Learning in Preschool
Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
We work hard to develop the whole child in Preschool, allowing each individual to make progress across all of their skills. The environment and the learning opportunities that we set up for the children cover this wide range of areas. The EYFS framework covers seven areas of learning:
- personal, social and emotional development
- communication and language
- physical development
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
In Preschool, we focus more on some of these key areas than other. For example, we spend a lot of time developing the children’s communication and language skills as opposed to their literacy skills. It’s very important for children of this age to develop their spoken language before they learn to apply this to written language later on. We also focus very much on physical development and personal, social and emotional development. We encourage the children to be as independent as possible in self-care such as using the toilet, putting on their own coats and feeding themselves.
Our indoor and outdoor environment is set up to allow the children to lead their own learning and follow their own interests. At set times of the day, the children are free to choose their own learning opportunities from those set up by the adults in the classroom and outdoor learning environment. This approach also promotes children’s independence and confidence.
At certain times of day, the children are asked to participate in adult-led learning opportunities such as songs, stories and listening activities that work towards developing phonic awareness. There are also focus groups led by adults that work on key skills that we want the children to develop.
OP&L Online Journal
We make summative assessments by using a tool called OP&L (Observation of Play and Learning). This tool is used across the EYFS and includes children in both our nursery and reception classes.
OP&L is a snapshot overview of a child’s development at regular intervals and is important in our early years setting because it gives us a tool to tell each child’s individual story and to reflect on what support they need from us. We assess children against developmental milestones to identify whether a child is at a typical stage of development or whether early intervention is appropriate. Our ‘OPAL’ assessment tool allows us to monitor children’s development in five areas of learning which we call the GLD (Good Level of Development). These are:
- Communication and Language
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
We assess children against a starting point milestone and every six months from their birth date at an age- related milestone. By assessing children in this way, we are ensuring judgements are fair, relevant and accurate. We will meet with parents/carers at each milestone and co-construct an assessment, using knowledge from the team working with the child in school, the child’s opinion (child voice) and from the rich experiences that the parents/carers bring from home. At the end of this meeting, we will inform parents/carers if their child has met or not yet met the age related GLD milestones. If a judgement of ‘met’ in all areas has been reached, parents and carers will be given some suggestions of how to help their child reach the next step in their learning.
If a judgement of ‘ not yet met’ has been reached, the practitioner and parents/carers will then decide together on how to make progress in this area and if any interventions might be appropriate from the school/home or in some cases a referral to an outside agency. They will also be given a summary of how to help their child reach the next step in their learning.
After each six-monthly assessment (also called spotlights) we will review the progress made in our intended actions for development to ensure that the child is still progressing or if the intended interventions have been successful.