‘The Early Years Foundation Stage’ framework (2012) dictates the way that we lead and support children’s development within the unit.  It provides us with statutory requirements that govern our day to day practice, with a very child led approach to supporting children’s development through play opportunities and experiences.   

We regularly observe all children and spend time getting to know them and their interests.  We then plan activities and experiences from our knowledge of the children to ensure that the children have identified learning priorities to achieve.  These can take the form of:

o   Adult led activities – where adults plan activities to achieve specific learning outcomes for identified purposes.

o   Adult supported activities – where adults support children’s play through appropriate provision of guidance, questioning and resources.

o    Child initiated activities – where children lead their own learning through the independent access and decision of what to do.

Outdoor play is extremely important for the holistic development of all children and so children will spend a lot of time accessing the outdoor areas in all weathers.

Each child, during their time within the Early Years Unit, will have a development record and a learning story.  These will contain observations, photos, art work and things that the child has said and done.  Parents and carers get involved with this too by adding observations (see family observation information), photos, pictures and mementos from the child’s time outside of the unit.  It provides a fantastic learning resource where the children can share their learning from the unit with you and from home with the Early Years Staff.

The children will have periodic developmental progress reviews which enable staff to review the all round achievements and needs of the children.  Key people will arrange a mutually convenient time with parents/carers so that staff and parents/carers can share their knowledge of the child and their developments and set and agree developmentally appropriate identified learning priorities for the child to move forward at home and in the unit. Following these reviews, staff will use the information gained and feed this into their planning.

Children in Cherry (FS2) will be assessed through-out the year with a summative assessment at the end of their first school year to summarise their development and achievement at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage.  Please ask a member of the Early Years Team for more information.

Each room will use the “Letters and Sounds” teaching programme principles to support the provision of play and learning experiences that are rich in speaking and listening opportunities and that link physical and practical experiences.  The environment will share examples of print and encourage children to mark make and write, also embracing the world of books and reading.  As children progress through to Cherry, there will be a greater level of specific activities around individual sounds and letters and how these are used together. 

Parents can support their children at home through reading and sharing books, writing for purposes in front of the children, for example, writing shopping lists, and involving children in everyday experiences, for example, talking about things in the environment, laying the table, washing and sorting clothes, gardening, cooking, fixing things etc.