Early Years Curriculum
At Sunmarke we provide a broad and balanced curriculum for our youngest children aged 3 to 5 years based on the Early Years Foundation Stage. Children learn skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
The 3 Prime Areas are a focus initially; Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Physical Development and Communication and Language Development. These Prime areas are essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning.
As they grow the Prime areas will help to develop skills in 4 Specific Areas: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design. As active learners, our children acquire skills and knowledge in many different ways. We believe that for learning to be effective, it is not ‘what’ children learn that matters, but rather ‘how’ they learn, and this ‘how’ is what practitioners consider when planning learning environments and experiences for children.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning describe how children learn in the Foundation Stage, a child’s individual learning characteristic will determine the way they respond to both the teaching and learning taking place in the environment. The three characteristics of effective teaching and learning identified by the EYFS are:
Playing and Exploring – Finding out and exploring, willing to ‘have a go’ and playing with what they know.
Active Learning – being involved and concentrating, trying and persevering, taking pleasure from achieving what they set out to do.
Creating and Thinking Critically – having their own ideas, making links, choosing ways to do things.
At Sunmarke the 7 curriculum areas are taught through the children’s unique projects and interests.
Our children play an active role in the shaping and enhancement of their learning experience through child initiated activities and projects. This leads to a high level of involvement, which in turn leads to high impact learning. Each class project incorporates an element of imagination and investigation that stimulates curiosity and engagement. By encouraging children to engage with their imagination, they are able to think innovatively and creatively in their learning. This enables children to think ‘Out of the box’ to create new ideas, concepts and solutions.
Examples of topics are ‘I believe I can fly’, ‘Somewhere out there’ and ‘Up up and away.’ The initiative EYFS curriculum is designed and based on the philosophy of learning through play.
Play at its best and when planned purposefully will enhance and build essential learning skills, such as critical thinking, risk-taking, social development and creative skills which are the foundations of lifelong learners.
Every child is unique and our teaching philosophy is designed to treat all children as individuals. Our holistic approach means that parents/carers, class teachers, specialist teachers and learning assistants work very effectively together to support our ethos ‘every child is unique’
Most importantly, we believe that happy and well-motivated children are good learners. The Foundation Stage is a safe, secure and friendly environment for our youngest children to gain confidence and independence, in preparation for the next stage of their schooling. It is an excellent foundation for future learning.
Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL) are a revived element in the current Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS). CoEL advocate that in planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners must reflect on the different ways that children learn, and then reflect these in their practice.
"The school overall has one of the most refreshing approaches to the children’s learning, allowing them to learn from each other and by discovery".