In Early Years, our staff are guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. The EYFS has seven areas of learning and development and these are split into two main areas: prime areas and specific areas.

The prime areas are: 

Communication and language

Physical development

Personal, social and emotional development

The specific areas build on the fundamental learning contained within the prime areas, and begin to prepare children for learning in key stage one (KS1). 

Literacy

Mathematics

Understanding of the world

Expressive arts and design

At Simon Balle, we alter our Early Years curriculum every year to ensure that it is relevant, enjoyable and stimulating for our cohort of children. For example, we learn from working in partnership with parents what interests children have. The first month in September is very important for understanding children’s strengths in learning and where they may need further support; the curriculum can then be shaped to inspire and to meet needs. 

A weekly timetable will include:

  • Child-initiated learning, where children learn through their play. A highly stimulating indoor and outdoor environment will ensure a focus on each of the seven areas of learning above. We support children to develop effective characteristics of learning which focus on playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically.
  • Adult-directed activities. These will also include activities within each of the seven areas of learning. Some activities will be in groups; others, for example, phonics may be the whole class. 

We believe passionately about the importance of reading within the Early Years curriculum. Our literary canon exposes children to a wide range of wonderful literature. Reading relates to all that we do, and we ask parents to read with, and to, their children every day. 

As an all-through school, we are fortunate that children in all year groups are taught by teachers across the school. In Reception, children learn Spanish and music as part of our all-through curriculum design, as well as all learning within the Early Years curriculum. 

We promote a strong and positive partnership between home and school. Parents, as children’s first and most important educators, are welcomed to be a part of children’s learning journeys. Tapestry, an online tracking and assessment tool, is used to share observations of children with their parents, and parents are invited to upload and share key learning with their child’s class teacher.