Early Years Foundation Stage
Early Years Foundation Stage
At The Avenue School we recognise that every child is unique, and our Early Years practitioners develop responsive learning environments which suit the learning styles and interests of each individual child. Early intervention and strong collaboration between a number of parties (including: class teams, families, previous Early Years settings and agencies, and our own Multi-Agency Support Team) ensures that all children, regardless of their SEND, have the best start to school life. By working collaboratively, staff enable our children to thrive and overcome their barriers to learning.
Our Early Years setting aims to:
- Give each child a happy, positive and enjoyable start to school life
- Consistently provide high-quality care, ensuring children know they are loved and well cared for
- Build upon prior learning by working in partnership with parents, carers, previous settings, and a wide range of professionals
- In line with the ‘Preparing for Adulthood from the Earliest Years’ agenda; help each child to establish solid foundations for future learning and development, particularly with regards to functional communication, independence, social interaction, play and self-care
- Provide each child with a wide range of new and exciting experiences, and give them opportunities to consolidate existing skills and to learn new ones
- Support each child to develop socially, physically, intellectually, and emotionally through high expectations, praise and positivity
- Celebrate each child’s personal successes and achievements together with their families
- Provide quality and consistency so that every child makes good progress
- Regularly assess and review the needs and interests of each individual child
- Promote equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported.
We believe that honouring the 4 outcomes of the EHCP (Communication and Interaction; Cognition and Learning; Social, Emotional and Mental Health; Sensory and Physical Needs) helps us to ensure that we provide the above. We are guided in the delivery of this by the four principles which underpin EYFS guidance. These are:
1. A Unique Child: We recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured. We recognise that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates. This is particularly important at The Avenue, where we value and celebrate the small steps of achievement of all children.
2. Positive Relationships: We recognise that children learn to connect to the world and grow in strength and independence from secure relationships. We aim to develop caring, respectful, and professional relationships with all children and their families. Children’s attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by feedback from others. We use praise and encouragement, consistent reinforcement, graded prompting, and celebration/rewards to encourage positive attitudes to learning, as well as consistent strategies to set and communicate clear boundaries and keep children safe.
3. Enabling Environments: We recognise that the environment plays a key role in scaffolding and extending a child’s development. Through careful observation, we assess each child’s interests, stages of development, and learning needs. This information is used to create a stimulating and engaging environment which reflects children’s cultures and experiences. A range of indoor and outdoor play resources and opportunities are provided. Our EYFS classroom is set up to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. Areas are clearly defined and resources are labelled, so that children learn to locate equipment and resources as independently as possible. We believe in a strong Home-School partnership, which begins before the child starts school and continues throughout the year.
4. Learning and Development: All of the children in our EYFS class need a structured approach to learning, a balance between adult-led, play-focused activities and opportunities to generalise learning. We aim to ensure that all of our activities, including adult-led focused learning, are delivered in a playful, engaging and meaningful way, whilst still challenging and extending individuals.
Our EYFS class follows the guidance, as outlined in the new Statutory Framework and use this to compliment the Outcomes of each child’s EHCP.
The framework identifies seven areas of learning and development, all of which are important and interconnected. Three areas (Prime Areas) are particularly important, when it comes to building a child’s capacity to learn, form relationships, and thrive. The Prime Areas are particularly important for the pupils at The Avenue. These are:
As children grow and develop, four ‘Specific Areas’ are used to strengthen and apply learning in the Prime Areas. These are:
These prime and specific areas in EYFS are strongly interconnected with the 4 EHCP Outcome areas.
Staff working in our EYFS class support learning with these seven areas in mind, and consider each child’s unique needs, interests, and stage of development when planning learning activities.
Teaching and learning is delivered in a cross-curricular way, i.e. planned activities often cover more than one area of learning. It is well researched, children in their early years learn by playing and exploring, being active and through creating and thinking critically. However, our children need support in developing the early stages of these skills. Often, play skills need to be explicitly taught 1:1, with an adult, before a child can access opportunities to initiate their own learning through play.
Due to the nature of our setting, a range of specialist pedagogy is used to support receptive (understanding) and expressive communication and attention. Approaches such as Intensive Interaction, Attention Autism, and the Verbal Behaviour teaching methodology are used throughout the school. Visual and auditory cues (such as symbols, Makaton signs and universal gestures) are also used to aid smooth transitions between activities and to promote the understanding of instructions and routines. At The Avenue, teachers work closely with members of the Multi-Agency Support Team (MAST) (comprising of Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and autism and behaviour specialists) to ensure that individual pupils’ PIP (Personal Intervention Plan) targets are fully integrated. Each pupil has, or is working towards, a personalised and functional mode of communication; this may be vocal communication or augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) which includes communication boards/books, Makaton Sign and high tech modes such as a voice output communication aid (VOCA).
At The Avenue School we are fortunate to have outside areas where our pupils can continue their learning. Pupils are encouraged to explore planned structured activities that support all areas of the EYFS curriculum. The outside space provides pupils with a safe and motivating environment, that not only enhances academic achievement but also promotes a healthy lifestyle.
To book an appointment to visit or discuss our provision, please email the school office: firstname.lastname@example.org