Early childhood is the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. At Highfield School we greatly value the important role that the Early Years Foundation Stage plays in laying secure foundations for future learning and development, however we also believe early childhood is valid in itself, as part of life. It is important to view the EYFS as preparation for life and not simply preparation for the next stage of education.
At Highfield our practice reflects the guidance set out in the ‘Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’ (DFE 2012).
All children begin school with a variety of experiences and learning. The vast majority of children entering Reception will have attended Highfield Nursery. It is the privilege of the Practitioners in Nursery and Reception to take on the task of building upon the children’s previous experiences. This is done through a holistic approach to learning, ensuring that parents/carers, and all staff work effectively together to support children's learning and development.
The four guiding principles shape the practice in our EYFS department. These are:
- Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
- 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 and parents and/or carer;
- Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
It is every child’s right to grow up safe, healthy, and ready to face the challenges ahead. We aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which will enable each child to develop personally, socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, creatively and intellectually to their full potential. Each child is valued as an individual and teaching and learning is based on the understanding that children develop at different rates.
We aim to:
- Provide a safe, challenging, stimulating, caring and sharing environment which is sensitive to the needs of the child, including children with additional needs;
- Provide a broad, balanced, relevant and creative curriculum that will set in place firm foundations for future learning and development in Key Stage 1 and beyond;
- Provide opportunities for children to learn through planned, purposeful play in all areas of learning and development, both indoors and outdoors • Use and value what each child can do, assessing their individual needs and helping each child to progress and achieve their full potential.
- Enable choice, decision-making and problem solving, fostering independence and self-confidence; • Work in partnership with parents/carers and value their contributions;
- Ensure that all children, irrespective of ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities, gender or ability, have the opportunity to experience a challenging and enjoyable programme of learning and development.
At Highfield School we do not make a distinction between work and play. We support children’s learning through planned play activities, and decide when child initiated or adult-led/guided play activities would provide the most effective learning opportunities. We believe that it is important for adults to support children’s learning through play, by getting involved in the play themselves. Children are given the opportunity to explore and discover within a safe and supportive environment.
Play underpins the delivery of the EYFS curriculum. Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them to make sense of the world. They practise and build up ideas, and learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. The children have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children, as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems. They express fears or re-live anxious experiences in controlled or safe situations. The children are involved with both group and individual play, some initiated by adults, some by the children. They learn through being active learners, working with a wide range of resources.