EYFS page

The Early Years Curriculum

Help At Home with Phonics

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It is widely recognised the vital role that parents have in supporting their children’s learning and development. Parents need to know what to expect in relation to their child’s development through the different age bands of the EYFS.

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What to Expect, When?

What to expect, when? is a simple guide which takes parents through the expectations of each age band in the EYFS and how they can support their children’s learning and development.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum is made up of three Prime areas within the curriculum, which are then broken down within seven areas of learning.

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development
  • Communication and Language

These prime areas are not taught exclusively but will underpin each and every activity and learning experience your child will have. The specific areas of learning are Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the world and Exploring Media and Materials. The children will be taught these areas of the curriculum through carefully cross curricular planned teacher and self-led learning activities. These prime areas will have begun the child’s learning journey at pre-school and will continue to develop and progress further as the child moves through the Foundation Stage.

Foundation Stage

The children are very much part of the Foundation team and will work with all staff and children throughout the school week. Children are encouraged to be independent, critical thinkers and keen explorers from a young age in order to promote a desire to learn through self-discovery and adult led learning experiences. The children are continuously assessed against the Early Learning Goals through the year gathered via observation, discussion, parent and child voice and children’s work. This is very much a school, child, home partnership and you will be actively encouraged to be a part of your Child’s learning experiences.

Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow the synthetic phonics approach, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. It is an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words. Children in Reception also use ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions to go with the sounds.

We use a combination of reading schemes which include Oxford Reading Tree and Floppy’s Phonics. These give a variety of fiction and non–fiction books to develop children’s reading range. Children learn to read at different rates. Once they finish the reading scheme, we encourage them to become ‘free readers’ and choose their own books.

Our daily phonics sessions in Reception are fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play.

Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. There are no big leaps in learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’ – you can’t really break the sounds down for such words so it’s better to just ‘recognise’ them.

Phase one will have begun in nursery. This phase paves the way for the systematic learning of phonics. During this phase especially, we plan activities that will help children to listen attentively to sounds around them, such as the sounds of their toys and to sounds in spoken language. We teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs and read good books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know – their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books. The children learn to identify rhyme and alliteration.

Preparation for Foundation Stage

To be ready for foundation the most important and hardest thing you can do is not to compare your child to other children. Each and every child is unique and will develop at his or her own rate. The Foundation Stage curriculum is very much about the holistic view of the children and will cover both social and academic milestones. It is not important that your child comes to school being able to read or write. What we would ask is for you to talk to your child about starting school and allow it be a positive and exciting experience – but do allow your child to express their fears. To be able to go to the toilet unaided and be able to wash their hands. To be able to put on their coat and shoes independently. To be encouraged to say please and thank you at appropriate times. To allow your child to mix with other children before starting school. To be able to tell us is they are thirsty/hungry or need the toilet. These simple life skills will make the transition into school much easier for your child.