THE EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE AT WINDMILL L.E.A.D. ACADEMY
At Windmill L.E.A.D Academy, we understand that the Early Years is the beginning of a very exciting journey for you and your little one. It can also be a very daunting time so we do all that we can to ensure a smooth and happy start.
“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.” (DfE, 2021)
Within our Early Years Foundation Stage, we have places for children in our Nursery, also known as Foundation 1, and within our two Reception classes, also known as Foundation 2.
To help settle you into our Nursery we:
- Begin with an initial meet and greet.
Come along to our Nursery where you can meet the experienced team; meet the friendly children who will become your child’s life-long friends; and have a play in our exciting and vibrant environment. This gives you the chance to ask as many questions that are needed and it gives your child the chance to settle in whilst you are close by.
- Allocate a mini session.
A start date and time will then be given to you. We begin with an hour slot to allow your child to settle in with a smooth transition. This will then increase to the full session as and when your child is ready.
In both our Nursery and Reception classes, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (September 2021). The four guiding principles that shape our practice in the Early Year’s setting are:
• Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
• Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
• Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
• Importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early year’s provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
We believe very strongly in these four principles at Windmill, and as such, we ensure they underpin all our planning of the teaching in our direct sessions as well as in our child-led free-flow time.
“Play underpins the EYFS. It also underpins learning and all aspects of children’s development. Through play, children develop language skills, their emotions and creativity, social and intellectual skills.” (Early Years Matters, 2022)
In both our direct teaching sessions and our child-led sessions, there are three areas that are “particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.” (DfE,2021)
The prime areas:
• Communication and language
• Physical development
• Personal, social and emotional development
We must also support children in the four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
The specific areas:
• Understanding the world
• Expressive arts and design
Daily teaching of Phonics, following the ‘Read, Write, Inc’ scheme is used, to ensure children reach the end of year Early Learning Goals as well as to foster and ignite the love of reading and writing. Daily maths sessions are also taught through our scheme of Number Sense.
To ensure the child-led sessions have purpose, the continuous provision is planned and resourced to the highest level. Each area of the curriculum is reflected in the indoor environment, as well as mirroring it in the outdoor environment. Children learn to be independent by seeking out the resources they need and taking their learning to where their interests lie. Staff observe and will often play alongside, asking thought provoking questions to extend their learning further. Children learn to consolidate their learning from the direct teaching sessions whilst playing and choosing, which helps and supports in building the foundation layer which can then be built upon year by year.
Please click here to look at our curriculum overview.
For any further information please contact Holly Elliott, the Foundation Stage Leader on 0115 9150195.