The Foundation Stage children are the youngest children in our school. This comprises of our Nursery ‘Bee’ Class and three reception classes – Eeyore, Piglet and Tigger.
The children are immersed in creative, exciting activities within our enabling environment, which are planned to progress and enhance the learning of each individual child within a broad, balanced Early Years curriculum.
The Teachers plan using the Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum which was implemented in September 2012. Within this curriculum there is a strong emphasis on children learning through play, and at Mildmay, our Foundation Stage classrooms and outside area reflect this. The curriculum is currently split into different areas of development (rather than subject areas).
The Prime Areas are:
• Personal Social and Emotional Development
• Communication and Language
• Physical Development
The Specific Areas are:
• Understanding of the World
• Expressive Arts and Design
A large part of the EYFS curriculum is the development of the children’s personal, social and emotional skills, and through the school’s Life Skill ‘Heroes’ – Respect, Risk, Confidence, Resilience and Connect, the children learn the importance of thinking about their own feelings and those of others, sharing, taking turns and how to be confident, independent learners. Plenty of opportunities are given to practise these skills in nursery and reception and as they progress through the school.
In the Foundation Stage, we do not make a distinction between work and play. Children learn through planned & spontaneous play activities and staff will decide when child-initiated or adult-led activities would provide the most effective learning opportunities. Our aim is to plan and teach in practical ways, so you will not see children sitting completing worksheets. For example, instead of filling out a worksheet on subtraction, the children may enjoy subtracting during a topic on Fire-fighters by using water pistols and plastic bottles (a much more fun and exciting way of teaching!)
Members of the Foundation Stage Team work alongside the children’s play and ideas to move thinking and learning to the next level through questions, challenge and role modelling. We also come together at least twice a day for class based or group learning which focuses on key skills and knowledge including the teaching of Phonics for Reading and Writing and Mathematical Skills.
We observe and record key moments of the children’s development and share these with parents via an online Learning Journey called ‘Tapestry’. Mildmay uses Tapestry as one of several forms of assessment within the Foundation Stage and all staff working with the children has the opportunity to record these moments. One of the fantastic features of Tapestry is that parents can also add observations/wow moments from home to the child’s journey. This is a great way of supporting the school in assessing the ‘whole’ child to include information outside the school environment; it also provides Teachers with opportunities to celebrate any achievements children make at home, such as learning to ride their bike without stabilisers or swimming without arm bands.