In the Foundation Stage at Meridian Angel we provide a curriculum in line with the national guidelines for the Early Years and the seven areas of learning and development.
Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL)
The Characteristics of Effective Learning are a revived element in the current Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. They advocate that in planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners must reflect on the different ways that children learn, and then reflect these in their practice. A child’s individual learning characteristic will determine the way they respond to both the teaching and learning taking place in the environment.
The three characteristics of effective teaching and learning identified by the EYFS 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; and
- creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
The focus of these characteristics is on how children learn rather than what they learn i.e. process over outcome. Underpinning the CoEL is the understanding that during their earliest years, children form attitudes about learning that will last a lifetime. Children who receive the right sort of support and encouragement during these years will be creative, and adventurous learners throughout their lives.
In the EYFS outdoor learning is of equal value to indoor learning with both complimenting each other. Outdoor learning encourages an active life style, an appreciation of nature, an understanding of risk as well as having a positive impact on well being and development.
Child initiated learning-
As well as creating and planning experiences for the children in EYFS we also recognise the importance of spontaneous child initiated activities. By gaining first hand experiences through making their own choices children gain independence and develop emotionally.
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. These three prime areas are:
Communication and language
Communication and Language 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
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.
There are then four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied:
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 inspire 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 measures.
Understanding of the world
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 DesignExpressive 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