Early Years

‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances.’

Statutory Framework for Early Years Foundation Stage

Every child in the Early Years Foundation Stage setting at Thomas’s Academy is entitled to provision which supports and extends their knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence to access to curriculum in which their physical, emotional, social development and well-being is catered for.  We are a learning family and believe that we are all learning together. We have high expectations for all children and create a friendly, caring and safe environment for our children to explore and develop their inquisitive and problem solving skills. We develop warm and secure relationships between children and adults and work closely with parents to meet the needs of their child. We provide fun, motivating and active learning through first hand experiences both indoors and outdoors and link learning to children’s interests and value each child as an individual. We know that Physical Development and Cognitive Development are linked. The brain connections are built from birth onwards, from all of our ‘doing’ experiences; the more ‘doing’ experiences, the more connections are made. We understand that play based learning is the key to a successful, happy, confident, resilient and independent learners of the future. 

We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage, the statutory framework that sets the standards for Learning, Development and Care for children. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s  ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

Four guiding principles shape our practice:
Unique Child
Positive Relationships
Enabling Environments
Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates

Quality of Teaching

This will occur when:

  • The child’s home background and language is valued
  • Play is recognised an important tool for children to develop and reflect on their learning
  • There are plenty of opportunities for the children to talk about themselves and the world around them
  • They engage in first hand experiences
  • Learning is well planned through the observed and assessed needs of the individual/group
  • Children have access to a variety of indoor and outdoor activities
  • Resources are accessible and levelled to ensure that they meet the needs of the children
  • Special needs are identified as soon as possible and the appropriate measures are taken to support the child’s learning
  • Positive partnership with parents and carers is vital. 

Quality of Learning

This will occur when:

  • Children are motivated and instructions are clear
  • Children are able to access resources independently and return them independently
  • Children have a pride in their work and have high expectations
  • They are encouraged to reflect upon their work and that of their peers (I can say what I like about my work and I can say what I’d like to get better at)
  • Children will enjoy trying new things and challenges

The resources are appropriate to the needs of the child and the learning experience

There are seven areas of learning and development:

Prime Areas
1. Communication and language
2. Physical Development
3. Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Specific Areas
4. Literacy
5. Mathematics
6. Understanding the World
7. Expressive Arts and Design

The seven areas of learning and development are delivered through planned and purposeful play with a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Adult interaction, support and questioning enhance this style of learning. Child led medium and short term planning ensures that activities and experiences are relevant, progressive and challenging.