little explorers and the early years foundation stage
Little Explorers has been developed using the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and each aspect of our classes embody the Characteristics of Effective Learning (see below for more information). Every exciting large group session has an EYFS learning focus, taken from one of the Prime Areas of Development so whilst you and your baby are immersed in fun, your baby will also be developing their personal, language or physical skills. Many large groups focus on one of the Specific Areas in which your baby’s number skills or Understanding of the World are developed.
Children develop quickly in the early years. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework aims to give children the best possible start in life. It is used by child minders, private and day nurseries, pre-schools and in primary schools from nursery until the end of the Reception year, to ensure all children receive effective learning experiences from birth to 5 years old. It aims to develop all the skills and knowledge a child needs to be a successful learner for life.
The founding principle of the EYFS is that children learn through play and the ways in which they engage with other people and their environment. They do this through playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically – the characteristics of effective learning, which help children, develop across the three Prime Areas and the four Specific Areas. For more information about the Specific Areas visit http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/early-years-foundation-stage-2012/
the prime areas
*Personal Social and Emotional Development
*Communication and Language
These three areas develop very quickly from birth through relationships and a child’s response to the environment. Later on, they support learning and development in the Specific Areas.
how little explorers sensory helps your baby develop in the prime areas
Personal Social and Emotional Development
All effective learning and development begins with a strong and secure attachment between you and your baby; if all her basic needs are met then she can concentrate more clearly on the sensory experiences in her environment.
Little Explorers Sensory helps strengthen the bond between you as you enjoy discovering together, tuning into your baby’s needs. When your baby feels secure, she will be able to take more risks in her discoveries; she will be more curious, want to explore objects more fully with her eyes or by reaching further to bat, swing or bang objects. She will be in a more relaxed state during new experiences such as The Dark Den, and in any potentially upsetting situation, her body’s stress response will be at greatly lowered levels.
A strong and positive attachment lets your baby take more risks and make greater achievements, which increases her independence and self-esteem.
Communication and Language
Little Explorers Sensory helps develop your baby’s speech and language skills by providing a soundscape of sounds for your baby to listen and respond to. She will begin to differentiate between music, songs, sounds and voices as she listens to the themed music that changes each week; your commentary of her play; the talk of mums and babbles of babies and the differing sounds made by instruments and singing.
As you respond to her gurgles and words you are valuing her communication and encouraging her to continue to communicate. You may notice that she is using her own sounds or ‘words’ to name objects or feelings. As you talk to her about her the sensory play she will begin to understand simple meanings linked to the names of objects, action words such as shake, bang or stroke, and vocabulary such as soft, smooth, hard etc.
Little Explorers Sensory helps your baby begin to discover her own body; how she is separate from you, the different parts of her body and what they do. Younger babies particularly gain from the dry and messy sensations on fingers, hands, toes and feet and help them become aware of these body parts as theirs. She will begin to discover her abilities and her restrictions and become completely absorbed in her sensory explorations. Each class is specifically designed to help her practice movement at her current stage and to be gently encouraged to progress to moving in ever changing ways.
Little Explorers Sensory encourages your baby begin to move in different ways, such as twisting, rolling, crawling, creeping and walking to help your baby gain new perspectives of the environment around them and explore the delights and challenges this brings. It is important you do not compare her to other babies. Although gentle encouragement and challenges will help her realise she can move her body to achieve a desired effect she will only roll, crawl or walk when she is ready.
As your baby explores the environment she will have many opportunities to examine and differentiate between shape, colour and form. You will be able to extend your baby’s play by helping her inspect patterns; sort and match objects or note differences and similarities. She will begin to form ideas about shape space and measures: in messy play, your baby will make discoveries about capacity as she fills objects and containers or watches as you pour glittery scented water and she will begin to understand the concepts of heavy and light, big and small, long and short as she explores objects. This will feed into the skills and knowledge that form the Specific Area of Mathematics.
A pivotal milestone Little Explorers Sensory encourages your baby to reach is that of Object Permanence: understanding that when an object is out of sight it still exists. The use of transparent silk scarves and the mesh parachute help with this whilst still allowing your baby to see you and feel secure. Once she has understood this, a whole new world of discovery is open to her and Little Explorers Sensory provides exciting and creative means to do this.