space and measures closely. Children are explicitly taught to improve their counting skills, how to use and understand numbers and to calculate simple addition and subtraction sums.
Opportunities for children to acquire basic mathematical concepts are created within other activity areas, e.g. role-play, modelling, sand and water. We also have a maths area and interactive displays to encourage and motivate learning. There is lots of practical equipment available, which reflects learning objectives in maths. The computer is used with a wide range of mathematical games and activities to promote and encourage mathematical thinking and learning.
Understanding the World
Successful development in Understanding the World requires children to have an understanding of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out.
We create these opportunities for children to acquire basic scientific concepts, which we develop and consolidate in many other activity areas e.g. role-play, modelling, painting, sand and water and cooking. We have equipment for scientific investigation e.g. magnifying glasses, specimen dishes, jars and we give the children opportunities to look after living creatures which helps them to develop a sense of care and responsibility for the world around them.
We use ICT in our everyday teaching in a planned and systematic way. We aim to equip the children with a range of skills by giving them appropriate tools and materials to use. The development of ICT skills through learning to use computers, beebots, cameras and telephones helps pupils towards a greater understanding of their uses and applications. The use of construction toys e.g. mobilo and Lego, helps children create imitations of real life objects that they have seen, build systems and create small-scale worlds. In doing so they can plan and talk about their construction. This also provides opportunities to work co-operatively with others. Children are encouraged to complete the plan-do-review process and this is also an adult led focus each week.
Expressive arts and design
Expressive arts and design development equips children with the ability to create and design freely. Children are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings through a variety of activities involving art, design, dance, music and role-play.
Easels and large flat tables are available for the children. We encourage them to make choices and decisions from a wide variety of accessible materials and equipment, providing a “creation station” in the shared bay to encourage creative development. The range of activities we provide includes painting, drawing, printing, collage, textiles, clay and other ‘found’ materials. Children are encouraged to evaluate and change their work. They learn to control tools and equipment and develop a growing aesthetic awareness of form, colour, tone and texture, pattern, shape and space.
Children are encouraged to sing, compose and perform using a variety of percussion and other sound makers. They will have the opportunity to listen to all sorts of music and learn about concepts of sequence, pitch, rhythm and time.
Assemblies and celebrations
At Meridian Community school we are always looking to celebrate children’s achievements. Reception children attend a weekly commendation assembly focusing on individual children’s achievements and successes. Parents and/or carers are invited to these assemblies to make sure the children feel really special on their big day.
In the summer term Reception children also attend weekly phase assembly with Year One and weekly whole school assemblies. These assemblies are linked to our values at Meridian as well as celebrating key festivals. During each assembly children are given time to think and reflect.