At the Exwick Ark we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework which is a document setting the standards for learning development and care of children from birth to five years of age. The document is based on a number of principles grouped into 4 themes:
A unique child – every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self assured.
Positive relationships- children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.
Enabling environments – the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.
Learning and development – children learn and develop in different ways and at different rates and all areas of learning are equally important and inter- connected.
These four guiding themes work together to underpin the way we support the learning, development and care of young children during their time at The Exwick Ark. Every child is unique and when placed in an enabling environment with positive relationships they are able to learn and develop.
The ways in which the child engages with other people and the environment – Playing and Exploring, Active Learning and Creating and Thinking Critically – underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner. These are called the characteristics of effective learning.
There are 7 areas of learning, 3 prime and 4 specific. The prime areas are given more emphasis particularly with our youngest children as they are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. The specific areas are areas in which the prime are strengthened and applied.
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.
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 be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Literacy – 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.
Mathematics – Involves proving 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 – 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 art and design – Involves allowing 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, dance role play and design and technology.
Other – Children are taught and use Makaton type sign language to help them communicate with each other and the adults. This is particularly helpful with children who are still learning to communicate with others, whether English is not their first language or they need extra help with communicating. Even babies can learn to use these signs before they have started speaking. The signs we are using are usually displayed on one of our notice boards for parents to learn too.