Learning in our Early Years Foundation Stage
What learning looks like in our Early Years Foundation Stage
We engage in dialogue with children. We watch, listen and respond. We model language well, read aloud and tell stories, sing songs, nursery rhymes, encourage children to express their thoughts and use new words. We support independence and confidence, encourage children to speculate and test ideas, enable children to explore and solve problems. We behave as excellent role models and support children to recognise and respond to their own needs.
The prime areas are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
The prime areas are strengthened and applied through 4 specific areas:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
Our easel is absolutely one of the key resources we have for modelling adult writing in the classroom. I write a plan down every day with the children and also use it to jot down ideas and notes and important things to remember. I make mistakes, I rub them out and try again. The children see it used for real purpose and writing on it is a very natural part of our day. Recent child- initiated role play has been all about school experiences and the easel is a very significant part of this play. We have seen children clearly demonstrating their understanding of writing whilst engaged in role of teacher and pupils.
Even though there is a second easel for the children to use independently, the main one is always the one that they prefer because they see it being used every day by an adult.
Children have been observed writing alongside an existing plan/list, copying some familiar words and letters and generating their own writing using some phonic knowledge. Numbers are also written in order beside items. Children read out the plan and remind each other when it is home time.
It really is well loved and well used and maybe irreplaceable!
Mrs McRae 1.2.22
Ramp Builders and Test Drivers!
The ramp building outside continues to develop and what started off in a different space with just some crates and a single plank has now been transported and modified within the construction area. The children have been totally fascinated by gradient and speed and have worked hard to achieve the best ramp design. I have observed lots of excitement, some fantastic teamwork and communication and a real sense of shared purpose.
The latest ramp is all about getting the car to fly off the end as fast and as high as possible. The open ended resources that are available to use enable the children to test, evaluate and refine their structure over and over again. It is so important that we provide a wide range of real materials that are multi – functional and as flexible as the children’s own imagination and ideas.
These designers have even worked out that the car can land in the tuff spot tray which saves them time trying to retrieve it after each ‘launch’!
Mrs McRae 7.2.22
This was the immediate question asked by the children who first discovered it in the little house outside.
“Yes it is real!” I replied, and walked away.
Observing from a short distance, I noticed a change in their play. Everyone got busy arranging the table, stirring the pots and dishing the food out. Chairs and the high chair were brought to the table. The baby was fed carefully, one piece at a time. Hot food was blown to cool it down and the children worked in an organised way together…very busy but very cooperative.
At no time did any one try to eat the dry pasta themselves…I heard a brief discussion where it was decided that ‘it’s not really cooked.”
The addition of this single, basic resource really did enhance the level of the children’s role play. They did not need MY involvement because they knew exactly what they were doing in their own roles.
Home focused role play like this is such a significant aspect of Early Years provision. Home is something that all children are experienced in and some are actually experts. This kind of role play is also totally inclusive because everyone can draw from their own life experiences.
Mrs McRae 10.2.22
Our ‘Mud Kitchen’ provides a special outdoor space to extend the popular home corner play, dig and mix freely and create some new and wonderful concoctions.
Straight after we had made and then tasted pancakes in the classroom, Eleanor and Nylah used their imagination, recent real experience and some excellent communication skills to play with such purpose together.
“These are chocolate muffin pancakes” they told me. “Nylah is in charge of the ingredients and I’m doing mixing” Eleanor then explained.
Yes, mud IS muddy, however:
- It is readily available
- It appeals to a young child’s natural need to explore texture and consistency
- It is another credible type of malleable material
- It enhances imaginative play
- It gives children freedom and a sense of ‘power’
- IT WASHES OFF!
Mrs McRae 1.3.22
“This is our hotel for animals…it has 5 floors and little gates and some bridges. The lion has asked to go on the 4th floor and there’s a clock. It has a canopy and a chimney, the canopy is to keep people safe from the smoke from the chimney. The gorilla has red eyes and the lion and the leopard and the goat.” (Archie)
Kenzie (master builder) and Archie (narrator) worked with absolute concentration this afternoon to create ‘a hotel for animals’. They were confident to select from a range of ‘loose parts’ and bricks and blocks to build this elaborate construction. It will be safe until tomorrow, and then who knows what will happen next?
Mrs McRae 8.2.22
Ready, Steady, Bake!
One of the core experiences that we believe all children should take part in whilst in the Early Years is baking.
Monday afternoon is baking afternoon in reception and we are busy working our way down the register list, four at a time, to make sure that everyone gets a turn. Some children have baked before at home and many others have not so we teach everyone in the same way. We learn about the ingredients, weigh them carefully, use different utensils for different purposes and learn lots of new vocabulary and explore descriptive language.
One of the highlights is the cracking of the eggs and some children get a bit of a shock when they do it for the first time! There is always lots of discussion about the texture of the yolk and white and the inevitable ‘hunt’ for a little bit of shell!
The children are encouraged to do everything by themselves from weighing out to spooning the mixture into the cake tin and THEN finally washing up!
Baking is just one of those perfect activities which covers so many areas of the EYFS curriculum. Best of all, it is real, it’s what grown- ups do AND you get to eat the cake.
100g caster sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Mrs McRae 14.2.22