At Happy Days, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum which supports your child’s development and learning from birth until the end of Reception year at school
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), is how the Government and early years’ professionals describe the time in your child’s life between birth and age 5.
This is a very important stage as it helps your child get ready for school as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes.
From when your child is born up until the age of 5, their early years’ experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs.
At Happy Days we make sure each child has a key person in their room who will get to know them and support their needs as a unique child.
Their key person will foster close links with you as parents and carers and work closely with you and your child through all stages of growth and development.
As part of our daily routine we provide what is known as ‘continuous provision’
This is the opportunity for play and learning that your child can rely upon to be available every day.
Each room and our outside area are set up with resources carefully chosen to support your child’s development.
We encourage the children to access these as independently as possible to develop their interests and learning experiences.
Continuous provision includes such activities as small world play (dinosaurs, dolls’ houses, farm and zoo animals, cars etc.), water, sand, malleable materials (such as playdough), craft resources, mark making and ‘writing’, book areas, puzzles and games, peg boards and threading, role play, ‘home’ corners, large and small scale construction, climbing apparatus, ride-on toys, bricks and blocks.
In addition to this provision, we plan focussed activities which ensure coverage of the EYFS and meet the unique needs of your child. We carefully observe the children as they play and learn and plan for their next steps as individuals within the EYFS’ seven areas of development and learning:
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:
Communication and Language
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
These prime areas are the most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning.
As children grow, the prime areas will help them develop skills in 4 specific areas:
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
In our Baby Room, activities to support your child’s communication skills might include singing nursery rhymes, making and identifying animal noises, Makaton signing, exploring and talking about favourite toys, introducing new vocabulary around their interests, experimenting with sounds or having fun with facial expressions.
As your child grows and develops, we will play alongside them, modelling language and thought processes.
We will play listening games and introduce rhythm and rhyme.
Role play opportunities such as shops, cafes, police station, garages and superhero adventures are set up and supported so that children can practice listening, understanding, speaking and responding in play situations.
We share stories every day and encourage children to take pleasure in reading and talking about books individually and in pairs/groups.
As a setting, Happy Days are committed to helping children develop these most essential of skills.
Babies’ needs are responded to quickly and their key people offer loving, warm and consistent care. We listen to parents and find out about babies’ routines, familiar people, the games they like playing, comforts, likes and dislikes. We make sure babies feel secure and relaxed so that they can develop confidence, form positive relationships and manage their feelings. As children grow we support them in making choices and developing independence.
Later, we encourage the children to serve themselves, clear away and wash up their own plates and cups at break and lunchtimes. We play turn taking games, find ways to make sharing easier and make sure each child is listened to. We talk about emotions and help children understand and negotiate relationships with their peers and adults.
Happy Days staff will support your child’s physical development at every stage: playing finger games with babies and providing encouragement with sitting, crawling, standing and then walking.
We sensitively work alongside you, as parents and carers, through toilet training and increasing self-care. As children grow we provide opportunities for them to develop their gross and fine motor skills- encouraging them to explore different ways of moving and negotiating space safely. Children have access to our garden area every day and are supported using climbing apparatus, having fun with ball games, propelling ride on toys, balancing and in all their outdoor play.
To help develop fine motor skills children are helped to manage cutlery at lunchtimes, dress themselves and are taught the skills to manage tools such as scissors safely and effectively. ‘Mark-making’ opportunities start in our Baby Room – using hands and feet in media such as paint or shaving foam – and continue as the children grow in preparation for pencil control and writing.
In every room at Happy Days we have a ‘physical area’ available where children can explore movement and body control freely and safely. Research has shown that there is a strong link between physical and cognitive development and that children who are supported and have opportunities to practice and explore movement – from crawling to balancing; rolling to pushing and pulling- are more likely to develop good communication and effective learning skills for life at school and beyond.
The Four Specific Areas
Once your child is confident and secure within the three Prime Areas, they will begin to develop their skills in the four Specific Areas which ‘grow out of the Prime Areas. The specific areas give children essential skills for learning and participation in society.
Literacy covers both reading and writing
We encourage children to enjoy word play, rhymes and stories. As they develop we take time to explore books and look at all sorts of print in the environment so that children begin to make the link between spoken and written language.
We encourage ‘writing’ through play- providing clipboards to write orders and plans for ‘building projects’, chalk for writing on paving stones, notepads and ‘parking tickets’ for the ‘police station’ and much more. In the last terms before school we introduce’ letters and sounds’ – where children begin to recognise the letters of the alphabet and link them to the sounds they make.
Mathematics involves number, shape, space and measure
Babies really enjoy being sung to, and at Happy Days we introduce counting rhymes and games using fingers, toes and actions. As the children grow we support their Mathematical development in many ways: comparing containers in the water/sand tray, thinking about size through stories such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, making pictures with shapes, problem solving through play – ‘The pirate has three gold coins buried on the island, and two in his treasure chest … I wonder how many coins he has altogether?’, sharing a pizza fairly, or counting out plates at snack time.
We continue to enjoy counting rhymes and songs and have fun playing board games involving dice and numerals. At Welcome Time, we introduce the days of the week and the children help the adults who can’t count correctly!
Understanding the World has three different aspects - People and Communities,The World and Technology
Here we encourage children to talk about family and friends, share special days and celebrations and support children’s understanding of their own community and the wider world. We use role play to provide first experiences of the jobs people do, such as police, doctors, builders or train drivers. We also have visits from the local community such as veterinary nurses, health professionals or the fire service.
Our large outdoor area allows the children to experience growing and harvesting vegetables, explore the ‘minibeast hotel’ and examine the natural world. We take them on local walks to look at seasonal changes, homes and street furniture or growing crops in the fields. The children love to look at and handle interesting objects, both natural and man- made such as ice, shells, torches, jelly, autumn leaves…. We support their curiosity and encourage questioning and observations.
Technology is introduced through push/pull/lift/slot toys and the incorporation of everyday objects such as mobile phones or cameras into children’s play. Children are supported as they develop in operating cd players, torches or accessing simple games and programs using the computer or tablet.
Expressive Arts and Design is all about creativity – using media and materials, responding to music and being imaginative
Babies are given (messy!) opportunities to explore – squeeze and feel- paint, ‘gloop’ and all sorts of media. As the children move on, they are encouraged to explore colour mixing, ‘junk’ modelling, weaving, shaping dough and clay, drawing, collage and many other art and craft techniques. We celebrate the process each child goes through in producing their creation and encourage them to explore resources, share their thinking and take pride in their work.
Music is introduced into the Baby Room through nursery rhymes and songs, exploring noise-making: wooden spoons on pots and pans(!), shakers and bells, tapping, clapping and moving to all kinds of music. We have a music specialist who spends time in each room every week supporting and having fun with the children as they develop – learning songs, exploring and making their own instruments, listening and responding to music through dance and actions or practising for the Christmas Play!
At Happy Days, we support and stimulate children’s imaginative play. Resources are provided in Home Corners so children can observe and act out what adults do every day. We play alongside them and help them to build narratives as they play in role as princesses, superheroes, firemen, mums or the big bad wolf! Our small world toys and puppets allow children to retell stories or make up their own with dinosaurs, zoo animals, dolls’ houses or vehicles.