Learning and Play
‘A child’s play is work’. Young children learn through play by active investigation and exploration. They need time to discover the world, as they touch, manipulate, look, listen, smell and explore materials around them. They need to find out about things and how they work, thus they learn best by doing and when they are interested, involved and motivated. Such play develops language, mathematics, science, creativity, intellectual growth, physical skills and social development. It also provides opportunities to learn, to share, to be independent or to co-operate with others, express feelings, and perhaps most of all as far as the child is concerned, to have fun! A happy child is a child who will learn.
However, such play needs to be carefully planned and extended using appropriate teaching, materials and equipment. It is in conjunction with the planning that the skilled educator intervenes to provide for the children’s learning needs. Each child comes to nursery with their own particular experiences and understanding which are unique to them. We will build upon these and the child’s interests. Each day there is a basic core curriculum which offers a breadth of experience. Each term, learning experiences are selected to provide new and challenging activities which respond to children’s observed interests, needs and events both individually and in different sized groups.
What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a government framework that sets out minimum standards of care and learning that all childcare providers are expected to deliver. Its purpose is to ensure that all children are provided with a rich learning experience tailored to their individual needs, whilst being cared for in a safe and secure environment. The EYFS contains a series of Early Learning Goals that sets out what most children are expected to achieve by the end of their reception year.
Statutory Framework for the Early Years
Foundation Stage, DfE March 2014
The Early Years Foundation Stage ensures:
The EYFS learning and development identifies seven areas of learning and development. These are divided into three prime areas and four specific areas: These learning and development areas are all important and inter-connected. These areas are crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
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, 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.
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.
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, space and measure.
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.