An introduction to the Foundation Phase
The Foundation Phase is implemented within schools in Wales for children from ages 3-7 years old. This new exciting curriculum was introduced into Nursery and Reception classes back in September, 2008. By September 2011, all classes from Nursery up to Year 2 have implemented the Foundation Phase framework. The education which is offered within the Foundation Phase is totally committed to the child’s holistic development – the child is central to the learning.
The education and activities encompass the needs of the child, and this through the medium of play. By participating in structured play activities, the child nurtures various skills and unique, valuable experiences.
All these opportunities are crucial for the child as they contribute to the child’s development as a whole.
The 7 learning areas
There are seven individual learning areas which are included within the Foundation Phase framework, along with Religious Education as an additional subject.
The seven Areas of Learning are:
- Personal and Social Development, Well-Being and Cultural Diversity
- Language, Literacy and Communication Skills
- Mathematical Development
- Welsh Language Development
- Knowledge and Understanding of the World
- Physical Development
- Creative Development
These areas are colligated into learning activities – they are not treated and taught individually. Frequently, learning opportunities are planned under a specific theme, and the 7 learning areas pleat naturally into one another.
The Welsh language
One of the learning areas is ‘Welsh Language development’. Our establishment operates through the medium of Welsh – we encourage every child to adopt and use the language within their time in our company. Our belief is that every child should have the benefit of using two languages fluently, as the Welsh language is as essential as the English language by today. Without a doubt, the ability of speaking both languages fluently will be extremely beneficial for your child within the future.
Why is outdoor learning so important?
Learning in the outdoor environment is beneficial for various reasons:
- It’s exciting and motivates children’s learning
- The outdoors means that they use their 5 senses.
- It promotes independence
- It develops children’s natural curiosity to explore, and their empathy towards our natural environment
- The outdoors has a great effect on children’s wellbeing and their whole development: socially, physically, culturally, personally, whilst also developing their cognitive skills.
Will my child still learn to read and write?
In the Foundation Phase emphasis will be placed on developing children's speaking and listening skills that set a solid basis for the development of reading and writing.
Many young children enter education unable to talk about their feelings and experiences. These children are not motivated to read and write and see little value in the activities. Children who can share their feelings and talk about their experiences are far more motivated to record their thoughts and to read what others have written. It is important therefore, that all children learn to speak about their experiences and to listen to others so that they will want to develop the skills of reading and writing.
If children enter education with well developed speaking and listening skills then staff will support them in moving forward. What will be important is that children are given the experiences that respond to their needs that will help them to learn successfully.