Early Years Foundation Stage
At Widcombe Infant School we believe that every child should have the opportunity to develop as a happy, confident learner. We provide stimulating play opportunities which reflect the children’s interests and stage of learning and development. We believe in the value of an environment that enables children to be independent, and is well resourced with inviting opportunities that support children to follow their ideas and interests.
There are two classes in the Foundation Stage at Widcombe Infant School. Both classes have full time teachers and are supported by full time teaching assistants. The children have a two week part-time induction period when they start in September, before starting school full time. This allows for the children to become familiar with the school routines and activities in a smaller group. It also allows the teachers to carry out initial assessments in order to plan for the individual’s needs.
The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum has seven areas of learning which are divided into Prime and Specific areas. They are:
Prime areas of learning
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social, Emotional Development
Specific areas of learning
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Art and Design
The Prime areas of learning and development are universal to all children. Learning in the Specific areas is dependent on a secure foundation in the Prime areas, for example if a child is not able to hold a pencil correctly they will find writing in Literacy difficult. The Prime Areas are strengthened and applied through the 4 Specific Areas.
Specific areas of learning
Communication and Language covers the areas of speaking, listening, attention and understanding. These areas are about the child making sense of the world around them, being able to express ideas and communicate with others.
Physical Development covers both fine motor skills such as being able to hold a pencil to form letters correctly and gross motor skills such as throwing and catching a ball.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development develops the children’s social skills. We develop how children make relationships and relate to others, their confidence and self-awareness and how they are able to manage their own feelings and behaviour. In this area of learning they are also developing the skill of managing their own personal hygiene.
There are four specific areas of learning. Literacy covers Comprehension, Word Reading and Writing. Children are supported to develop and use a range of vocabulary linked to a selection of quality texts and their cross curricular learning. The children learn to decode and write simple sentences using their phonic knowledge.
In Mathematics children learn to count, as well as developing a deep understanding of numbers and the relationships between them. The children are provided with frequent and varied opportunities to explore Maths through a plethora of practical activities. The children also develop spatial reasoning skills by investigating symmetry, building models and manipulating shapes and puzzles.
Understanding the World covers the areas of Past and Present; People, Culture and Communities and The Natural World. The children learn about events that have happened in the past, about different cultures and about the world around them.
Expressive Arts and Design allows children to express themselves through art, music, drama and dance. They experiment with colour and design, representing their own ideas.
During the school day the children learn through a mixture of short teacher directed sessions, adult initiated activities and child initiated learning through play sessions. Teachers and Teaching Assistants work with the children and make observations on them which are recorded in their individual learning diaries. All the children in the Foundation Stage follow a theme based approach. The themes covered are:
Term 1 - This Is Me
Term 2 - People Who Help Us
Term 3 – Transport Around the World
Term 4 - Animals
Term 5 - Minibeasts
Term 6 - Water
We have two outdoor learning environments leading off from the classrooms. The inner courtyard has planters for growing seeds and plants, a large sand tray and space for water and messy play. The covered patio has a wet pour safe play surface, a trim trail for physical play, a wonderful playhouse and a shed containing building resources. Both classrooms are very well resourced. There is a joint lobby area where we have indoor role play activities, investigation areas and our cloakroom areas. There is lots of space where teachers can work with both individuals and groups. We have many parent helpers in school, and we believe in engaging with parents and carers on their child’s learning journey.