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Hi, My name is Shona and I am studying for a BA Hounours degree in Early Childhood Studies. My current assignment is about the foundation stage. The question being:

"The foundation stage provides a flexible curriculum that takes into account the developmental needs of young children aged 3-5" Critically examine this statement and back up your conclusions through knowledge of the foundation stage and needs of young children.

Do any of you have any opinions or experiences that could help me?

Thanks! Shona

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Hi Shona,

Id be happy to answer any questions.You will need the Foundation Stage Guidance file for initial info.Perhaps you could bring in examples of how teachers work,use differentiation etc-see reception the best way forward on this site.

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Thanks for your help Johnboy. Basically this is the question for a seen exam on Tuesday. Our lecturer has been ill and we haven't exactly been given the best teaching on this subject. So I'm trying to find out as much as I can through my own research!

What do you think about the amount of time that children have to play within the foundation stage?

Thanks, Shona

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Hi Shona

Do you have the pink folder Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage? If you don't it's "The Bible" for all early years workers obtainable by accessing the QCA web site. If you do page 25 is all about play.

I run a pre-school, working with 2-5 year olds. Our philosophy is "Learning through play" and we strongly believe that is the best way for children of this age to learn. Everything we do is through play and the children we have in the group really enjoy their sessions with us and are learning at the same time-although they don't know this!! Children in the foundation stage should be playing all the time, no specific time set aside for "education" or "play". We have a free session first thing where the children can access a number of activities through free choice, with staff asking children if they would like to join in a particular activity, such as craft, number games etc. They are never pressurised into doing anything they don't want to.

If you have any questions I will be more than happy to help. Good luck.

Linda

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Hi Linda,

Thanks for your help. Yes, I do have the Curriculum guidance folder and I have had a look at page 25, this is very helpful, thank you. Does the foundation stage actually advocate that learning should be done through play? I have done a little research about the foundation stage and the early learning goals and I have been able to pick out all of the positive points. There are a few questions I have, if any of you could help me I would really appreciate it:

 

1. Have you got any criticisms of the foundation stage? How could it be improved?

2. Does the curriculum guidance for the foundation stage actually state the importance of play?

3. Would you say that the foundation stage provides a flexible curriculum?

 

Thank you to anyone who has took the time to read this.

Best Wishes,

Shona :o

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Hi Shona,

Welcome to the site

I agree entirely with Linda; EVERYTHING from the guidance can be covered through play, and very often, one activity can cover several stepping stones or early learning goals, eg a simple game throwing beanbags at chalked, numbered targets on a hard surface area can cover aspects in maths, physical, and personal, social and emotional development.

The FS curriculum is flexible; I believe that most activities that have ever been provided in a setting would address at least one stepping stone. In fact, it would be hard to devise activities for the children that wouldn't!

The assessment parts of the FS curriculum need a lot of explaining; many practitioners have had little training on observing and assessing children. That would be my main point in criticising the FS curriculum. Hopefully, we will all become competent in observations and using them to plan for the next steps in the children's learning. :)

And finally, the guidance clearly states that playing is the best way for children to access the curriculum. Hope this helps, and good luck in your exam.

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Hi Helen,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my message. Your input has really been a big help.

:o Thanks it is much appreciated.

Best Wishes,

Shona xD

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Hi shona working hard?

 

in the curricullum guidance look at page 11 which outlines the principles of good practice about the 8th paragraph down

 

"children do not make a distiction between "play" and "work"

 

I think this whole page is learning towards play centred activities

 

one critisim of the Foundation stage it should of been implemented years ago!

 

some reception class teachers are finding it hard to make the transition from work to play and some are finding they are under alot of presure from the other teachers to prepare the children for keystage 1.

 

play based curriculums are common across europe we are one of the few countries that starts formal teaching at the age of 5. The results of the Key stage 1 sats prove that formal teaching too soon doesnt give the children any advantages compared with children in europe. Play is the best way for children to learn.

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Hi Shona

I know it's difficult when you are working towards a qualification and people are giving their points of view which are not really facts. But, looking at the question you have to answer the word "flexible" jumps out at me!! I think that as practitioners we are duty bound to be flexible and sensitive to our own situations. Things change on a daily basis and we have to be able to be adaptable.

I feel that foundation stage workers have to be pro-active and if they feel strongly that play is the best way for children to learn, as I do, then we have to convince everybody else-including QCA and OFSTED!!

I do think that play is promoted in the foundation stage in the documents we now have-the page on play was added in the last shake up. It is up to the people providing the "curriculum" to make sure that it happens.

Linda

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By the way, if I have any criticisms of the foundation stage it is that at some times it does not go far enough.

The area in which my pre-school is sited is a middle class one with parents who are very active, on the whole, in their children's education. A lot of the children who are with us for two years, going to school in September, have reached and, for some, are beyond some of the goals. Not all obviously but a lot.

So, looking at mathematical development alone, most of the children have gone beyond counting to 10, recognising numerals to 9 etc.

One of the children in the group, a girl of 4 years 7 months, even knows about perspective in her drawings. She knew that the house belonging to the princess she had drawn was smaller than the princess because "It is far away". And this child has still got a year of her foundation stage to go!!!!!

And all this done through play!! We have to have the courage of our convictions and say that "PLAY" is the way forward.

Sorry if this seems a bit over the top but I am a strong believer in this philosophy.

Linda

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Hi Linda,

I loved reading your post about the little girl's understanding on perspective; thank you! :D

Your points about the curriculum not taking into account the high-achievers is an interesting one, too. Do you have any ideas how that issue could be added to the FS Guidance document, or do you think it should be left well alone, and settings could indicate exceptional achievement in their usual way?

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Hi! I had my exam yesterday and it seemed to go quite well. I'd just like to say a big thank you! to all who relied to my message. Your comments have all really helped me.

Thanks! :o

Shona

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