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Early Years

At St Andrew’s we are proud of our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) provision.  We currently run a 26 place teacher led Nursery class and a 30 place teacher led Reception class.  Additional support staff include a qualified Nursery Nurse and teaching assistants.

We believe in supporting and nurturing every child’s learning and development in order that they make rapid and sustained progress.  Our exciting and challenging play-based curriculum is linked to the children’s interests. Activities are planned carefully to inspire and deepen understanding. Learning takes place in our spacious and stimulating setting both indoors and outdoors, in all weathers. It can take place in small or larger groups, sometimes guided by the teacher and is often independent or ‘Child Initiated’ (CIL).

The Early Years Curriculum consists of three Prime and four Specific Areas of Learning. All seven Areas of Learning and development are important and inter-connected and are therefore taught with a cross curricular approach.

Prime Areas of Learning

These are fundamental and underpin successful development across all other areas of learning.

Communication and Language Development Involves giving children opportunities to speak and listen in a range of situations and to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves.
Physical Development Involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive, and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Children are also helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development Involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Specific Areas of Learning

Literacy Development Involves supporting children to read and write, both through listening to others reading, and being encouraged to begin to read and write themselves. Children have access to a wide range of reading materials – for example books, poems, and other materials to ignite their interest.
Mathematics development Involves providing children with opportunities to practise and improve their skills in counting, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
Understanding of the World Involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world through opportunities to explore, investigate and observe, finding out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive arts and design Involves supporting children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role play, and design and technology.

Characteristics of effective learning

These describe the different ways children learn rather than what they learn.

The three Characteristics of Effective Learning comprise

  • playing and exploring,
  • active learning and
  • creating and thinking critically.

They begin at birth and are lifelong characteristics which are critical for building children’s capacity for future learning. These characteristics need to be understood by practitioners working across all seven Areas of Learning.

It is important that the Characteristics of Learning underpin the prime and specific  curriculum areas and are specifically planned for. Skills such as independence, curiosity, resilience, collaboration, and reflection are critical for success as a 21st century learner.