At DSB we believe that every child deserves the best start in life and the support to reach their full potential. Children develop quickly in the early years, and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their life. A secure, safe and happy childhood is extremely important. Good parenting and exceptional quality learning during the early years provide the strong foundation that a child needs to make the most of his/her abilities and talents as they grow.
The Early Years Department provides a warm and friendly introduction to school life. The curriculum, as set forth by the British Association for Early Childhood Education, is based on the Foundation Stages (FS), which recognizes the importance of nurturing positive relationships and tailoring the environment to meet the needs and interests of each unique child.
Our early year’s foundation programme is offered in two stages:
- Foundation Stage 1 (FS 1) for children ages 3-4
- Foundation Stage 2 (FS 2) for children ages 4-5
The four guiding principles that shape practice in our early years classes are as follows:
- Every child is unique and is constantly learning to 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.
- Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates
There are 3 Prime Areas that are essential to a child’s healthy development and future learning. These include:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
In addition to these prime areas, children also develop skills in 4 Specific Areas:
- Understanding The World
Expressive Arts and Design
Personal, Social and Emotional – We promote an inclusive ethos and provide opportunities for each child to become a valued member of the group and the community so that a strong self image and a healthy sense of self esteem is developed. We demonstrate positive attitudes and dispositions towards the child’s learning, generating an enthusiasm for knowledge and learning and creating confidence in their ability to be successful learners. Social skills are also built by providing opportunities for children to learn how to co-operate and work harmoniously alongside each other, and to listen to each other.
Communication and Language - Through activities like storytelling, role play, puppet shows etc. children develop attention skills and persistence, in particular, the capacity to concentrate on their own play or on group tasks. Communication and language skills are provided by giving opportunities to all children to talk and communicate in a wide range of situations. Children also learn to respond to adults and to each other, and to practice and extend their range of vocabulary and communication skills by listening carefully.
Physical Development – We provide opportunities for all children to develop and practice their fine and gross motor skills and improve their understanding of how their bodies work and what they need to do to stay healthy and safe.
Literacy - Phonics, Reading and Writing - In FS we use the Read Write Inc program for the teaching of Phonics, which then leads to the reading scheme, Oxford Reading Tree. The children have a daily phonics session, which is then followed by a range of activities to practice cursive letter formation, reading and word building and writing.
Mathematics - Mathematics is split into two areas Numbers and Shapes, Space and Measure. Within the Foundation Stages and into Year 1 Maths we teach through practical and planned play activities. Children are given experiences to discuss their learning of mathematics and are introduced to the appropriate vocabulary.
Understanding of the World - We provide opportunities for all children to solve problems, make decisions, experiment, predict, plan and question in a variety of contexts, learn about technology and explore and find out about their environment, people and places that have significance in their lives.
Expressive Arts and Design – We provide opportunities for all children to explore and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings, through a variety of art, design and technology, music, movement, dance and imaginative and role playing activities.
The information that you find on our website is simply a general overview of the FS programme; if you would like further information, please feel free to contact us directly. We provide a warm and welcoming environment and always encourage our parents to become involved.
The FS Curriculum
Teaching and learning takes place through a balance of play based, child initiated and adult led activities. Foundation Stage (FS) framework is divided into 7 areas of learning, where they learn skills, acquire knowledge, demonstrate understanding and of course have lots of fun!
A key part of the FS statutory curriculum, along with the 7 areas of learning, is the Characteristics of Effective Learning. The Characteristics focus on how children learn rather than what they learn. This distinction is important, as it highlights the process of learning for young children.
The characteristics are interconnected but each has distinct features.
Characteristics of Effective Learning:
- Playing and exploring – engagement
- Finding out and exploring
- Playing with what they know
- Being willing to ‘have a go’
- Active learning – motivation
- Being involved and concentrating
- Keeping trying
- Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
- Creating and thinking critically – thinking
- having their own ideas
- Making links
- Choosing ways to do things