Early Years

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Early years and foundation stage practitioners across Birmingham have embraced the 2007 syllabus enthusiastically. They found many areas in their programme where the dispositions could usefully lead the teaching and learning. At the Springfield Project, Angie King, the Head of Centre, which has an intake of mainly Muslim children, said:

“The Early Years and Foundation Stage focuses on the whole child. so it’s all about every area of a child’s life, and spirituality is a really important part of that”.

 Ranjit Singh Dhanda, Principal of The Nishkam Free School told us:

“It’s just as likely that our staff will plan from the dispositions as from the Early Years and Foundation Stage documentation. We have copies [of the dispositions] in every classroom, the children like them. A parent visited recently and noticed that the master copy, framed on the office wall, was missing. She asked, ‘Where have the dispositions gone?’The practitioner’s answer was simple, “They are out there, in the children. They’ve dissolved all around into the nursery!’”

Years practitioners can use the website to map between the dispositions and the current Early Years and Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. For example, the dispositions underpin ‘A Unique Child’ and ‘Positive Relationships’ and are central to ‘Learning and Development’.

There is an EYFS DVD film which is recorded in settings where work has started following the 2007 Agreed Syllabus. It introduces the aims and shows how the new approach to Religious Education is built into everyday practice. Whilst the provision of Religious Education is not a legal requirement in the early years as it is for 5-18 year olds in school, the film demonstrates how practitioners and leaders find the syllabus useful both during planning and in reflecting on children’s activities.

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Zahida Hussain, Headteacher  of the Al-Furqan primary school and a member of Birmingham SACRE summed up what these materials mean for many Early Years and Foundation Stage practitioners, when she said:

“It is very important for children in the foundation stage to begin to be exposed to faith. By ‘learning from faith’ they begin to understand who they are, and the community in which they live, both of which help their personal development.”