While the 'prime' areas of learning are most important, we also support children's development of the 'specific' areas of learning in their early years.
During their time in the early years children need lots of opportunities to practise the skills required to read and write; the development of communication and language as well as physical skills are fundamental. Such opportunities should include reading together regularly, looking at print in books and the environment, encouraging children to have a go at writing letters (such as those in their name) and listening to sounds in words (for example cat = c-a-t). At Highlands we follow the 'Letters and Sounds' phonics scheme as well as 'Jolly Phonics' songs.
'Letters and Sounds' phonics scheme:
'Jolly Phonics' songs:
Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks for later learning. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding - such as by using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting - children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of maths is built.
Understanding the World
Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world.
Expressive Arts and Design
The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts.