Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
At Kensington, our curriculum is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework and the British National Curriculum.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) includes our Toddler Classes, Nursery Classes, and Reception. It provides an essential link between home and the more structured National Curriculum programme which starts when children reach Year 1 at age 5+.
Influences from other curricula may also be visible throughout the pedagogical approach taken in the classroom. These include the best elements of Montessori, Reggio Emilia and Te Whariki, approaches which continue to be at the forefront of research-based curricula around the world.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) was initially introduced in the UK and has now received international recognition. It supports children’s learning and development by bringing together reflective teachers and parents, who ensure that a child’s needs are fully understood and provided for.
The framework is based on several Themes and Principles that recognise children as individuals and competent learners and is delivered through a well-planned play-based approach to learning and development.
The unique child reaches out to relate to people and things through the Characteristics of Effective Learning, which more through all areas of learning.
Prime areas are fundamental, work together, and are more through to support development in all other areas.
Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.
- Playing and exploring
- Active learning
- Creating and thinking critically
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
Children develop in the context of relationships and the environment around them.
This is unique to each family and reflects individual communities and cultures
The EYFS principles are grouped into four distinct but complementary themes:
A UNIQUE CHILD
Recognises that every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. The commitments are focused around development, inclusion, safety, and health and well-being.
Describes how children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and staff. The commitments are focused around respect, partnership with parents and supporting learning.
Explains that the environment plays a crucial role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning. The commitments are focused around observation, assessment and planning, support for every child, the learning environment, and the broader context: transitions, continuity, and multi-agency working.
LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Recognises that children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and that all areas of learning and development are equally important and inter-connected.
Key Stage 1 includes our Year 1 classes in accordance with the English National Curriculum terminology. The curriculum provides a wide range of subjects that follow on from the Early Years Foundation Stage. The transition from the EYFS to the National Curriculum will be a seamless process with all Reception and Key Stage 1 teachers working together to ensure that children are supported through this change.
THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM SHOULD ENABLE
ALL YOUNG PEOPLE TO BECOME:
Successful learners who enjoy learning
and make good progress
Confident individuals who can live safe,
healthy and fulfilling lives
Responsible citizens, making a positive
contribution to society
This should inform all aspects of teaching and learning and be the starting point for curriculum design.
The curriculum should reflect values in our society that promote personal development, equality of opportunity, economic wellbeing, a healthy and just democracy, and a sustainable future.
THESE VALUES SHOULD RELATE TO
Ourselves, as individuals capable of spiritual, moral, social, intellectual and physical growth and development.
Our relationships, fundamental to the development and fulfillment of happy and healthy lives, and for the good of the community.
Our society, which is shaped by the contributions of a diverse range of people, culture and heritage.
Our environment, as the basis of life and a source of wonder and inspiration that needs to be protected.
ESSENTIALLY, THE CURRICULUM SHOULD
- Promote high standards, particularly in literacy, numeracy and ICT capability.
- Provide continued entitlement from early years to a coherent, broad and balanced curriculum.
- Instil in children a positive disposition to learning and a commitment to learn.
- Promote and pass on essential knowledge, skills and understanding for the benefit of society and future generations.
- Be relevant to children and prepare them in the ‘here and now,’ for the next phase of their education and their future.
- Widen horizons and raise aspirations about the world of work, and further and higher education.
- Make children more aware of and engaged with their local, national and international communities.
- Help children recognise that personal development is essential to wellbeing and success.
(Source: Department for Education 2012, England)
Our Innovative Research-Based Curriculum at Kensington provides three key principles when planning out teaching and learning approaches.
1. Teachers and staff interpret their observations of children in the light of their development and our curriculum to make accurate assessments of the children’s achievements.
2. A variety of well-evidenced teaching approaches are utilised across a range of context, including play, child-initiated and adult-ledactivities.
3. Effective professional learning and development are always essential to enable our teaching approach to move forward.
The Kensington Approach in Developing
an Effective and Innovative Currirulum
This will result in better learning, better teaching and better progress for our children, teachers and communities at Kensington.
Moreover, our innovative and creative approach to the EYFS curriculum is influenced by many other well-known approaches.
For example, we incorporate the Reggio Emilia philosophy, which places high value on children’s creativity, emphasising the importance of the environment in supporting child development, play and learning. Our purpose-built school and carefully chosen resources will enable children to become independent and active learners.
Our philosophy is also influenced by the work of Maria Montessori who believed that children are unique and that it is the role of the teacher to develop their abilities. By recruiting highly qualified and experienced teachers, we are confident that we can help each child to reach their full potential.
Finally, we believe in a Community Approach to teaching and learning; this is also an element of the Te Whariki curriculum.
“Each community to which a child belongs, whether it is a family home or an early childhood setting outside the home, provides opportunities for new learning to be fostered. This enables children to reflect on alternative ways of doing things, make connections across time and place, establish different kinds of relationships and encounter different points of view. These experiences enrich children’s lives and provide them with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need to tackle new challenges.” (Te Whariki Curriculum Guidance 1996)
At Kensington International Kindergarten we aim to develop a family environment where children, parents and practitioners can all learn together, to make this journey one of true discovery.