What is the Foundation Phase?

The Foundation Phase is a developmental curriculum for 3 to 7-year-olds in Wales.

It encourages children to be creative, imaginative and to have fun and makes learning more enjoyable and more effective.

Children will be given more opportunities to explore the world around them and understand how things work by taking part in practical activities that are relevant to their developmental stage. They are challenged with open-ended questions and given opportunities to explore and share their ideas for solving problems.

The Foundation Phase is based on the principle that early years’ provision should offer a sound foundation for future learning through a developmentally appropriate curriculum. It brings more consistency and continuity to children’s education at such an all-important period in their development.

The Foundation Phase places great emphasis on children learning by doing. Young children will be given more opportunities to gain first hand experiences through play and active involvement rather than by completing exercises in books. They will be given time to develop their speaking and listening skills and to become confident in their reading and writing abilities.

Mathematics will be more practical so that children can see how problems are solved and how important mathematics is in their everyday lives. There will be more emphasis on children understanding how things work and on finding different ways to solve problems.

The curriculum will focus on experiential learning, active involvement and developing each child’s:

  • Skills and understanding.
  • Personal, social, emotional, physical and intellectual well being so as to develop the whole child.
  • Positive attitudes to learning so that they enjoy it and want to continue.
  • Self-esteem and self-confidence to experiment, investigate, learn new things and form new relationships.
  • Creative, expressive and observational skills to encourage their development as individuals with different ways of responding to experiences.
  • Activities in the outdoors where they have first-hand experience of solving real-life problems and learn about conservation and sustainability.

This framework sets out the curriculum and outcomes under seven Areas of Learning. For each Area of Learning, the educational programme sets out what children should be taught and the outcomes set out expected standards of children’s performance.

A series of guidance documents and training materials have been developed to support practitioners in delivering the Foundation Phase curriculum.

The guidance and training materials can be downloaded via the Welsh Government’s website.

(Information above obtained from wales.gov.uk May 2012)

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