The Foundation Phase is a distinct curricular stage within the curriculum with its own separate character. It is tailored to suit the needs of young children whilst complementing and promoting the learning stages of the Cambridge curriculum.
The Foundation Phase Curriculum Framework includes the following sections:
- Foundation Phase Curriculum Aims
- Foundation Phase Curriculum Objectives
- The Developing Child
- Areas of Learning
Foundation Phase Curriculum Aims:
The Foundation Phase curriculum aims to excite and stimulate children’s learning, improve their attainment and to secure the best possible start for all children at MCS. It aims to provide a learning continuum in all areas of learning and development and flexibility to meet the diverse needs of all children. The curriculum aims to help children learn and develop their thinking skills and to acquire positive attitudes towards lifelong learning.
Foundation Phase Curriculum Objectives:
The Foundation Phase curriculum objectives are to promote and provide support for children’s holistic development, through an appropriate child centred curriculum. Partnerships with the home and other agencies are fostered to assist with the smooth transition from home to school and to develop positive links and relationships that assist children in their learning throughout the Foundation Phase and on to the next key stage as confident learners.
The Developing Child:
Educators must understand how children develop and plan an appropriate curriculum that takes account of children’s developmental needs and the skills that they need to grow to become confident learners. Account also needs to be taken of barriers to play, to learning and participation caused by physical, sensory, communication or learning difficulties. The importance of emotional development and well-being must also be recognised.
The experiences that the children have had before entering the school/setting need to be recognised and considered. It is essential that children have access to a variety of media to express themselves and ample opportunities to apply their imagination in a purposeful way.
Children acquire and develop skills at different rates and must be allowed to develop at their own unique, individual pace. As children learn new skills they should be given opportunities to practise them in different situations, to reflect on and evaluate their work. In all aspects of their development, children’s own work should be respected, valued and encouraged for its originality and honesty.
The following are the skills and development areas that teachers will need to plan for across the curriculum to ensure that all aspects of children’s development are catered for. These skills and development areas sit alongside and lead the learning and teaching in the curriculum across the areas of learning, with personal and social development and well-being at the centre.
Areas of Learning:
Areas of learning have been identified to describe an appropriate curriculum for 3-8 year olds that supports the development of children and their skills, (The Developing Child). They must complement each other and work together to provide a cross curricular approach to form a practical relevant curriculum. They should not be approached in isolation. Emphasis is placed on developing children’s skills across the areas of learning, to provide a suitable and integrated approach for young children’s learning.
The areas of learning are:
- Personal and Social Development, Well-being and Language,
- Literacy and Communication Skills
- Mathematical Development
- Bilingualism and Multi-cultural
- Understanding Knowledge and Understanding of the World
- Physical Development
- Creative Development.
The Foundation Phase aims to enhance the learning experiences which enable children to be creative, imaginative and have fun whilst learning. The curriculum focuses on the developmental stages through which each child progresses, placing greater emphasis on experiential learning and active
involvement to develop the following:
- Skills and understanding.
- Personal, social, emotional, physical and intellectual well-being.
- Positive attitudes to learning so the child will want to continue his education for longer.
- Self-esteem and self-confidence to experiment and learn new things.
- Creative, expressive and observational skills.
- Outdoor activities where the child has first-hand experience of solving real-life problems.
The Foundation Phase underpins all future learning to develop a “whole-brain” child by promoting:
- personal, social and emotional well-being
- positive attitudes and disposition towards learning
- social skills
- knowledge and understanding of the world
- physical development with the emphasis on gross-motor and fine-motor skills
- creative and enquiring minds.
The Foundation Phase has been designed to help all children flourish, whatever their stage of development or learning ability. It promotes discovery and independence and places emphasis on using the outdoor environment as a resource for children’s learning.
The curriculum is built around ten Areas of Learning, where stimulating, structured play activities can be woven into the learning experience: