Foundation Phase Curriculum

Foundation Phase Curriculum (ages 3 – 7)

Children throughout school follow a curriculum designed to allow the holistic development of the child. This curriculum acknowledges that young children vary in the rate and timing of their growth and development and is underpinned by the principle of appropriateness, i.e. age appropriate and development appropriate activities do not always match. The curriculum sets out areas of learning and experiences and skills within them. These areas of learning are integrated and overlapping and provision is aimed at achieving the learning intentions.

The areas of learning include:

Language, literacy and communication skills

Language

To learn to read and write, children have to be able to listen carefully to the separate sounds in words and to connect them with the letters that stand for the sounds.

Reading

Children learn about reading and writing by noticing the print that is around them - the name of their favourite cereal at breakfast, signs for toilets,the golden arches which symbolise Macdonalds and of course the most frequently visited shops used by your family. They are already reading before you are even aware of it.

You and reading

Let your child see you reading - this is especially important for Dads. Talk about the sort of reading you have to do in your work. Read to your child and let them choose what they want to have read to them. Look around for something that you think will appeal to their interests. A good book for a child is one they want to read.

Have special times for reading with your child. Read the story in an interesting way and your child will want to join in. Ask your child what they think is happening and what will happen next. Point to the print at times so that your child begins to associate particular words and their shapes. Spend a short time reading with your child every day (say 10 minutes) and help them with tricky words. Make sure the sessions are short and fun and not as a chore at the end of the day.

Comics, websites, newspapers, sports programmes, joke books and instruction booklets are all good for reading practice.

Let them choose. If they choose something too easy this is probably because they are unsure of their skill and need to be reassured and encouraged.

Encourage them to work out the tricky words by making sense of the sentence, by breaking up the word into smaller bits or by sounding out the word.

Share the reading especially when they are tired.

Talk to your child about what you like to read and why. Reading should not be a mechanical exercise but something to be shared for pleasure. This time is special with your child. make the most of it. It won't be there forever.

Writing

Children learn about writing from seeing other people write, then beginning to understand the purposes and reasons for writing. Let your child watch you writing shopping lists, notes, letters emails etc. That way young children begin to understand what writing is for. They begin to learn that they can use writing to send a message.

The first scribbles are the building blocks for everything that comes later. All children move through the same stages as they learn to write. Ask your child to 'read' their writing back to you even if it looks like scribble to you.

Praise your child. This will encourage them to do more writing. Give them different reasons for writing, e.g. birthday cards, letters to Father Christmas, the Easter bunny, shopping lists, party invitations.

Only let your child use capital letters to start a name or a sentence  - Katie. If they learn to write all letters in capitals they will have to undo the habit at a later date.

Encourage them to sound out what they want to say. They may only hear one or two sounds in each word which is perfectly normal as these are the stronger sounds they hear. The rest will come later and it is important that you don't correct your child at this point or they will get too 'hung up' on writing correctly and forget what it is they want to write.

Personal and social development, well being and cultural diversity

In Personal and Social Development, Wellbeing and Cultural Diversity children learn about themselves, their relationships with other children and adults both within and beyond the family, the distinctive Welsh culture and other cultures that are part of the diverse society in Wales.

Concepts of fairness and justice are introduced and children are encouraged to think about and respect the feelings of others. The importance of motivation, perseverance, self esteem and a positive disposition to learning all have a significant role to play in children's learning and development.

Wellbeing is an integral part of learning and is associated not only with children's basic needs for safety and security, food and shelter, warmth and affection, but also with how at ease children are with themselves and their surroundings. It is now recognised that wellbeing is essential to becoming an effective learner and this area of learning is at the heart of the Foundation Phase Curriculum 3 - 7 and lies along with Numeracy and Literacy in terms of importance.

At Borras Park Primary School we ensure that children have opportunities to develop their skills as active thinkers, learners and decision makers and to interact with others -learning to help, share, co-operate, identify and solve problems. Children are valued and listened to, and we celebrate acts of kindness, personal achievements and emotional triumphs as they occur.

Mathematical development

Children's mathematical development and learning has to be meaningful for it to be effective. Mathematical activities need to be relevant and part of children's everyday lives and experience.

How you can help

To support children's understanding you can take advantage of practical, first hand experiences in everyday situations, indoors and outdoors.

We use numbers as labels to name things. We give cars numbers so that we know who the car belongs to. We give homes numbers so that everyone knows which front door is which. Children love to remember numbers that are special. They look for numbers that they know. Ask your child to spot numbers when you are out and about. As your child gains confidence recognising numbers, you can develop this further looking for bigger numbers and patterns in numbers e.g. odd numbers and even numbers on different sides of the street.

What better way to reinforce understanding of money than letting them help you with the shopping? Initially they will need plenty of opportunities to handle and use coins, and to build up and use relevant vocabulary, such as 'coins', 'how much?' 'change' etc. However they will soon get to grips sorting different value coins and begin to recognise different ways of counting in ones, tens, fives and twos. 

Children love to be challenged and to recognise patterns. This helps them transfer from the concrete understanding of things they see and associate with to making abstract connections in their brains. Once they become confident in making these connections they are well on their way to understanding Mental Maths. You can help by giving them plenty of problem solving activities so they can make sense of what is around them.

Maths should be fun. The more active 'hands on' activities that children experience, the more their confidence in predicting outcomes of problems will increase. You solve problems every day in your life e.g. I need to share this cake between four people, how are we going to do it? I need 20p to buy that biscuit, how much change will I get from 50p? Problem solving activities should be challenging and fun without being threatening.

Play games and enjoy having fun with numbers.

Welsh Language development

In a world that is fast becoming a global village, having a particular identity such as being Welsh, can be exciting and enriching.

Welsh Language Development within the Foundation Phase can:

  • help to encourage feeling of belonging and a sense of heritage, roots and community

  • support an understanding of the Welsh culture

  • offer a path into new cultural and social opportunities such as literature, music, film, television and theatre

Young children in the Foundation Phase will be given an opportunity , through play/active learning, as well as story and structured activities, to acquire sufficient familiarity with Welsh to encourage further language learning and positive attitudes towards Welsh.

Children at Borras Park Primary School acquire and absorb Welsh through a holistic curriculum, through structured play, and through having a specific structured  progressive programme. Language skills learned in one language support their development of knowledge and skills in another. Often the children will use both languages simultaneously; for instance 'Can I have an afal please?' or 'Is it time for gwasanaeth now?'

Knowledge and understanding of the world

Knowledge and Understanding of the World relates to children's everyday lives, their homes, families, other people, the local environment and community, and the wider world.

Through different types of play, active, and experiential learning opportunities as well as practical activities, children will be provided with meaningful experiences.

These will stimulate their senses as well as encourage them to ask questions, explore and wonder at their environment. They will undertake investigations that engage their interests, and develop awareness of the beliefs and views of others.

When they are developing their knowledge and Understanding of the World children will be learning about:

  • Places and People

  • Time and People

  • Myself and other living things

  • Myself and non-living things

Physical development

This area of learning relates to the development of children's body control and co-ordination of large movements, fine manipulative skills, spatial awareness and balance. It also focuses on children's knowledge and understanding of a healthy lifestyle upon which physical well-being depends.

Physical and cognitive development  are closely linked, especially during the early years. Problems with a child's physical development can be an indication that a child may have some learning difficulties.

The sequence of physical development involves firstly gross motor skills that require control of large muscles in the body, arms and legs. This is followed by development of fine manipulative skills, which depend on small muscle co-ordination. As children progress and become more confident , improvement in co-ordination of gross and fine movements will continue to develop and new skills will be learned.

Children cannot learn a new skill until the muscles are sufficiently developed, and the activities and resources provided should be suitable for their developmental needs.

Creative development

Whenever possible, links will be made with artists, craft-workers and designers. The children's work is regularly displayed on classroom walls, in the hall. Music aims to foster pupils sensitivity to, and understanding and enjoyment of music through an active involvement. 

Spiritual and moral development and Curriculum Cymreig are also included.

Borras Park Community Primary School

Borras Park Road

Wrexham, LL12 7TH

Tel: 01978 346890