The Areas of Learning in Early Years
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in Early Years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.
Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
These three, the prime areas, are:
The Foundation Stage curriculum covers seven areas of learning:
Prime Areas – These are usually developed first and are essential for future learning:
Specific Areas – As children grow, the prime areas help them to develop skills in:
The Prime Areas of Learning
Communication and Language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment, to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves, and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Physical Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive, and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others, to form positive relationships and develop respect for others, to develop social skills and learn to manage their feelings, to understand appropriate behaviour in groups, and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Specific Areas of Learning
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials including books, poems and other written materials to ignite their interest.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, and to describe shapes, spaces and measures.
Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive Arts and Design involves encouraging children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance role-play and design technology.
In Early Years, we encourage and support children to develop the following characteristics of learning: