The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the statutory framework that sets the standards that all Early Years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children are ready for school and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.
Link to parents guides to the EYFS:
The Early Bird Curriculum
Children start to learn about the world around them from the moment they are born. Parents are a child’s primary educator and their importance cannot be over-emphasised. However, we recognise that parenthood as well as being the most important and rewarding jobs we can do, can also be the most frustrating and challenging. We believe in working together, key worker and parent, to share experiences, interests, learning opportunities and ideas. From this joined up approach we use the children’s interests, stages of development and past experiences to shape our curriculum that will continually change to reflect the children attending the setting.
We have been influenced by, and take inspiration from, many approaches and theorists including Piaget, Reggio, Steiner and Montessori. Modern day practices from The Curiosity Approach, Alice Sharpe, Laura Henry and Planning in the Moment have also shaped how we work, develop our curriculum and evolve as a setting.
Learning through play is at the heart of the setting. The environment is set up to entice the children to lead their own play and have time to develop their own ideas. These opportunities are key in children developing the characteristics of effective learning:
Playing and exploring
Finding out and exploring
Playing with what they know,
Being willing to have a go
Being involved and concentrating
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
Creating thinking critically
Having their own ideas
Choosing ways to do things
Teaching and Key Person at Early Bird’s
At the Early Bird Pre-School CIC we follow the Ofsted approach to teaching as defined in the Early Years Inspection Handbook (September 2019) when they say:
“Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term that covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language; showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas; encouraging, questioning, recalling; providing a narrative for what they are doing; facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment adults provide and the attention given to the physical environment, as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do, as well as taking account of their interests and dispositions to learn (characteristics of effective learning), and how practitioners use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress. “
In our setting we maintain and are often over the ratio of adults to children in the setting that is set through the Welfare Requirements. We also encourage student placements, and may request volunteer parent helpers where possible to allow us to enhance our already rich curriculum with outings and walks in the community. Each child has a named key person and they are the parent’s main contact in the setting. They will also be the person you meet prior to your child starting at the setting and will be responsible for settling your child in and providing communication and feedback to you during your child’s time with us.
Before your child joins us we offer an optional home visit. This is a valuable opportunity for the child and their family to get to know their key person in an environment that is secure and familiar to the child. The key person will begin to form a relationship with the child through engaging with them, if the child is comfortable to do so. We bring items from the setting to show the child and offer to read them a story.
This visit is completed shortly before the child joins us and we use the home visit to talk to and build a relationship with the family as a whole. We will also be able to answer any questions the family may have. Research has shown that children settle more quickly into pre-school if they have had the benefit of a home visit and we have received excellent feedback from families regarding these.
Recording the Children’s Learning Journal
The setting keeps a learning journal for each child. Your key person will be responsible for working with you to share the child’s learning through their time with us. This will be a celebration of the child’s developmental journey and will have photographs, drawings and observations as well as WOW! Moments.
Your child’s key person will work with you to keep this record. To do this you and she/he will collect information about your child’s needs, activities, interests, experiences and achievements at home. This information will enable the key person to identify your child’s stage of development and ensure that little steps of progress are being made. This allows us to work together to decide on how to support your child to move on to the next stage. The children also love looking through these.
We make periodic assessment summaries of children’s achievement based on our ongoing development records. These form part of the children’s learning journal. We undertake these assessment summaries at regular intervals as well as at times of transition, such as when a child leaves to go to school.
If your child joins us at age 2 and has not yet received a 2 year developmental check, this will be completed as soon as your child has settled into the setting.
Working together for your children
You will be invited on a termly basis to meet with your key person to discuss briefly your child’s development. This is usually completed at the beginning or end of a session. If you would like to arrange a longer meeting then this is welcomed and can be arranged but must be planned ahead to allow for the key person to be out of the session.