The Seven Areas of Learning and Development
All areas of learning and development are important and interconnected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:
- communication and language
- physical development; and
- personal, social and emotional development.
There are also four specific areas, through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied. These are:
- understanding the world; and
- expressive arts and 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.
Literacy Development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write.
Reading: Children are given to a wide range of reading materials and we encourage children to enjoy favourite stories, rhymes, songs and information books. This develops into handling books for themselves, understanding the concept of a word and linking their increasing phonic and keyword knowledge. Reading books matched to a child’s ability are sent home and we encourage parents to read with their child ‘little and often’ and add comments in their reading record book.
Writing: Children’s early writing starts with simple mark making and develops into an understanding that letters represent sounds and combine to form words which convey meaning. The teacher teaches specific writing skills whilst also providing opportunities to experiment and practice writing through many classroom opportunities. An important part of a child’s writing development is watching adults model writing, so parents can help at home by showing how and why you use writing in different contexts, for example when making shopping lists. Children are taught the correct way to form letters in a systematic way using our school handwriting style.
Phonics and Spelling: Children are introduced to the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme to develop letter recognition and knowledge of sounds (phonics). They will practice the skills of ‘blending and segmenting’ sounds in words. We also teach them spelling rules and how to spell commonly used words.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating and simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures. We use a combination of teacher led and independent activities. We use investigations and problem solving activities to develop their understanding and apply their skills. The use of lots of practical activities means that there is limited use of formal recording at this stage.
Physical Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive, and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children are helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food. The children participate in a range of activities including dance, gym and games.
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.
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 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.