In Caterpillars the main focus is on developing the Prime Areas of Learning. These three areas Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development support learning in all the other areas. The prime areas continue to be fundamental throughout the EYFS.
Prime area -Communication and Language
Caterpillars regularly take part in activities designed to develop listening and attention skills, understanding and vocal skills. Class staff build special relationships with the children and get to know what resources, activities and experiences each child will find motivating to encourage the development of communication skills. During song box and story time pupils are exposed to the use of props, symbols and Makaton signing. We use resources developed by Speech and Language Specialists to help support progress in this area. Children have Makaton regularly modelled to them and are encouraged to sign themselves or vocalise where able. They may be introduced to Communication Boards or more personalised Communication Books if this is appropriate. These resources use symbols to support communication for children with limited expressive language ability. Non-verbal Drama sessions take place weekly supported by specialist staff from the Birmingham Repertory theatre helping to promote children’s interaction and creativity skills.
Prime area -Physical Development
Children are regularly offered opportunities to explore different ways of moving as is appropriate to the individual, developing both the gross motor skills and fine motor skills needed for a range of tasks. Caterpillars Staff work closely with our Physiotherapy Team to support each child’s physical development daily. The team work hard to support children in becoming more independent, for example teaching children about managing eating and drinking themselves if it is appropriate or communicating their physical needs. Children also explore a range of sensory activities on a regular basis to support development, such as sand and water play, messy play and food play. Children take part in swimming and PE sessions with specialised teachers and regularly use the soft play area.
Prime area -Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Caterpillars class is often a child’s first experience of being away from their Primary Caregiver for any length of time. Adults in class are sensitive to this and Keyworkers ensure that they provide each child with warm and caring experiences to help promote bonding, resilience and self-esteem. Children have opportunities for individual sessions and take part in activities where they can experience working with other children with adult support and build relationships with those around them.
As the EYFS lends itself to a very cross-curricular way of working, children also have opportunities presented to them which support aspects of learning in the specific areas too, for example learning about how we use books, exposure to number songs and taking part in different cultural celebrations as part of whole school festival days. Children also experience a wide range of creative media such as play dough, paint and collage.