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 in Wales.
Objectives: The foundation phase curriculum objectives are to promote and provide support for children's holistic development, through an appropriate child centred curriculum.
The Foundation phase environment should promote discovery and independence and a greater emphasis on using the outdoor environment as a resource for children's learning.
In Wales, statutory education begins in the term after a child's "fifth", birthday.
The term 'early years' covers the ages of 3 to 7.
The Foundation phase is a distinct curricular phase within the curriculum for Wales - a phase with its own separate character. This has been fully implemented in Sept. 2008.
Seven Areas of Learning in the Foundation Phase
Personal and Social Development, well-being and cultural diversity
This area of learning focuses on the children learning about themselves, their relationships with other children and adults. They are encouraged to develop their self esteem, their personal beliefs and moral values. The foundation phase supports the cultural identity of all children, to celebrate different cultures and help children recognise and gain a positive awareness of their own and other cultures. Children are supported in becoming confident, competent and independent thinkers and learners.
Language, literacy and communication skills
This area of learning focuses on children being immersed in language experiences and activities. Their skills develop through talking, singing, communicating and listening. They are encouraged to communicate their needs, feelings and thoughts and retell experiences. Some children will communicate by means other than speech. Children refer their intentions by asking questions, voicing/expressing opinions, reacting to situations and making choices through a variety of media. They are encouraged to listen and respond to others. They have opportunities to choose and use reading materials, understanding conventions of print and books and are given a wide range of opportunities to enjoy mark making and writing experiences.
This area of learning focuses on children developing their skills, knowledge and understanding of mathematics by solving problems. They use number in their daily activities and develop a range of flexible methods of working mentally with number, in order to solve problems from a variety of contexts, moving onto using more formal methods of working and recording when they are developmentally ready. They investigate the properties of shape and sort, match, sequence and compare objects and create simple patterns and relationships They use appropriate mathematical language to explain their reasoning and present their work in a variety of ways using objects, pictures, diagrams, words, symbols and ITC.
Welsh language development
This area of learning focuses on children learning to use and communicate in Welsh to the best of their ability. Skills are developed through communicating in a range of enjoyable, practical planned activities and using a range of stimuli that build on and increase children's previous knowledge and experiences. The children?s oral experiences should be used to develop their reading skills. They should listen to a range of stimuli, including audio visual material and ICT interactive software.
Knowledge and Understanding of the World
This area of learning focuses on children's experiences the familiar world through enquiry and investigation. Children are given experiences that increase their curiosity about the world around them and begin to understand past events, people and places, living things and the work people do. They learn to demonstrate care, responsibility, concern and respect for all living things and the environment. They learn to express their own ideas, opinions and feelings with imagination, creativity and sensitivity.
This area of learning focuses on children's physical development. Enthusiasm and energy for movement is continually promoted through helping them to use their bodies effectively, by encouraging spatial awareness, balance, control and co-ordination and developing motor and manipulative skills. Children are encouraged to enjoy physical activity and their developing sense of identity is linked closely to their own self-image, self esteem and confidence. Children are introduced to the concepts of health, hygiene and safety and the importance of diet, rest, sleep and exercise.
This area of learning focuses on children developing their imagination and creativity through the curriculum. Their natural curiosity and disposition to learn is stimulated by everyday sensory experiences. Children engage in creative, imaginative and expressive activities in art, craft, design, music, dance and movement. Children explore a wide range of stimuli, develop their ability to communicate and express their creative ideas and reflect on their work.