“The National Curriculum lies at the heart of our policies to raise standards. It sets out a clear, full and statutory entitlement to learning for all pupils. It determines the content of what will be taught, and sets attainment targets for learning. It also determines how performance will be assessed and reported.” (The National Curriculum, 1999, p.3.)
This essay will examine both the National Curriculum and Foundation Stage Curriculum guidance and how they outline good practice. It will explore the needs of children of different ages and how the curriculum is set out to encourage their learning. It will look at the role of the adult in the early year’s curriculum and how they plan and implement the curriculum. This essay will also explore into relevant research such as EPPE and its findings on early years provision. The studies of theorists such as Piaget, Froebel and Montessori will be looked at in relation to good practice and their influences on current beliefs relating to the way children learn. This essay will also explore government strategies and how they have influenced the way children are educated. Overall this essay will examine the National Curriculum and the Foundation Stage Curriculum and how they are designed to encourage good practice.
In 2000 the government formally introduced the Foundation Stage Curriculum as a distinct phase of education for children aged 3 to 5 years. This was to follow up the introduction of The Early Learning Goals in October 1999 and was to give practitioners guidance on how to help children make good progress and to help the practitioners understand what the goals mean. The guidance was formed through the QCA working with early year’s practitioners and experts. “The purpose of the guidance is to help practitioners provide learning and teaching experiences of the highest quality throughout the foundation stage, while allowing them to respond flexibly to the particular needs of the children, families and community with whom they work.” (Foundation Stage Guidance, 2000, p.3)
The Foundation Stage guidance sets out in detail what can be reasonably expected of children at different stages in their development, it also gives examples of activities that will help the children to learn. The guidance also discusses the role of practitioners and introduces the good practice that helps towards effective education. The guidance is set out in an easy to use structure and is organised into six main areas of learning. It also sets out ‘stepping stones’ to help practitioners know how to help children achieve the main early learning goals step by step. The Foundation Stage guidance clearly sets out principles for early years education; these principles have been drawn from good and effective practice in early years settings. The principles clearly set out how settings and practitioners can carry out good practice and effective education. The principles for good practice as set out in the Foundation Stage curriculum is as follows • Parents and practitioners should work together
• No child should be excluded or disadvantaged
• Early years experience should build on what children already know and can do • Practitioners should ensure that all children feel included, secure and valued • Effective education requires both a relevant curriculum and practitioners who understand and are able to implement the curriculum requirements • There should be opportunities for children to engage in activities planned by adults and also those that they plan or initiate themselves • Practitioners must be able to observe and respond appropriately to children • Effective education requires practitioners who understand that children develop rapidly during the early years • To be effective, an early years curriculum should be carefully structured •...