The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework
The British International School of Houston’s approach is constructivist-based, enquiry-driven, and concept-based following the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework from the UK. This draws from the best teaching approaches around the world, such as Reggio Emilia, Anji Play, and Montessori methods.
What We Believe About Our Littlest LearnersAt BIS Houston, we believe:
- Each child is unique.
- Goodness and compassion are present in every child.
- Children are curious, creative, natural inquirers, and they’re motivated by their own interests.
- Children learn through exploration and play.
- Children learn through their mistakes, and mistakes should be celebrated.
- Teachers and children guide and facilitate learning together, co-constructing their knowledge as a group.
- Relationships are fundamental.
- School gives each child the opportunity to develop their learning in the ways that suit them best.
- School should provide learning experiences that value the whole child.
The Goals of Our Private, International Preschool in HoustonWith these things in mind, the British International School of Houston’s Early Years programme develops early academic knowledge, skills, and understanding.
BIS Houston’s programme specifically:
- Recognises that children come with personal histories and strengths, which provide a foundation for working with them.
- Provides a safe environment that supports the needs and learning styles of each child as an individual.
- Provides open-ended, self-directed provocations to nurture child-initiated enquiry and wondering.
- Encourages children to re-visit experiences and use trial and error methods.
- Welcomes children’s approximations and supports children and adults to view challenge, struggles, and mistakes as positive creative opportunities for learning and growth.
- Provides opportunities for children to interact with challenging questions and enquiries of real importance to themselves and the world.
- Encourages children to listen to each other and show respect for others’ ideas and knowledge.
- Provides time for play and deep exploration.
- Offers children opportunities to communicate their ideas through multiple means of expression, including performing arts, visual arts, creativity, and movement.
- Fosters a sense of belonging through caring, nurturing, joyful, and collaborative environments.
- Encourages relationships through connections between children, families, and educators.
- Features teachers as researchers who continuously reflect on their observations to help children develop.
The Three Prime Areas of DevelopmentThe British ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ (EYFS) Framework provides the scaffolding of the children’s learning and development at the British International School of Houston. There are seven areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected.
Within this, there are three essential aspects of children’s natural development that are crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, including building their capacity to learn while helping them form relationships and thrive.
These three areas, called ‘Prime Areas’, are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social, and emotional development
The British International School of Houston also supports children’s learning through four ‘Specific Areas’, through which, the three Prime Areas are strengthened and applied.
The Specific Areas are:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
The Characteristics of Effective Learning
Underpinning all the Prime and Specific Areas are the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning':
- Playing and exploring
- Active learning
- Creating and thinking critically
These Characteristics of Effective Learning are the key traits of successful learners and how we empower children to develop and apply their acquired knowledge throughout their earliest years. Such characteristics are essential for future learning and later success.
During their time in Early Years, children’s learning is continually assessed across all seven areas of learning against the Early Years Learning Outcomes to inform ‘next steps’ in learning and to help teachers plan responsively for each child’s individual learning. The Outcomes are also used to track children’s learning throughout their time in Early Years and to support their transition into Primary School.