There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. 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 are labelled the prime areas (see table below). Prime areas begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas. Prime areas are fundamental, work together and move through to support development in all other areas.
Early years provision must also support children in four specific areas, (see table below), through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas and provide important contexts for learning. Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.
Areas of Learning and Development
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Self-confidence and self-awareness
Managing feelings and behaviour
Moving and handling
Health and self-care
Communication and Language
Listening and Attention
Shape, space and measure
Understanding the World
People and communities
Expressive Arts and Design
Exploring and using media and materials
Each area progresses through age related stages to the final ‘Early Learning Goals’ at 40-60 months. It is appreciated that children do not all conform to these and may vary in the speed at which they achieve them. A final assessment of a child’s progress through the seven areas of Learning and Development towards the Early Learning Goals takes place in the academic year in which a child turns five (Reception).
It must be emphasised that all learning at St Aloysius Catholic Primary School Early Years will be through fun, creative and stimulating activities. Our children will be given the freedom to select from a range of activities during a session, which we believe increases their desire to learn.
The Learning and Development areas are given a meaningful focus by employing the children’s own ideas and interests and allowing them to feel a valued part of the whole planning and learning process. Comprehensive record keeping will allow us to check that each child is getting what s/he needs to ensure a supportive and stimulating nursery experience. Every child will have a “learning journal” to put pictures in and examples of their learning so parents have a record of their time with us.