What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?
Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which is how the Government and early years professionals describe the time in your child’s life between birth and age 5.
This is a very important stage as it helps your child get ready for school as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. From when your child is born up until the age of 5, their early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs.
How my child will be learning?
The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will be learning to support their healthy development. Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first.
- Communication and language;
- Physical development; and
- Personal, social and emotional development.
These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning.
As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas.
- Understanding the world; and
- Expressive arts and design.
These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child's unique needs and interests.
Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. Our classes room has a numbers of areas set up both inside and out including maths, mark making, role play, water, sand, art, reading and construction to name a few.
How can you help at home?
All the fun activities that you do with your child at home are important in supporting their learning and development, and have a really long lasting effect on your child’s learning as they progress through school.
Sing and tell nursery rhymes
Talk about the numbers, colours, words and letters you see when you are out and about
Cook / bake together
Allow your child to cut out and stick pictures from magazines
Plant seeds or bulbs in a pot or garden patch
Explore the park at a different time of the year – go off the beaten track
Share a book
Talk to your child at every opportunity – e.g. what you are doing that day
When your child is 5 At the end of the EYFS – in the summer term of the reception year in school – teachers complete an assessment which is known as the EYFS Profile. This assessment is carried out by the reception teacher and is based on what they, and other staff caring for your child, have observed over a period of time.
Another important part of the EYFS Profile is your knowledge about your child’s learning and development, so do let your child’s class teacher know about what your child does with you: such as how confident your child is in writing their name, reading and talking about a favourite book, speaking to people your child is not so familiar with or their understanding of numbers. All of the information collected is used to judge how your child is doing in the 7 areas of learning and development.
Learning to Read!
As soon as babies start to focus on patterns they are being to take their first steps into reading. Children learn to read by picking up patterns and shapes and start to use theses to recognise different letters. Oral storytelling and singing simple songs and rhymes are crucial to helping children learn to read.
Using Phonics to Read
Children begin to learn each letter sound during phonics. Some children need phonics all the way through till the end of Key stage 2. Once children know the sounds they can quickly use them to read and write.
We start by blending and segmenting each word whilst we read. Eg C-A-T, D-O-G. We get the children to point to each individual sound and the run their finger along the whole word when blending back together.
Once children have good reading skills, they can begin to read to learn. Reading to learn means they are understanding the text and can then apply it to what they are thinking to add to their writing. Children need to be able to explain what has happened in the text not just simply read the words.
What is phonics?
In school your child will take part in a phonics session every day. Phonics is used to help children become prolific readers and writers.
In school we follow Ruth Miskin’s Read Write inc phonics programme. The aim is for children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. To form each letter correctly and spell words correctly through decoding.
Each session focuses on three parts :-
Spoken words are formed by articulating a group of ‘speech sounds’. Each speech sound has its own mouth movement. In the words c-a-t, s-t-ay and f-l-igh-t, there are four mouth movements. The English language has around 44 speech sounds, of which all but four or five are pronounced consistently across all accents.
The principle of the alphabetic writing system is to visually codify speech. The writing system for European languages continues to be based on the Roman alphabet, which has 26 letters. English, however, has 44 speech sounds, meaning there is an insufficient letters for each sounds, so groups of letters have been combined to write the extra 18. To make it even harder, each sound can be written in more than one way! For example:
- The speech sound ‘f’ is spelt f, ff and ph. (fast, huff, phonics)
- The speech sound ‘ay’ is spelt ay, ai, a-e, aigh, eigh, eig and ei
This is called a complex alphabetic code, and English is the most complicated code in the world!
When we read, each word has a letter, or letter group (grapheme) that triggers a speech sound. The speech sounds are then blended into a spoken word; also known as decoding. The more we decode, the quicker we begin to recognise words and read more fluently. Once children can read fluently, their energy is freed for comprehension.
Reading just doesn’t happen at school
- Ask your child to tell you about their day. If you get chance write it down and read it back to your child.
- Encourage children to talk about the pictures in a book.
- Encourage children to look for letters where ever they are. Signs on a street, in the shops, on the T.V.
- Read together every night before bed.
- When reading a story check your child’s understanding by asking them questions about the book.
- Remember reading isn’t just in books.
When your child is ready they will start to bring home a reading book from school. Currently books need to be brought into school on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday to be changed after being read together at home. Please make a comment in your child’s reading record every time you read together. Each time your child reads they may colour a small square on their READ bookmark.