The Early Years Curriculum at Rosebank
The Early Years Curriculum is divided into 7 areas of Learning and Development, 3 Prime areas and 4 Specific Areas.
The Prime areas of learning are seen as the basis for learning in other areas of the curriculum. The Prime Areas of Learning are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical skills
Independence and self-help skills are a priority for our children so opportunities to develop these are incorporated into all aspects of the curriculum.
However, as noted above for children on the Autistic spectrum difficulties with social interaction and communication often mean that they learn in different was which necessitates practitioners using different approaches to help develop their skills in the Specific Areas of Learning:
- Mathematical Development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Some of our children will develop interests in numbers and reading far ahead of their typically developing peers in the early years. These skills can produce a very uneven profile of development. In some cases children can appear to be very skilled with number or reading but they are unable to interpret what they have read or to use their knowledge of numbers to solve problems or do calculation. Therefore at Rosebank we endeavour to use these interests and to help the children fill in gaps in their learning which may result from their special interests in numbers, letters, cartoon characters, pictures etc.
We place strong emphasis in the Early Years on preparing children for later learning believing that in order to help children develop their learning skills we must endeavour to help them understand the world around them, express themselves through a variety of media and give them the communication skills and tools to help them develop personally, socially and emotionally.
Development of communication lies at the heart of our curriculum. We use a variety of strategies to support children’s communication both receptive and expressive. On entry to Rosebank children come with a wide range of communication styles and skills. Our priority is to ascertain the children’s understanding of both verbal and non-verbal communication and their ways of communication with those around them which can range from spoken language to non-verbal behaviours. We give children the opportunity to develop a variety of methods of communication including PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) as well as using simple spoken language.
Through careful observation and assessment of the children’s ways of learning and interests, activities and opportunities for learning are modified and adapted to meet individual children’s level of development and their learning styles. A range of approaches are used to help develop children’s learning including free play, sensory play, music and movement sessions, small group sessions, TEACCH, Communication Boards and books.
A termly topic is used as the basis for Adult led teaching sessions. This is modified as necessary depending of the children’s response to activities. Daily opportunities for outdoor learning within the enclosed Early Years play area and the wider school grounds are planned into available activities. Outings to a variety of different environments including shops, the forest, garden centres, parks, places of interest are carried out on a weekly bases to enhance the curriculum and give opportunities for first-hand experience which the children need. This has been limited by the coronavirus pandemic. The children have access to a range of technology equipment including computers and iPads to enhance learning opportunities in all areas of the curriculum.
Each child has a SEND Profile with outcomes and targets linked to their Education and Health Care Plan, Speech and Language targets and targets set on their individual pupil support plans. Work on these is incorporated into daily routines and individual specific teaching times throughout the week. Sensory programmes are developed for individual children. These are carried out throughout the week as part of the integrated curriculum and in individually planned sessions.
Computing is taught as part of Understanding the World in the Early Years Foundation Stage. At Rosebank we develop this through early play with mechanical toys and real objects such as cameras and phones. Computer programmes controlled through the touch screen and the mouse are used with the children. At Group times the interactive board is used extensively with children learning to complete simple programmes and get information from the computer.
Assessment and Recording of Progress
As shown above children on the autistic spectrum can develop at differing rates and ways to their typically developing peers. Therefore, at Rosebank in addition to using the Early Years Foundation Stage (2020) guidance and Development Matters (2020), we also use the Autism Education Trust's (AET) Progression Framework to show the development of a range of skills.
All the staff working with the children contribute to observations of the children’s progress and learning through a learning journey on Tapestry. This allows all staff to record progress and significant achievements and experiences for the children. Parents are actively encouraged to contribute to this record of progress by making comments about what is shared and sending in their own observations. This helps the class teacher to see a holistic picture of the child.
The class teacher will use the information from staff observations to assess the Range at which the child is working in the 7 areas of learning in the EYFS and record the child’s progress. These observations and assessments will be used to inform planning and develop new learning opportunities.
The Early Years Curriculum at Rosebank School is designed to meet the specific needs of our children and their unique learning abilities. We do not expect our children to learn in the same way as typically developing children in a mainstream environment. We are able to provide an environment which better suits the children’s needs and adapt the curriculum to suit unique learners taking into account their strengths and areas which need development. All successes and efforts are celebrated to develop a love of learning for every child.