The Early Years Foundation Stage or EYFS is the mandatory framework that is given to all early years settings to ensure that there is a breadth and depth of quality learning opportunities for every child. The EYFS sets out three prime and four specific areas for learning:
- Physical Development
- Communication and Language
- Personal Social and Emotional Development
- Understanding of the world
- Expressive Arts and Design
The EYFS also provides developmental guidance to practitioners for observing, assessing and planning for children so that every child across the country is assessed equally using a single framework which is governed by Ofsted. This uniformity enables childcare professionals and parents to have a shared understanding of base requirements in early years care alongside key measures including the early identification of possible developmental delay.
Bright Minds sees the EYFS as the foundation level cornerstone of learning and assessment upon which we create our unique programme, summarised through our Star Framework.
The Forest School approach aims to inspire children through positive outdoor experiences to understand the wider natural world around them and to encourage responsibility for nature and conservation. Forest School facilitates children using their natural explorative impulses to learn valuable skills that can support development through their early years.
High levels of adult supervision allow children to learn to think critically, solve problems and safely manage risks. Children subsequently learn to work together as a team supporting and encouraging each other with tasks. The practitioner’s role is then to follow each child’s lead and build sessions around their curiosity ensuring that they are stimulated and challenged.
What this approach builds:
- Confidence and self-esteem
- Communication and social skills
- Physical skills
- Natural motivation and a positive attitude to learning
- Greater understanding and awareness of the natural environment
- The ability to recognise and manage risk
- Healthier lifestyles
Born in Italy Dr Maria Montessori used scientific observations of how children learn to develop an approach that is child centred. Her principles have been used around the world since 1907.
The Montessori approach is based upon 5 key principles:
- Respect for the child
- The Absorbant Mind
- Sensitive Periods
- The Prepared Environment
- Auto Education
At Bright Minds we recognise these underpinning principles as forming the basis of meaningful relationships with our children. Our vision for learning is underpinned by the knowledge that children develop skills through having the freedom to learn from their own experiences and independent investigations. The environment is carefully created to ensure that children are challenged as they independently access continuous provision areas that focus on their interests. Children are carefully encouraged to learn as they explore natural materials, use real food and investigate how things work.
Children are allowed time to create meaningful projects supported by practitioners who scaffold their learning through open questioning. This empowers children to be confident, curious and critical thinkers.
The ‘Reggio Emilia’ approach to education originated in Northern Italy towards the end of World War II. It was created by Lorris Malaguzzi, a local teacher, and parents who lived in the area around Reggio Emilia.
The principles are based on a mutual respect of the partnership between a child and their teacher and included:
- Children are capable of constructing their own learning
- Social Interaction and teamwork
- Children are communicators
- The environment is the third teacher
- Documenting children’s thoughts
- Adult as guide and mentor
At Bright Minds we incorporate these aspects into our daily practice through allowing children the freedom to explore and investigate on their own terms, whilst building and encouraging meaningful peer interactions and promoting teamwork. Practitioners must listen and respond appropriately to children and inspire creativity through the learning journeys they create for children which include their thoughts, interests, learning and next steps for development.