The entitlement for pre-school early years is free for 15 hours per week for 38 weeks a year. This is funded from central government for up to 2 years per child before full time school starts. The early years foundation stage is to help young children achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes of staying safe, being healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution, and achieving economic well-being. The main principles are to develop a unique child, positive relationships, have an enabling environment and learning and development.
While the curriculum is very specific and has important outcomes, children should experience it in a holistic way through play and other relevant experiences, which may include stories, poems and songs. The curriculum main sections are;
• personal, social and emotional development: o Play activities where children learn to co-operate, learn to take turns, learn to share, experience the therapeutic value of working with materials and can explore their emotions. o Stories, rhymes, music and drama. o The environment. o Personal health and hygiene.
• Physical development.
• Creative/aesyhetic development. o Painting and drawing. o Paper, card, wood, fabrics and scrap materials. o Malleable materials. o Music.
• Language development.
• Early mathematical experiences.
• Early experiences in science and technology.
• Knowledge and appreciation of the environment.
The curriculum emphasises the importance of children being given choice and being valued as individuals. There is no pressure placed on the children and all the learning activities are fun and what the child chooses.