Play and the Early Years Foundation Stage
Play underpins everything we do at Beehive. Children use play to develop their physical, language, social and thinking skills. Research has shown that play-based learning is hugely important for young children’s development and preparing them for school and for life.
Albert Einsten said “Play is the highest form of research” and at Beehive we believe that child-focused, meaningful, interesting, challenging play helps us to create the Einsteins of the future!
We use the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework which is the very first part of the National Curriculum. The EYFS guides us in ensuring that children are developing appropriately. We make observations of children, take photographs and videos, make assessments and track children’s learning and development against the EYFS.
The EYFS has seven areas of learning, divided into Prime and Specific Areas. The three Prime Areas are
· Personal, social and emotional development which involves helping children develop a positive sense of themselves and others, learn social skills, to be aware of and manage feelings, to develop self-confidence and to begin to understand rules and boundaries
· Communication and Language development involving providing children with an environment rich in language through stories, songs and rhymes and adults who listen and talk to children at every opportunity. Children learn to express themselves, to take turns in conversation and to listen in a range of situations.
We focus on these Prime Areas with all children, but have a particular emphasis for children under three years. Making progress in the Prime Areas lays a good foundation for children developing skills in the Specific Areas which are
· Literacy. We aim to foster a love of books in all children, giving them daily opportunities to share stories, songs and rhymes. When children are ready, we support them in making the link between letters and sounds and develop early reading skills
· Mathematics. We give children hands on, practical experience of numbers, counting, shapes, space and measure. This could be through singing, counting games, cooking or pretend play.
· Understanding the World. Children find out about their own community and the wider world including people, places, technology and the natural environment
· Expressive Arts and Design. Children develop their creativity through art and craft, messy play, music, singing and imaginative play as well as developing the confidence to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings.
While it is important that children develop the skills and knowledge that they need before they start school, we firmly believe that children learn best through play. Our staff are skilled at supporting children’s play and helping children learn and develop to their full potential by providing enjoyable, interesting and stimulating activities. We always bear in mind that children at nursery are very young and have only just begun their journey of learning and discovery. With this in mind, we provide all children with play opportunities in a safe environment with the support of familiar adults.