Purposes and aims of the Early Years Foundation Stage
Every child deserves the best possible start in life to fulfil their potential. A secure, safe and happy childhood provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. When parents choose child-care, they want to be sure that the child-care provision will keep their children safe and help them to thrive. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the government framework that provides parents with that assurance.
The priority of the EYFS is to help young children achieve the 5 Every Child Matters outcomes of: staying safe, being healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution.
King’s Castle fully embraces and complies with government’s The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. We base our curriculum around the Early Years Foundation Stage framework (EYFS) incorporating the Montessori philosophy and principles. The EYFS is set within the context of family, local community, changing seasons and special days of the year.
Individual attention and Key Worker System
Each child at Kings Castle has an Individual Learning Plan and a Key Worker. As each child develops at a different rate, their Key Worker will monitor and assess each child individually and on a daily basis, regularly updating their Learning Plan. This provides each child with the best possible activities and experiences to extend their learning and development.
EYFS and Montessori at Kings Castle
The Kings Castle baby and toddler rooms (Highcliffe and Christchurch) blend traditional and Montessori approaches within the EYFS framework to provide children with an introduction to Montessori within a more traditional framework. Our Christchurch toddler room offers children both Montessori and traditional toys and equipment and staff have a mix of traditional and Montessori-training.
Once children join the Lulworth rooms (usually at around age 3), they follow the full Montessori curriculum. The Montessori curriculum perfectly complements the EYFS framework and milestones.
EYFS Early Learning Goals
The Early Year curriculum is divided into the following Early Learning Goals:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
These Early Learning Goals are covered in our comprehensive curriculum. Please ask the Nursery Manager if you would like more information on how these are achieved. Each child has an individual development plan, designed to meet their needs, created in partnership with their Key Worker, parents and carers.
Communication and Language
Children are encouraged to extend their talking and listening skills in large and small groups through shared stories, song and rhymes. The book corner provides books relating to the different topics and enables the children to get used to looking at, handling and enjoying print in different forms. Role-play activities give children ample opportunities to use their communication and language skills in a wide variety of contexts. For example, writing skills may be used with shopping lists, receipts, birthday cards, registers and much more.
Personal social and emotional development
Children are encouraged to become independent people, to have the confidence to ask for help with their needs, to respect other people and the equipment they use. For example, a balance of individual, pair-based and group-based activities instil an understanding of personal space, sharing and respect for others. We use our circle time and snack time to develop the children’s sense of belonging, with children and adults sitting together and taking turns to prepare and serve snacks. Good manners are fundamental to good social skills and are encouraged at all times!
Children get ample opportunity for Physical activities. We go outside as much as possible every day come rain or shine! Our free-flow to the garden gives children the opportunity to develop gross motor skills such as controlling their movements, ball skills, balance and the use of bikes and trikes while activities such as den-building, gardening and outdoor art promote fine motor skills, patience and team-work. Physical activities continue indoors and children have continual access to our Messy Play area where activities such as drawing, painting, sticking and modelling develop fine motor skills such as hand/eye co-ordination and pre-writing skills. We also have regular “music and movement” activities to encourage co-ordination, good posture and a love of music.
The children have access to different forms and styles of text throughout their day, whether this is text and images around the nursery environment or access to books in our book corner. There are regular stories, activities to enjoy books with other children, time to share books with adults and time to talk about books! Children are encouraged to develop their pre-writing skills when they are ready through access to all kinds of “mark-making” activities and equipment, this may be drawing and painting, or using the large chalks outside, writing in sand and a range of other activities to introduce letters and sounds.
Understanding of the world around us
Children are given the chance to look at our world in different ways; they are encouraged with the aid of an adult to explore the environment around them and to explore objects and materials. We use our garden as much as possible to promote “exploration and discovery” and we also take our children out on regular walks and trips within the local community. When a topic allows, we will try to invite relevant visitors to the group to talk to the children.
Maths is continuously explored with the daily activities and we select at least one topic a year which concentrates on maths and science. The children look at maths in terms of size, shape, patterns, numbers and number problems. Our maths activities are varied and fun to give children a positive attitude towards numbers. Our children explore maths and numbers via a wide range of activities including songs, number rhymes, water-play, role-play, messy play, construction, junk modelling, gardening, art, etc!
All children are encouraged to express themselves through a range of creative activities. Every day we have a balance of planned creative activities and free-flow activities. For example:
Messy play Water, Sand, Dough, Glue and Gloop, Clay, Putty, Shavings, Glitter, etc.
Small World Farm and animals, Dolls House, Train set, Cars and Garage, Pirates Ships, etc.
Art Painting, Drawing, Threading, Sticking, Stamping, Tracing, Printing, etc.
Role Play Meals, Vet, Doctor, Dentist, Shopping, Big School, History, Fairy tales, etc.
Dressing up We aim to have the biggest dressing-up chest in the area!
Music Lots of different instruments for making music!
Construction Duplo, Lego, Stickle Bricks, Big Blocks, Wooden Blocks, Junk Modelling, etc.
Children are supervised at all times giving them the confidence to explore and develop new skills.
School ‘readiness’ at Kings Castle
Preparing the children for “big school” is an import part of the Lulworth curriculum. Lulworth is a bigger, busier environment, the Lulworth children generally drop their daytime naps, they move around between rooms independently, choose their own activities, concentrate for longer periods of time, eat using cutlery where possible, clear-up after themselves, wear pants instead of nappies and use the toilet independently! All of these things are great preparation for “school readiness” and happen every day as part of Lulworth. In addition, in the 2-3 terms before the children start “big school,” they will begin to do specific “school readiness” activities. “School readiness” activities include learning to get changed (mastering buttons, shoes, zips, etc), having taster PE lessons, lots more activities using numbers, letters and practical life and more activities which involve ‘sitting still’!
We do not generally try and teach the children to ‘read and write’ but if your child is showing interest in reading and writing, we have lots of suitable activities to encourage this and to ensure that they have a fun and positive start to reading and writing.
For more information on Montessori, please see our Montessori Page.
For more information on the EYFS within a Montessori context please see: