At Kea School we believe that every child deserves the best possible start in life in order to fulfill their potential. We recognise that a child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right, and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
Four guiding principles shape practice in early years settings. These are:
- Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can 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 and/or carers
- children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates
Learning and Development
There are seven areas of learning and development in the EYFS which are of equal importance and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
Development in these 3 areas underpins learning in the four specific areas.
Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be 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.
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measure.
Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive arts and design involves enabling 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.
Assessment and Learning Journeys
Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process. It involves practitioners observing children to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles, and to then shape learning experiences for each child reflecting those observations.
At Kea School we record the children's assessments using 'Tapestry' - an E-format learning journal. Photographs and written observations are used to build a picture of each individual child's learning. Tapestry can be accessed by parents and we encourage parents to contribute to the journal by adding photos and/or written observations of learning that happens at home.
Partnership with parents, carers and our wider community
At Kea School we recognise that close working between early years practitioners and parents is vital to ensure that children achieve their full potential and for the identification of children’s learning needs. Parents/ guardians and families are central to a child’s well being and staff support this important relationship by sharing information and offering support for extending learning in the home. This is achieved by regular conversations with the parents in the mornings or after school, the use of Tapestry to share learning experiences both in school and at home. We also offer regular 'Stay and Learn Together' sessions which enables parents and carers to work with their child at school to complete an activity and to observe how learning takes place within our classroom and outdoor area.
We welcome guests and visitors into our classroom to provide knowledge of a particular topic and to enhance our learning.