Early Years Foundation Stage
The Foundation Stage curriculum is based on the National Curriculum of England following the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage document. This guides the SMM- FS in developing its curriculum and building a more solid foundation for its principles. Moreover, we also refer to Development Matters as our non- statutory guide in implementing the statutory requirements of the EYFS. We cater to the needs of three- five- year old children coming from different nationalities and social backgrounds.
Following the said document, the SMM- FS is guided by the principles of child’s uniqueness, positive relationships, enabling environments and learning and development.
Unique child- We, at the FS Department, recognize that every child is capable of being resilient, confident and self- assured.
Positive relationships- That positive relationships provide various opportunities for children to be strong and independent.
Enabling environments- That learning and development are possible when the environment they are in meets their individual needs supplemented with a strong home- school partnership.
Learning and Development- That children develop in different ways and at different rates and that practitioners should ensure that children are provided with challenging playful opportunities intended to contribute to their prime and specific areas of learning and development.
Children at the SMM- FS are observed in different areas of learning and development. Prime areas are fundamental, work together, and move through to support development in all other areas. Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts & Design
Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measure.
Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology (Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, 2017: https://www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2017/03/eyfs_statutory_framework_2017.pdf).
The SMM- FS teachers reflect on the different ways through which children learn and recognize these as essential elements in planning and assessing children:
Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
Active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
At SMM- FS, all areas of learning and development are delivered through a thorough planning integrating several skills of each child. Our classrooms are equipped with centres which focus on different aspects and which students utilize independently individually or with peers. Our learning stations are also designed to extend children’s learning and strengthen the skills developed inside the classroom. The outdoor area and the sand and water play areas are arranged to ensure safety and maximize children’s exploration and navigation of different topics intended for their holistic development.
We also take part in the UAE National Agenda through integrating innovation, social studies and moral education in our curriculum. Children in the FS are given diverse opportunities to innovate and make use of their critical thinking skills to solve different problems. They are also immersed in different information about the UAE which aims to strengthen their knowledge about the Emirati culture and heritage. Moreover, values are embedded in our planning to ensure that children learn about ways on how to contribute positively to the society. This year, children are oriented about the celebration of the Year of Tolerance and are challenged to acknowledge acts of tolerance done by their peers.
To provide descriptive and qualitative information on how children learn and develop, the SMM- FS makes use of observational notes in assessing children’s skills. This is supplemented by the use of Orison which generates the marks of children per learning area. At the end of the term, the attainment and progress of the students are calculated through Orison and the qualitative and descriptive remarks are kept with the teachers as evidences of learning and development. Children are marked emerging, expected and exceeding depending on their understanding of the topics presented in class.
We take pride in knowing that our FS 2 children move on to their next academic journey, Year 1, with vast knowledge and relevant skills to make them successful as they step up the educational ladder as young learners. On the other hand, FS 1 children adjust easily and grasp information quickly in FS 2. These are clear evidences on how we build our curriculum, plan our activities and prepare our children for the coming years ahead.