Areas of learning - Main Articles

Areas of Learning

The requirements that define what all registered early year settings must do, to promote children’s learning and development, are set out in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

7 areas of learning

The framework sets out seven areas of learning and development that must shape our educational programs. All areas are interlinked and are important for ensuring that children have access to a broad and enjoyable curriculum.

However, three areas are particularly important for setting the foundations for children’s learning. These are known as the prime areas and include:

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Personal, Social and Emotional

  • helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others
  • developing social skills and learning to manage feelings
  • understanding how to behave in group settings
  • forming positive relationships and developing respect for others
  • helping children to have confidence in their own abilities.
Children sitting around table talking and writing

Communication and language

  • giving children opportunities to experience an environment rich in language
  • speaking and listening in a range of situations
  • developing confidence when communicating with others.
Girl riding her tri-cycle

Physical Development

  • helping children to be active and interactive
  • developing co-ordination, control and movement
  • helping children to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy eating choices.

Specific Areas of Learning

In addition, there are four areas known as specific areas, through which the prime areas are strengthened.

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Mathematics

  • helping children to develop their skills in counting, using numbers and calculating
  • describing space, shapes and measures
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Literacy Development

  • Encouraging children to link sounds and letters, and to begin to read and write
  • Providing children with access to a wide range of reading materials, to inspire  their interest in this area.
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Understanding of the world

  • Providing opportunities for children to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
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Expressive arts and design

  • exploring and playing with a wide range of media and materials
  • providing children with opportunities to take part in art, music, movement, dance, role play, and design and technology.

Activities

Staff at Mother Goose Nurseries ensure that these areas are covered through a wide range of planned, purposeful play opportunities. For babies and toddlers, staff focus on the prime areas of learning, as these are most suited to their particular stage of development, but will introduce specific areas depending on children’s individual interests, confidence and abilities.

Observation & Assessment

Staff work through a cycle of observation, assessment and planning, in order to support the children’s learning in a systematic way.

They carry out observations of the children to assess their achievements, interests and learning styles, and use this information to plan learning experiences for each child, Staff ensure that all seven areas are integrated in their planning, while supporting the children in a holistic way to develop their skills and understanding as they enjoy engaging in activities of their choice.

Regular feedback

Parents receive regular feedback on their children’s progress, so that they are well informed of their achievements and can continue with children’s learning at home.

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Organisation of play materials

At Mother Goose Nurseries, we believe play should underpin all development and learning for young children.

Most children play spontaneously – although some may need adult support – and it is through play that they develop intellectually, creatively, physically, socially and emotionally.

Planned Environment

We provide a well-planned environment and, together with appropriate support from staff, children enjoy developing independent learning skills that will provide the basis for all future learning and enquiry.

Carefully chosen equipment

We aim to foster a strong desire within the children to communicate, make decisions, solve problems, discover, enquire, create and co-operate. We have a range of carefully chosen equipment organised into bays and areas of play.

Here, children are able to use equipment freely, depending on their current focus of interest, stage of learning, physical ability and learning styles. They are able to engage in challenging activities of their choice for sustained periods of time throughout the day, enabling them to consolidate their learning on a daily basis.

Planned Activities

A sensitive balance of adult-directed activities is also planned, based on children’s interests – for example, cooking. Other activities included are music, dance and movement, storytelling and French.

Outdoor Play

The outdoor area is a well-planned learning environment that enables children to progress across the seven areas of learning and development.

Children from two years have the choice between indoor and outdoor activities throughout the day and staff are organised to work alongside children, extending their individual skills across all areas of learning. Babies and toddlers have planned, daily opportunities to play and explore through their senses outdoors.

Children are encouraged to play outside in all weathers, as staff plan activities to make the most of the learning opportunities provided by changes in weather conditions.

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