EYFS & Development Matters
Characteristics of Effective Learning
When planning for what the children are learning, we always take into account that children learn differently and at different rates. Here at Anfield International Kindergarten, it is our aim that all children learn and develop to fulfil their own potential, and by being aware of the differences in how children learn we are able to do this. There are three Characteristics of Effective Learning.
Playing and Exploring
This is where children learn by ‘having a go’ and exploring with what they already know. They will find things out by exploring the world around them and showing particular interests in things.
Children are motivated to learn and explore, and they enjoy achieving what they have set out to do. Children also become very involved in a task and will demonstrate high levels of concentration.
Creating and Thinking Critically
Children use their own ideas to explore and can find new ways to do things. They will know when a particular approach is working or whether they need to adapt what they are doing. Children can also make links in their learning, make predictions and test their ideas.
EYFS and Development Matters
Here at Anfield International Kindergarten, we follow the British Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS). It is divided into seven areas, three prime areas and four specific areas. These seven areas allow the whole child to develop and grow, something which we strongly believe in at Anfield is integral to the early years of a child’s life
Communication and Language (CL)
The development of a child’s communication skills and spoken language is what underpins everything we do at Anfield. Encompassing listening, understanding and speaking; we provide language rich environments and provide the children with many opportunities to practise their language skills and develop their vocabulary including ‘Show and Tell’ sessions. Our staff model high levels of language to the children and use a huge range of stories, songs and day to day conversation to engage the children and allow them to progress.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
The children learn to be self aware and recognise their feelings, as well as those of their peers. They are supported to develop confidence in their own abilities and to be proud of their accomplishments. By ensuring this, our children are happy and feel safe in the school environment and are ready and eager to learn. We use mindfulness stories, games and activities to foster positive mental health in our children and an ability to be able to talk about their feelings and emotions.
This area of the curriculum also looks at how to keep healthy and to make good choices when eating and exercising, allowing us to promote a strong sense of wellbeing and developing self-help skills, such as going to the toilet and being able to complete simple tasks independently.
Physical Development (PD)
This area of the curriculum focuses on the gross and fine motor skills of children. From learning to move in different ways, such as walking, running, hopping and climbing, to refining how they hold mark making tools or complete puzzles; children are given many opportunities to develop these skills.
During outdoor playtime and P.E. sessions, the children are able to use a variety of equipment including bikes, scooters, hoops and balls to practise skills and play games with their friends. We also are lucky to have developmentally appropriate play equipment where the children can climb steps, scale a miniature climbing wall, crawl through a tunnel and slide down a number of slides.
The Literacy part of the curriculum focuses on the development of reading and writing skills for each child. At Anfield, we understand and appreciate the importance of reading from an early age and how it improves a child’s focus, memory, empathy and communication skills. We promote a love of reading from the moment all children join us and share a wide range of books with our children everyday. Children are encouraged to explore a range of print and books to enhance their exposure to the English language and the way stories are structured; before learning the early mechanics of reading through our daily phonics sessions in K2.
We follow the British Letters and Sounds curriculum for phonics which begins with teaching our younger children how to tune in to environmental sounds, followed by the sounds that letters make. This then moves onto teaching how to say, read and write individual sounds, and then reading and writing words.
Using the Talk4Writing programme, we look at story structure and language through the use of oral rehearsal, actions and story maps.
Having a strong sense and understanding of numbers is key to this part of the curriculum. Children learn to count objects, recognise numbers and compare the value of numbers so they can then apply these skills to later Maths. By providing a range of manipulatives, such as counters, the children can visualise numbers and develop a deeper understanding.
Children also learn about other mathematical concepts including shapes and their properties; measuring; sorting and positional language. Providing the children with real life contexts in Maths is very important as it allows them to see how maths is all around us. Cooking gives children the opportunity to experience how measuring is important; following the school timetable enables children to learn routines and order of events; and cross-curricular opportunities allow children to see how Maths is linked to all that we do.
We use the versatile resource Numicon and the British scheme ‘White Rose’ to support our teaching and learning, which both support the children’s concrete understanding of numbers, as well as developing their early fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills.
Understanding the World (UW)
The children learn about the physical environment and their community to help to gain a sense of self. Providing opportunities to visit different local places such as parks, libraries and museums and meet local people is so important as it provides the children with an increasing understanding of the world around them and the differences between us all. Being able to talk about their immediate family and the experiences they have, children are able to continue to develop their sense of belonging within the local and school communities. We are lucky to have access to a large range of reading books which opens the children’s eyes to the wider world, as well as further developing their vocabulary and understanding.
We provide children with further opportunities to learn about caring for the environment, including animals and plants. Experiences are provided for children to grow their own plants and learn how to nurture them. They learn to understand the changes which happen in the natural world such as seasonal weather.
Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)
This area of the EYFS curriculum stresses the importance of all children having access to the Arts, including art and music, allowing them to develop their artistic and cultural awareness. Through access to a wide range of media and materials, this also supports the development of children’s imagination and creativity. We expose the children to a variety of music and song; musical instruments; and art movements, styles and materials. By having this exposure, children can learn to communicate and express their thoughts and emotions through the Arts.
Role play is another area of EAD that gives children the chance to further develop vocabulary, social skills and create play situations built from their own experiences. Engaging in small world resources such as cars, trains and dolls houses, supports this important play.
Assessing the children informs everything we do in class. While children are learning and exploring, teachers are making formal and informal observations of the children; looking at what they are doing; how they interact with resources and materials; and what they are saying to the adults and their peers. These observations then inform teachers where the children are in their learning and what opportunities to plan for next. Teachers ask a range of open-ended questions to the children to inform them of what the children are doing and to clarify their understanding of things.
The Early Years curriculum framework gives children the opportunity to discover a love of learning as well as to be responsible and discover things for themselves. They may access a planned activity and explore it in a way that sparks their interest and curiosity further than a teacher had in mind. This makes the Early Years Foundation Stage such a great, versatile curriculum, where we are always making assessments.