EYFS Principles

The four Themes for the EYFS express Overarching Principles underpinning effective practice in the care, development and learning of young children.

  • 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, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers
  • children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.

These are evident in all we are & do at Little Explorers.

A Unique Child – every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured

We, as a setting, provide a warm homely environment, ensuring a flexible routine to meet each childs individual needs. We ensure that all children can access and have the opportunity to engage in the activities and experiences we offer through varying resources and adult support. We offer children a safe and yet challenging environment both indoors and outdoors to promote all childrens learning and development in a positive way.

We provide an environment in which all children are supported to reach their full potential. The setting actively welcomes both children and adults who have special needs and / or disabilities. The physical environment enables adults or children who are wheelchair users or have restricted mobility to access and attend the setting through ramp access, wide doorways, access to a disabled toilet and appropriate layout of both rooms. Our setting uses the key person approach and ensures all children have a primary key person and a secondary key person. This enables practitioners to develop relationships with both the child and parents/carers, to work in partnership to encourage and support all aspects of a child’s development. This therefore ensures that each child’s individual needs are met and they can access the experiences and resources offered both indoors and outdoors through adult support or adapting the environment. As part of the settings policy to make sure that its provision meets the needs of each individual child, we take account of any special needs which a child may have. The setting works to the requirements of the 1993 Education Act and The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (2012). The settings Special Educational Needs Co-coordinators are Becky Lamacq and Tracy Haggerty.

Positive Relationships – children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. 

Both rooms use the key person approach where each child has a named practitioner as their primary key person and secondary key person to support the child if the primary key person is away. This enables practitioners to develop positive relationships with the child and their parents/carers to ensure that childrens individual needs are met and their interests are provided for. A key person meets the needs of each child in their care and responds sensitively to their feelings, ideas and behavior. It also supports the baby or child to become familiar with and settle into the setting, to feel confident and safe within it and encourages smooth transition between rooms.

Enabling Environments – children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.

In the Birth to Three room all the resources and equipment are easily accessible to enable the children to chose their own play opportunities encouraging independence, confidence and self-esteem and non mobile babies are offered a selection of resources to chose from based on their observed interests/preferences. As a setting we value the importance of outside play and are very fortunate to have our own garden which is separate from the main outside play area. We spend time in the garden every day (extreme weather permitting), and children have the opportunity to play with a variety of outdoors resources; slides, see-saws, trikes, cars, digging corner, chalkboard and chalks, and sand and water play. We also often carry out our activities in the outdoor environment for example welly boot painting and flying our home made kites.

The Foundation Stage room prides itself on working closely to EYFS guidance regarding enabling environments. The practitioners continually reflect upon the space and resources available both indoors and outdoors to promote a positive learning environment for the unique individuals at Little Explorers. The resources are readily accessible to the children, one example of how this is promoted is through the use of photographs and pictures. The room itself incorporates the areas required such ‘The Book Corner, The Music Area, Construction Area, The Writing Table, ICT, Small World, The Home Corner, Role Play, Problem Solving Reasoning and Numeracy, Art and Creative,’ to name but a few. The room is tailored daily to suit children’s current observed interests with practitioners offering a balance of activities and complete a daily sheet to inform parents and carers of these indoor and outdoor activities. Free flow access to the outside area is promoted, to allow children the choice of playing indoors, outdoors, or both. The Foundation Stage room is fortunate enough to have the use of an outdoor space which is often shared with the school’s Reception Class.  Children’s positive behaviour is reinforced through praise from practitioners, and an example is the use of a friendship tree. A leaf is added when an act of kindness, caring, helpfulness or effort is recognised. All of this adds to the development and encouragement of the children’s self esteem and wellbeing. 

Learning and Development – children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. 

All children are different and to reflect this age ranges have been overlapped in the EYFS to create broad developmental phases. This emphasis’s that each childs progress is individual to them and that different children develop at different rates.

Birth to 11 months

During this period, young childrens physical development is very rapid and they gain increasing control of their muscles. They also develop skills in moving their hands, feet, limbs and head, quickly becoming mobile and able to handle and manipulate objects. They are learning from the moment of birth. Even before their first words they find out a lot about language by hearing people talking, and are especially interested when it involves themselves and their daily lives. Sensitive care giving, which responds to childrens growing understanding and emotional needs, helps to build secure attachments to special people such as parents, family members or carers. Regular, though flexible, routines help young children to gain a sense of order in the world and to anticipate events. A wide variety of experience, which involves all the senses, encourages learning and an interest in the environment.

8 20 months

As children become mobile new opportunities for exploration and exercise open up. A safe and interesting environment, with age-appropriate resources, helps children to develop curiosity, coordination and physical abilities. This is a time when children can start to learn the beginnings of self-control and how to relate to other people. In this period children can be encouraged to develop their social and mental skills by people to whom they have a positive attachment. Building on their communication skills, children now begin to develop a sense of self and are more able to express their needs and feelings. Alongside non-verbal communication children learn a few simple words for everyday things and people. With encouragement and plenty of interaction with carers, childrens communication skills grow and their vocabulary expands very rapidly during this period.

16 26 months

Children in this phase are usually full of energy and need careful support to use it well. Growing physical strengths and skills mean that children need active times for exercise, and quiet times for calmer activities. Playing with other children is an important new area for learning. This helps children to better understand other peoples thoughts and feelings, and to learn how to cooperate with others. Exploration and simple self-help builds a sense of self-confidence. Children are also learning about boundaries and how to handle frustration. Play with toys that come apart and fit together encourages problem solving and simple planning. Pretend play helps children to learn about a range of possibilities. Adults are an important source of security and comfort.

22 36 months

Childrens fine motor skills continue to develop and they enjoy making marks, using a variety of materials, looking at picture books and listening to stories, important steps in literacy. Self-help and independence soon emerge if adults support and encourage children in areas such as eating, dressing and toileting. Praise for new achievements helps to build their self-esteem. In this phase, childrens language is developing rapidly and many are beginning to put sentences together. Joining in conversations with children is an important way for children to learn new things and to begin to think about past, present and future. Developing physical skills mean that children can now usually walk, climb and run, and join in active play with other children. This is an important time for learning about dangers and safe limits.

30 50 months

An increased interest in joint play such as make-believe, construction and games helps children to learn the important social skills of sharing and cooperating. Children also learn more about helping adults in everyday activities and finding a balance between independence and complying with the wishes of others. Children still need the comfort and security of special people. Close, warm relationships with carers form the basis for much learning, such as encouraging children to make healthy choices in food and exercise. At this stage children are becoming more aware of their place in a community. Literacy and numeracy can develop rapidly with the support of a wide range of interesting materials and activities. Children’s language is now much more complex, as many become adept at using longer sentences. Conversations with adults become a more important source of information, guidance and reassurance.

40 60+ months

During this period children are now building a stronger sense of their own identity and their place in a wider world. Children are learning to recognise the importance of social rules and customs, to show understanding and tolerance of others, and to learn how to be more controlled in their own behaviour. Learning and playing in small groups helps to foster the development of social skills. Children now become better able to plan and undertake more challenging activities with a wider range of materials for making and doing. In this phase children learn effectively in shared

activities with more able peers and adults. Literacy and problem solving, reasoning and numeracy skills continue to develop. Childrens developing understanding of cause and effect is encouraged by the introduction of a wider variety of equipment, media and technologies.

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