In Blanche Nevile Foundation Stage we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, which is the statutory guidance published in 2021. The EYFS is based on four main principles which underpin everything else we do:
There are seven areas of learning and development (three prime areas and four specific areas) and underpinning them are the Characteristics of Effective Learning, which include the skills children need to fully access the EYFS.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning
Playing and exploring
Creating and critical thinking
Areas of Learning and Development
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
The Personal, Social and Emotional Development of our children is central to everything we do at Blanche Nevile, and the children are able to learn and grow in an engaging, nurturing and safe environment. Children learn to play cooperatively and take turns, forming positive relationships with adults and other children. They have the opportunity to mix with both deaf and hearing peers, and learn how to interact and communicate confidently, developing a positive image of themselves as a deaf person.
Communication and Language
At Blanche Nevile we provide children with a rich linguistic environment and plenty of opportunity to learn and extend their spoken English and British Sign Language Skills. We work closely with the Speech and Language Therapists to develop the children’s joint attention and listening skills, where appropriate. There is a heavy focus on role play and experiential learning, which allows children to use new vocabulary in meaningful situations.
We offer lots of opportunities for children to develop their fine and gross motor skills. Large-scale movement are developed on the climbing frame and obstacle courses we have in the playground, during focus PE sessions and during Forest School visits to Highgate Woods, where children learn how to climb and scramble safely over fallen trees and logs. We get children ‘writing ready’ by developing arm and hand muscles through fine motor activities by using tweezers, tongs, scissors and other one-handed tools. The children are encouraged to think about what is needed to stay healthy and safe, such as eating well and using scissors and other equipment carefully, and are encouraged to become more independent in managing their own personal hygiene.
We use a system called Visual Phonics to help the children learn about how and where letter sounds are produced. They practice phonics everyday and have lots of opportunities to apply their skills in reading and writing activities. The children learn about writing in meaningful ways, for instance by creating a shopping list that they then use during a visit to the local shop. They learn to write simple words and sentences using their knowledge of letter sounds are introduced to some ‘tricky’ words, such as ‘the’ and ‘to’. Storytelling and reading are central to our work here, and the children have time everyday to read and retell stories using puppets, story sacks and role play.
Maths skills are developed in all areas of the room; from paying for items in our role play shop, to exploring capacity at the water tray. The children learn to count reliably from 1-20, carefully counting out objects as well as unmovable items such as claps or steps. They practice ordering numbers to 20 and finding 1 more and 1 less. They learn to add and take away practical situations using up to 10 objects and solve simple problems. They learn to name and describe shapes and make models and pictures using flat and solid shapes.
Understanding the World
Our children are involved in many activities that allow them to explore the natural world, from visits to Highgate Woods to bug hunts in the Peace Garden and the school allotment. They investigate changes by playing with ice and other natural materials, taking part in lots of cooking activities and observing what happens when seeds are planted. Every year, we look after a clutch of duck eggs and the children help care for them once they have hatched.
The children have the opportunity to use digital cameras and tablets as well as play with games on the Interactive White Board. Termly trips are linked to topics and organised to gain hands on experiences, for example, the Science Museum, London Zoo etc.
Expressive arts and design
At Blanche Nevile, the children have free access to painting and creative modelling activities every day. They undertake projects to learn new skills, such as college, marbling paper or mixing colours, but also have the chance to create their own drawings and models too.
The children take part in weekly music sessions which are led by a professional Deaf musician, where they use a selection of percussion instruments to explore loud, quiet, fast and slow sounds and practice creating and copying simple rhythms. We also sing nursery rhymes throughout the day with props to support their understanding of the songs.
Please see our Early Years Foundation Stage Policy below: