Our early years foundation stage teaching is based on the French curriculum, focuses on three main goals:
Ensuring that our young pupils feel safe and valued, and that they develop their confidence
Preparing pupils to learn basic skills by developing their language, which will be their gateway to further learning
Guiding children towards a love of learning, helping them to make progress and to develop social skills
The early years foundation stage is the first step to success for all pupils, and our school will strive to bring out the best in each child, to the best of his or her ability. We provide developmentally appropriate learning experiences, and establish close links between home and school. We aim to create opportunities for different learning paths:
Play is an important part of our approach, as it promotes the richness and variety of experience and social interaction. Our early years curriculum enables children to learn how to develop social skills and respect for others, and understand appropriate behaviour in groups. Children develop a positive sense of themselves as unique beings within a group.
Five areas of learning
Teaching is structured in five main areas, each of which is essential to the child’s development and form an integral part of the day-to-day activities.
Giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment, promoting comprehension by reading to them out loud, and encouraging children to link sounds and letters are our top priorities, and build the foundations for other areas of learning.
Physical and artistic activities contribute to children’s emotional, intellectual and social development, and help them improve their coordination, control and movement.
These activities ignite the imagination and provide opportunities for young children to experience new emotions and sensations. They enable pupils to:
Explore their physical abilities
Develop their movement and coordination
Better understand their position in time and space
Understand their body’s shape and image
This area of learning also aims to help children build social skills by cooperating with other pupils, forming positive relationships and developing respect for others, and valuing their differences.
Every child must partake in the physical activities in order to fight prejudice and contribute to building gender equality.
Physical activities contribute to health education by encouraging children to take pleasure in expending energy, no matter their level of ability, and by getting to know and respect their body.
We include a wide range of artistic activities in our teaching, from visual arts (painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, cinema, comic books, graphic art, digital art), to music (songs, instrumental, choir) and performing arts (dance, theatre, circus, puppets, etc).
We aim to give children a wide range of opportunities to explore different artistic modes of expression, so that they can have a solid foundation of artistic knowledge for the future, both personal and shared.
Discovering numbers and their uses
Since birth, children have an intuitive understanding of scale which enables them to compare and evaluate measurements of length, volume and quantity (“there are many”, “there aren’t very many”, etc). This perceptive capacity is a basis on which to build numeracy learning.
Basing our approach on the French early years curriculum, we progressively lead pupils to understand that numbers enable them to express quantity and rank, or a position in a list. This learning process takes time and requires exposure to a wide range of situations involving pre-numeracy and numeracy activities.
Exploring shapes, measures, sequences
Very early on in their development, young children acquire an intuitive understanding of shapes (a square, a triangle, etc) and of measures (size, capacity, weight, area…).
Our goal, over the 4 years of our early years programme, is to help them to get a better sense and a deeper understanding of shapes and measures, by manipulating and exploring the characteristics of everyday objects.
This approach will enable pupils to develop their language skills as well, as they describe objects and actions using mathematical language and identify specific characteristics. This will build a strong foundation for their future years in primary school, when they are taught geometry and measures.
Making sense of time and space
Exploring the world gives children an intuitive understanding of time and space in their immediate surroundings. This enables them to start making sense of their physical world, and to develop expectations and memories.
One of the aims of our early years curriculum is to progressively guide pupils to consider time and space as dimensions that are relatively independent of their current activities, and to treat them as such. We also help them to go beyond their own point of view and adopt other people’s.
Exploring the physical world: beings, objects, materials
When they start going to school, children already have a few notions of the world around them, thanks to what they have experienced in their day-to-day lives so far.
To help them discover more of the world around them, and to enable them to categorise and understand new things, our teachers plan activities that encourage pupils to observe, enquire in a more rational way, link several events together, predict consequences, and identify characteristics that can be organised. Pupils can then begin to understand the difference between objects, materials and living things. They are encouraged to handle everyday objects and materials and create new ones in order to discover their properties.
Acquiring good language skills is the key to a child’s success. In addition to activities specifically aiming to develop pupils’ language skills, physical and artistic activities enable interactions between language and actions, sensations, imagination, feelings and thought.
The areas of learning “Acquiring the tools for thinking and learning” and “Understanding the world” aim to develop an initial understanding of numbers and mathematical tools, help children explore their environment, and encourage questioning as well as initial independent critical thinking. We harness pupils’ natural desire to explore, discover and experience with hands-on, play-based interactions, in order to guide them to acquire new skills and knowledge. Teachers take on the role of facilitators, starting from pupils’ existing knowledge – which is linked to the past experiences – and building on it, enabling students to make sense of and categorise the world around them, which will lay the foundations for their future learning in primary school.