The Early Years Curriculum is based upon four principles:

  • A Unique Child - Developing resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured individuals.
  • Positive Relationships - Supporting the children and becoming strong and independent.
  • Enabling Environments - Where opportunities and experiences respond to the individual needs of the child by developing a strong partnership between practitioners, parents, and the child.
  • Learning and Developing - An acknowledgment that children learn in different ways and at different rates.

Characteristics Of Effective Learning

Planning for the learning landscape (inside and outside), interest points, and next steps will reflect on the different ways that children learn and echo these in their practice. At Southwold School, we support children in using the three characteristics of effective learning. These are:

  • Playing and Exploring- Children investigate and experience things and have a go.
  • Active Learning- Children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties and enjoy achievements.
  • Creating and thinking critically- Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

Personal, Social, And Emotional Development (Prime Area)

Self-Regulation, Managing Self, Building Relationships

This prime area focuses on children learning how to work, play, co-operate with others, and function in a group beyond the family. It covers important aspects of personal, social, moral, and spiritual development, including the development of personal values, self-regulation, and an understanding of self and others.

In the early years, children will begin to show an understanding of their own feelings and those of others and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly. They will start to work and play cooperatively and take turns with others. During their time with us, children will become more confident to try new activities and they will begin to show independence, resilience, and perseverance when faced with different challenges. When ready, children will start to manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs and will begin to understand the importance of healthy food choices.

Physical Development (Gross Motor and Fine Motor Skills)

This prime area focuses on children developing physical control, mobility, awareness of space, and manipulative skills in indoor and outdoor learning environments. They include negotiating space and obstacles carefully, demonstrating strength, balance, and developing coordination when playing and using varied-sized tools, leading to the use of scissors, paintbrushes, and cutlery. Children start to make marks using different materials on small and large scales and work towards establishing their tripod grip.

Communication and Language (Listening, Attention and Understanding, Speaking)

This prime area of the curriculum covers important aspects of language development and provides the foundation for Literacy. The learning intentions focus on children’s developing competence in speaking and listening. At Southwold, we use our learning environment to engage and interact with the children, modelling and inspiring the use of vocabulary through play. ‘Wellcomm’ small group sessions also support children in Nursery and Reception and enable their confidence to grow, their sentence structure to develop, and their use of language to flourish. Other areas of learning also make a vital contribution to the successful development of Literacy, such as creativity, exploration, investigation, small world, and role-play.

In small groups, children listen attentively and talk about their experiences. They use a growing vocabulary with increasing fluency to express thought and convey meaning to the listener. They listen and respond to stories, songs, nursery rhymes, and poems. They make up their own stories, songs, and rhymes through ‘Tales Toolkit’ sessions, role play, and small world.

Understanding The World (Past And Present, People, Culture And Communities, The Natural World)

This specific area focuses on children’s developing knowledge and understanding of their own environment and the environment of others. It provides a foundation for historical, scientific, and technological learning and exploration. Children are encouraged to talk about the lives of people around them and their roles in society. They will start to explore the past and compare them to now and will have rich opportunities to explore the natural world around them, asking questions and making observations.

One of our favourite days in the week is Welly Wednesday and Foraging Friday! This happens across the whole of the Early Years unit! The children enjoy exploring and recognising features of living things, objects, and events in the natural and made world and they look closely at similarities, differences, patterns, and changes. They talk about their observations sometimes recording them and asking questions to gain information about why things happen and how things work.