What is the Early Years Foundation Stage? (EYFS)
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum sets the standards for the development, learning and care of children from birth to five years old. All registered providers of Early Years care are required to use the EYFS statutory framework. Oakwood Early Years uses the EYFS documents and these are what your child’s teacher will be using all throughout the year.
Themes and principles
EYFS is based around four themes, each of which is linked to an important principle:
A unique child Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
Positive relationships Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.
Enabling environments The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children's development and learning.
Learning and development Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of learning and development are equally important and interconnected.
Areas of Learning and Development
The EYFS is divided into 7 areas of learning and development. They are
-Communication and Language (C&L)
-Understanding of the World (UW)
-Physical Development (PD)
-Expressive, Arts and Design (EAD)
-Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
Here is a brief outline of what your child will cover in each area of learning.
Communication and Language
The most important aspect which allows the children to communicate effectively is speaking and listening. Children will be able to talk about what they want and how they feel and have opportunity to express this through role play. There will be time for stories, poems, songs and rhymes to help develop the ability to use language to describe past and present experiences and a sequence of events. Children will be encouraged to question experiences and events and put forward logical explanations or predict what may happen next. There will be the chance to talk imaginatively and retell stories in their words. Children will be supported to learn how to speak to others in small and large groups and to share ideas and thoughts with them, as well as learning to listen to others and to ask interesting and appropriate questions. It is also important to learn how to follow a set of instructions and be able to answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about different experiences.
Through handling books and sharing with others, children will recognise that words tell stories and that words seen in the world around them tell us something. Children will see letters and words written down all around nursery and will have a chance to try and copy and write them then use them in play. Alphabetical sounds are taught involving speaking and listening leading to using different sounds to make up a word. This knowledge can be used when looking at words in a book to begin reading and writing sentences. To support this learning there are multisensory story sacks, word and picture games and the use of the computer. Children are supported to learn to read individually and in small groups. It is vital that children have fun using words to talk, read and write.
This area involves many different learning concepts. Children will learn to use numbers when playing to count and match things to each other, then progress to adding things together and taking away. There is encouragement to learn sorting and grouping objects with understanding and putting events in order with consideration of what happens next in the following day. Children learn about noticing shapes and patterns in the world around us and designing their own patterns. Using mathematical knowledge for solving practical problems with doubling, sharing and halving is also supported. Indoor and outdoor resources are used for learning comparisons in height, weight, size and texture.
Understanding of the World
This is a huge area of the curriculum and this includes subjects that we know as history, geography, ICT and science but in an easy way for 3 to 5 year olds. There will be opportunities indoors and out to look at and talk about objects, materials, living creatures and plant life, pointing out details and things that are the same or different. There will be explorations and investigations at all different times of the year indoors and out to encourage children to notice changes as time passes. There is support to make predictions, try things out and come to a conclusion or provide reasons as to why a child thinks things happen. Discoveries can be shared with friends and recorded by drawing, writing or using a camera or computer. Children will learn about things we use everyday in the home and at school as well as places and buildings in the area we live in. There are chances to talk about special moments and events within the family and things the children are looking forward too. Children will also begin to know about different people and their cultures, tradition and places in our community.
In Nursery, there will be lots of time to play and learn both inside and outside the school. Children are given opportunities to improve in movement, climbing, control and coordination during play. Outdoors there are toys to ride on, throw, catch, climb on and build with. There are games involving chase, races, jumping and balance as an individual and within a team. Children also learn about their body and what keeps us fit and healthy. Fine movement skills are developed in drawing, painting, cutting, sewing, cooking, joining and dismantling, as well as through equipment for building, threading, dressing dolls, making tents, dens and structures and playing sports.
Expressive, Arts and Designs
Here children will have the opportunity to express their own thoughts, ideas and feelings through drawing, painting, model making and using play dough or clay. A wide variety of tools are available to allow children to see how they work and what they can do using natural and manmade materials to design and make their own creations, models and structures. There will be an opportunity to see interesting objects, pictures and people, feel different moods, taste a variety of flavours, smell an assortment of things and hold or touch things to see how they feel. Children will be able to express themselves through different sound makers, movements, sing songs and imaginative role play with friends. There is guidance on the right means of expression and choosing the words for sharing these times with friends, teachers and family as children play and explore the world around them.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
This is probably the most important area of the curriculum. When children are happy and relaxed in their nursery and feel supported by their teachers and friends, they will experience, participate and learn more. Children will be guided to develop confidence and self-esteem, an ability to be assertive and stand up for their own rights or to ask for adult support. They will be taught about relationships with both adults and children, making particular friendships and learning to share, to take turns and to negotiate with others. Children will begin to understand rules, to empathise with others and to learn about differences in cultures, religion or language. There will be development in the ability to express feelings, to control them where appropriate and to express any anxieties to others. Progress in independence is encouraged in looking after oneself and possessions, choosing what to do, finding what is needed, planning time, thinking of and acting on own ideas and asking for help if needed. Children will learn to take responsibilities for tidying up, helping other children, taking messages and carrying out instructions and tasks. Most of all children’s accomplishments will be recognised so that they know how to be please with and proud of what they can do.
Islamic Studies, Qur’an, and Arabic
Children will be taught the basics of these areas either linked with the EYFS or as an adult led activity. In Islamic Studies children will learn about The Creator and His Creation, Stories of the Prophets, Islamic morals and manners, Ramadhan and Eid plus the 5 pillars of Islam. Children will be taught Surah Al-Fatihah and progress onto the short surahs at the end of Juz Amma. The Arabic alphabet will be taught so that children learn the correct phonetic sounds, through listening and speaking along with learning to write and recognise the letters. Some basic Arabic vocabulary will also be taught based on objects the children are familiar with everyday.
Luton’s 2, 3 and 4 year old Free School Meal Entitlement
Your child in our Nursery or Reception class may be eligible for free school meals (FSM).
Free school meals are only available for 2, 3 & 4 year old children whose parent/guardian is in receipt of a qualifying benefit and where the child is attending a school or a private or voluntary provider, (e.g. pre-school, nursery, childminder), for their free early education entitlement and who attend free provision that includes the lunch period.
The parent/guardian must be in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:
- Income support (IS)
- Income based job seekers allowance (IBJSA)
- Income related employment and support allowance
- Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guarantee element of state pension credit
- Child Tax Credit and not getting Working Tax Credit and an annual income not exceeding £16,190
- Working Tax Credit ‘4 week run on’ (the payment that may be received for a further four weeks after stopping to qualify for Working Tax Credit)
- Children in families in receipt of Universal Credit
- A child who is in receipt of a qualifying benefit in their own right
Eligibility for FSM only applies where the 2, 3 or 4 year old child is accessing early education during a period that includes the lunch period. The free entitlement can include the lunch period or other break as long as this is specifically planned to support children’s overall learning and development.
Free School Meal Entitlement Declaration for 3 and 4 year olds
To enable Luton Borough Council to process applications for Free School Meals, the parent/guardian must make an online claim and complete the declaration at:
Any queries or correspondence can be directed in person or by post to -
Luton Borough Council’s Customer Service Centre, opening Hours 9:00am – 4pm Monday to Friday.:
Free School Meals, Customer Service Centre, Town Hall, Luton, LU1 2BQ
Parent/guardian eligibility enquiries should be directed to the Customer Service Centre telephone 01582 510346
More information about free school meals
How often do I need to apply?
As soon as you start to receive one of the qualifying benefits you should apply for free school meals.
You will not need to reapply every term and your child will continue to receive free meals until you are told otherwise
I do not live in Luton but my child attends a Luton school, which council do I apply for free school meals?
You need to apply to us, using the form at www.luton.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals
I live in Luton but my child attends a school outside of the borough, which council do I apply for free school meals?
If a child lives in Luton, but is attending a school outside of the borough, they should apply for free school meals to the local authority in which that school is based.
Who notifies the school if my child qualifies for free school meals?
We will check if your child is entitled to free school meals and will tell the school on your behalf.
Will I receive money to pay for the school meal?
No. If your child qualifies for free school meals, the school will be told and you will be contacted by them.
Can a packed lunch be provided instead of a meal?
Packed lunches are only provided for those children entitled to free school meals when they are off the school premises attending any school excursions. During a normal school day only hot meals are provided
Who will know that my child is receiving a free school meal?
You, the school and Luton Borough Council. Schools want to ensure children who are entitled to a free school meal can enjoy it without fear of embarrassment. Schools are examining their current systems to check that children receiving free school meals are dealt with sensitively.
What happens if my personal circumstances change?
You must contact the Customer Service Centre on 03007 900345 if you no longer receive one of the qualifying benefits e.g. If you stop receiving Income Support or Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance, start to receive Working Tax Credit, or if your income goes above the £16,190 threshold, You will have to pay for any meals that your child(ren) has after your entitlement stops.
Free Milk Scheme -
We would like to inform parents that we have registered with Cool Milk a new company that provides a milk scheme that is available to all of our pupils and we would like to invite you to register your child in order to receive milk.
School milk is free for all children that are under-five and/or registered for free school meals, and is subsidised for other pupils at around £15 a term. Once you have registered with Cool Milk the company will deal with all your administration, the school will no longer be responsible for any administration.
Each pupil that registers with Cool Milk will receive a carton of semi-skimmed milk everyday, which is delivered fresh and chilled to the classroom. School milk will not only provide children with essential nutrients, but as it is rehydrating and energy boosting it also bridges the gap between breakfast and lunch to help children stay focused.Find out the top ten reasons to drink school milk at www.coolmilk.com/whyschoolmilk.
How to register
Milk is completely free for all children that are under-five and/or registered for free school meals, and is subsidised for children aged five or older.
Just register at www.coolmilk.com
Alternatively, complete the registration form found in the Welcome Pack, and return to Cool Milk freepost.
The School’s Local Authority is: Luton Borough Council.
My child is under five and/or registered for free school meals
Just register by a Tuesday for your child’s free milk to start the following week.
Free milk for under-fives will continue until the Friday before your child’s fifth birthday. You will receive a payment request three weeks before this time- if you wish your child to continue to receive school milk simply make a payment.
Free milk for children entitled to free school meals will continue to be delivered until they leave primary education, or when they are no longer eligible for free school meals.
My child is five or older
Complete a registration form or register online as soon as possible. Shortly after registering you will receive a payment request.
If for any reason the school do not receive a delivery from Cool Milk and you have paid for your child to have milk does not receive any milk, please contact Cool Milk they will credit your account.
You can pay Cool Milk either online, over the phone, at a local PayPoint or by cheque in half-termly, termly or annual instalments.
Just pay by a Tuesday for your child’s milk to start the following week.
If you have any questions regarding school milk please visit www.coolmilk.com or contact Cool Milk directly on 0844 854 2913.
Phonics & Literacy
At the start of the academic year (September 2015) to help welcome parents and inform them of how we are going to support their child, we held a Phonics and Literacy Workshop. In this workshop it was explained how phonics is taught and how parents can support their child’s learning at home. Parents were shown the Jolly Phonics resources that can be used via YouTube as well as the Robot Game that helps children to segment and blend their sounds to create CVC words. There was also a demonstration on how parents can support their child in beginning to read and understand what is happening within a story.
Parents found this workshop to be really useful and informative, and they advised us through the feedback questionnaire that they would like something similar presented for the other areas of learning such as Numeracy.
Having listened to parent feedback we implemented a Numeracy (Mathematics) workshop. Parents were encouraged to use the environment outside of school to help support their child’s understanding of numerical concepts. We also touched on how learning needs to be practical and ‘hands-on’. Parents were informed on how we are beginning to create ’Home Learning Bags’ for the children to take home, to share and do activities with their parents.
Feedback from this workshop indicates that parents found it interactive and useful. Recommendations were made to hold a workshop for Qur’an and Arabic, as well as one for the Summer Term to inform parents on how they can support their child to be ready for the transition into Key Stage 1 learning in Year 1.
Qur’an and Arabic in Reception Class
Spring Term 2016 update on learning to take place in Reception
Early Years Pupil Premium for 3 & 4 year olds
As from April 2015 Early Years settings have been able to access Early Years Pupil Premium each term. This funding is for the purpose of enhancing early years education and narrowing the attainment gap between young children from low income families and their peers, setting them on a path to a more successful future. Our role is to work in partnership with you to carefully consider the learning and development needs of your child and use the additional funding to support your child within the following areas:
Personal, social and emotional development
-Understanding the world
-Expressive arts and design
Children are eligible for the money if their parents are receiving:
-Income based Job Seekers’ Allowance
-Income related Employment and Support Allowance
-Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
-The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
-Child Tax Credit based on an annual gross income of no more than £16,190
-Working Tax Credit run-on
Or your child has been …
-Looked after by the Local Authority for at least one day
-Adopted or under special guardianship
-Subject to a child arrangement order
It is available only for 3 and 4 year old children in Nursery, not Reception. You can apply by completing an application form available from the Early Years Manager – Miss Sanah Saleem, and providing proofs of eligibility. Once we have confirmed your eligibility we will notify Luton Borough Council who will carry out an additional eligibility check and then pay the funding to our setting.
Please speak to the Early Years Manager for further information.