Rushden Kids Club recently hosted a workshop on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to give parents a better understanding of their child’s learning and development.
Our manager, Natasha Wain, explains what the workshop was all about and how the framework is applied at the nursery – as well as tips on how to encourage learning at home.
To support our parents in working in partnership with us we wanted to build an understanding of the early years and stages of child development. We held an information evening where parents were introduced to the Department of Education publication of ‘What to expect when?’.
The guide is parent friendly and gives a step by step guide to the areas of learning and stages of development without all the detail of the curriculum. It gives parents some practical ideas on how to support learning and development at home through quality time together.
As a nursery with an ethos based on a variety of theories, we are by no means prescriptive with the curriculum. Parents learned how by using natural recyclable materials and the world around us you do not have to spend a fortune on toys and IT for activities to be educational.
Simple dressing up clothes from the local charity shop leave the imagination and play open to the child’s perception rather than a prescriptive dressing up outfit which dictates to the child the character and the personality they are going to adopt.
By providing a selection of clothing, materials, shoes and handbags they can be whatever and whoever they want to be, encouraging them to act out different personalities, emotions and vocabulary rather than those pre-prescribed by the costume.
This type of play links to creative thinking, language development, social development and physical development. They become creative little thinkers as they build their characters, they practice their language and social skills as they become that character and act out scenes with friends and develop physical skills as they attempt buttons, zips and dressing and undressing.
By collecting and adding twigs and leaves to a simple playdough recipe you can create lots of conversation about the changes in the environment and seasons. Twigs can be chopped or snapped into different sizes, creating mathematical language such as long or short, half etc. They could be used as arms and legs creating creatures, or candles on a birthday cake – counting them, adding and subtracting engages problem solving too.
During the evening we spoke about the seven areas of learning – Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, Physical, Literacy, Understanding the World, Creative and Expressive Arts and Design, and Mathematics – and how these are planned for and observed through play.
‘Play’ was our main topic of conversation as only when children are fully engaged in an activity of their choice will we see children become receptors of learning. At Rushden Kids Club we focus on the process children go through and the experiences they have rather than a produced piece of work. As we highlighted in the workshop it’s the process and experiences that foster learning and development and develop children’s ability to take risks and explore.
The evening was followed up with a workshop where parents were asked to attend with their children and play. The staff were on hand to give feedback as to what the children were learning from each activity and how this linked to the EYFS.
For example, in the photo to the right a parent is reading to their child in our outdoor snug area, she is pointing to pictures and talking to her child about what they can see. The child is becoming familiar with text and how stories are formed. By asking the child ‘What might happen next?’ we support their imagination and ideas. It is also an opportunity for the child to snuggle in close and feel safe which promotes self esteem and confidence.
We hope that the parents that attended the session were able to take away new insights into how children learn, what stages they go through and what we are focused on as team working with their children.
What the parents had to say…
Stu Tibbs: ‘Thank you for opening your doors to us all on Saturday morning. It gave us a fantastic opportunity to explore the nursery and experience first hand how children learn through play. It is evident the transition from preschool to school is made as smooth as possible with the cross over in activities and learning using EYFS standards. Natasha is enthusiastic and passionate and this shines through all her team. Well done!’
Beksie Byer: ‘Thank you for a lovely morning. The kiddies enjoyed showing us around their nursery x.’
Craig Childs: ‘It was really good to see. Oliver is always happy after being there. I’m not quite sure that the place stays as tidy as it looks today when it’s full of children.’
Alesha Watkins: ‘It was really good. Natasha taught us a lot about what you do under the radar and just proves how hard you all work to care for the children and help them grow to their full potential. Thank you.’
Dean Czyz: It was brilliant , thank you and well done to you and Brian on speaking. Really gives us more confidence and impetus to continue their development at home.
Tips on applying EYFS at home
- Read to your child
- Talk to your child
- Embrace their creativity and ideas
- Enjoy childhood and treasure these moments as it doesn’t last forever
If you have any questions on the EYFS then please talk to a member of staff who will be happy to explain more.