Early Years – Our Aim
At St James C of E Primary and Nursery School, our approach recognises the best practice in Early Years Education, ensuring a safe, happy and secure environment for children to develop and grow. We aim to provide children with a wealth of experiences that ignite their natural curiosities. Through a variety of well-planned learning opportunities, both indoors and outdoors, we tailor our learning around the unique interests of the children within our class. We ensure rich outdoor opportunities for discovering our natural world. The open-ended learning environments enable children to explore independently and to discover their own learning challenges and overcome these within their stimulating surroundings. We believe that all children deserve a holistic approach to education, where the unique child is celebrated, their talents and potential are nurtured and all children are supported to become a valued member within our classroom community.
At St James C of E Primary and Nursery School, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework. The framework has four guiding principles:
- A 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 Environments - Children learn well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents/carers.
- Learning and Development - Children learn and develop in different ways and at different rates.
The EYFS has three prime areas and four specific areas of learning. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. The three prime areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, helping them form relationships and thrive. The three prime areas are fundamental and support development in all other areas.
The prime areas are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
The specific areas are:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Play is essential for children’s learning and development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. We respond to each child’s needs and interests, guiding their development through positive interactions and use of questioning to encourage critical thinking.
Continuous Provision is how we plan our learning environment. The purpose of continuous provision is "to continue the provision for learning in the absence of an adult". Our indoor and outdoor learning environments are planned to ensure challenge and progression of learning. Learning opportunities are carefully planned around the interests of the children so they can lead, take ownership and become immersed in their learning. We support the children to develop their skills progressively in exciting, fun and creative ways to achieve the highest standards possible. We also provide 'hooks' or 'scenarios' centred around their interests to support their ideas and to truly engage the children in their new learning experiences.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning
The characteristics of effective learning are a key element in the early year's foundation stage. They detail the ways in which children should be learning from their environment, experiences and activities. At St James C of E Primary and Nursery School, we believe all our children should be displaying the characteristics of effective learning every day.