The EYFS is all about facilitating early learning, it's not a curriculum that should be followed prescriptively. Indeed, prescriptive learning lies far from the aims of the EYFS. Children have developed through learning since the dawn of humankind, and the EYFS doesn't bring us anything radically different in our approaches to learning for preschoolers, it simply encourages particular types of learning to stimulate the important parts of early development.
For this reason, it's not possible to pigeonhole an activity and say 'this is an EYFS activity'. You would be hard pushed to undertake any activity that didn't cover at least one of the bases of the EYFS areas of learning. However, certain activities cover certain areas of learning better than others.
At ToucanLearn, we offer hundreds of actvities that, for our premium members, are all categorised by EYFS areas of learning. Most of our activities predate the EYFS, but they were designed with the same aims of the EYFS, to promote health early years development. As a young carer, you should observe the way that your wards are developing and should aim to promote those areas where you perceive work is needed. Babies develop at different rates but generally conform to a linear pattern, hitting goals in a very similar order. If you observe that your little ones might be struggling with gross or fine motor skills, or in the development of language, then actively seek out activities that will help to promote these areas. At ToucanLearn you can achieve this simply by searching for an activity covering a particular area of learning.
Do continue pursuing activities in all the other areas of learning too - babies are developing rapidly so even if progress is good, or even better, continue visiting activities that you know they will cope well with as practice, repetition and the sheer fact that they are engaged in activities will all help their early development.
If you have stumbled across this entry inadvertently, then please do visit our main site, ToucanLearn. Sign up for free and access hundreds of preschool activities. If you're a professional childminder then you will find that we offer lots of services to help you fulfil the EYFS, and hopefully we can play a small part in helping your little ones achieve their potential in life.
Shape sorters feature in every nursery and offer a great way for babies to begin to understand the world around them and how they interact with it. Research over the last few years, however, suggests that babies learn shapes regardless of whether they have access to these sorts of manufactured toys. Studies of babies born in developing countries, without access to the toys we enjoy in the Western world, confirm that they are just as able to differentiate between different shapes regardless.
This prompts thinking that babies have a disposition to recognise lines that don't change as an object or shape moves in space before they recognise more complex shapes that do. For example, they can see that straight lines remain straight while an object moves, even though the angles between lines change, making them harder to recognise.
This research helps us begin to form an understanding of how babies really begin to understand the world around them which in turn will allow us to develop aids that may help and accelerate children in their learning.
Of course, shape sorters aren't just about learning particular shapes - they also help develop fine motor skills as babies practice picking up objects, rotating them in their hands and guiding them through holes on another object. The ability to post objects through holes offers the first steps towards being able to pick up and control objects in the wider world.
Early skills form an essential part of the Early Years Foundation Stage - make sure that your babies are interacting with objects in a nursery setting and you are already following several Areas of Learning!
It has been suggested by Jean Gross, Communications expert and adviser to the EYFS Review, that the equal weighting given to the areas of the EYFS may do better if it were changed.
Currently the six areas of learning and development are given equal weighting throughout the age range it covers.
However, there is talk of changing the weighting especially in the younger age ranges. Perhaps there should be an increased emphasis in the personal, social and emotional development and the communication and language areas.
Ms Gross has in he past spoken about the importance of bonding and attachment between babies and their parents and the value of talking to your baby! ToucanLearn agrees and as our activities with babies demonstrate, there is so much you can do to start the "conversation" and bonding with your babies by simply chatting to them. They can't speak back to you, or contribute to a conversation, but they look, watch and listen and learn as you talk to them and involve them in your life! This can only be a good thing!
More research will follow and decisions will be made as to how, if at all, EYFS will change.
In the first few months following birth, your baby is experiencing the world through its senses, and it is those experiences that help form connections inside the brain and these connections that shape the individual mind of your baby. At birth, a baby is barely able to see but they have an acute sense of smell. At three days old they can recognise the smell of their mother's breast milk and the odour of their parents, yet they can still see only centimetres in front of them. They have an innate ability to recognise faces and are attracted to faces close by.
By three months their brains have developed considerably and they are able to control themselves better - they can choose where to look rather than being fixated on moving objects nearby. They might move their arms and legs seemingly randomly, but this is helping them to build up muscles, an essential component on the way to being able to roll, crawl and later walk. This movement allows them to interact with their physical surroundings and this intensifies the rate at which the brain develops as it is exposed to new experiences. Research shows that babies who are denied the opportunity to interact physically with their surroundings develop at a slower rate so it is particularly important to work with babies suffering physical or mental disability to ensure that they can develop as best they can.
Interacting with your baby is especially important even during these early months - try to spend time with your newborn baby stimulating them. Stimulate their vision by exposing them to high contrast patterns and making movement in front of them; stimulate their hearing by playing background sounds and music, and rattling toys in front of them. Stimulate their sense of feel by touching stroking them and letting them hold your fingers and baby toys.
It would be easy to ignore your newborn baby and leave them lying in another room for their first few months while you get on with the chores you have to do, but the more time you can spend with your baby, the more rewarding for both you and your little one!
Don't forget that here at ToucanLearn we have activities suitable from birth onwards. Our early activities are simple and aimed at helping to stimulate early development in your child. All our activities link into the Early Years Foundation Stage Areas of Learning and Development, so you can monitor that you are giving your baby a broad range of activities even at this early stage.
ToucanLearn has just got better - all our activities now link to the Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of learning! Over the last few months we've been working to tie in our activities to the government's curriculum for preschool children (from birth to 5 years). There are six areas of learning, each broken down into different focal points, click here to read more specific information on each of the areas and their constituent parts.
Our EYFS information is only available to PREMIUM Members - but annual PREMIUM membership costs less than a pizza! PREMIUM Members are able to search for activities with a focus on each of the six areas of learning, making planning really easy. Record your activitiy in your blog and over time you will see which areas you have covered and in how much depth.
Whilst EYFS is of primary interest for childminders, carers and nannies, the easy way in which ToucanLearn presents this information makes it easy for parents to follow a government led learning path without having to invest time in understanding the wider EYFS programme.
This is the first in a series of new features coming over the next few months, so watch out for our further announcements!!
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Sign up FREE to ToucanLearn to follow our activity based learning programme for babies, toddlers and children. We offer hundreds of fun learning craft, games and activities - every activity is aimed at the capabilities of your specific children. Download custom activity sheets, and log their progress in each child's unique Daily Diary!
You'll also find sticker and reward charts, certificates, number and letter practice. Every activity links into the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of learning and development.
Fill in our Daily Diary to log progress against the EYFS and add photo entries instantly simply by sending them straight from your phone. You can share diaries back with parents or childminders so that everyone can enjoy watching your children develop.
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