Learning Through Play
In the Early Years, learning takes place through carefully planned, play-based learning opportunities, both inside the classroom and also in our specially designated outdoor area. The EYFS curriculum has been designed with seven areas of learning and development in mind. These seven areas of learning are grouped into two strands, ‘prime’ and ‘specific’.
The Three Prime Areas of Learning and Development:
These lay down the foundation for all children’s learning, ensuring that children are able to relate to others, communicate effectively, and engage with their environment. The prime areas are dependent on each other and are universal in that they occur within all cultures and social backgrounds.
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Physical development
- Communication and language
The Four Specific Areas of Learning and Development:
These can be introduced flexibly but cannot be developed alone; they build on the development gained through the prime areas. The specific areas reflect individual children’s life experiences, including their cultural and social background. Practitioners will be able to plan for children’s next steps in the specific areas through their observations and knowledge of children’s likes, dislikes, and through regular feedback and communication from families.
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
Alongside these seven areas of learning and development, the EYFS curriculum focuses on the way children learn. This is called The Characteristics of Effective Learning. Roughly speaking, they tell us that children are learning when they are:
- Playing and Exploring: How engaged they are in an activity.
- Active Learning: How motivated they are.
- Creating and Thinking Critically: How they develop their thinking.
The essence of this curriculum will still be fundamental to your child’s learning, but the way in which staff prioritise each area will also reflect the way in which some children may have been impacted by the lockdown period and the rules of social distancing. There will be an even greater emphasis on the prime areas of learning, particularly personal, social and emotional development and well-being.
Play will still be a critical tool at this time to allow children to act out and make sense of what they have experienced over the last few months and how they have seen people’s behaviour change.
EY staff will be warm, responsive, and sensitive to what they observe in play and respond with appropriate talk and questioning. Even if there are distancing and resource limitation rules in place in September, settings will be able to provide calm, safe spaces for talk and reflection.
Of course, school is a different environment to the home. EY staff will skillfully help children readjust by gradually introducing routine and structure to the day as the term progresses.
If you have any questions, please continue to communicate with school through the links on this website.