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Teaching and Learning Approach

In Exeter Deaf Academy’s Early Years department we play and learn together.

All Pre-Schools, nurseries and child-minders are governed by the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS, DfE 2014). Our Early Years department supports the guiding themes and principles of the EYFS, believing that every child is unique and can learn and develop when provided with positive relationships in an enabling environment. For this reason adults follow the child’s lead, supporting their play so each child can become an effective, motivated learner.

The three characteristics of effective learning are:

  1. Playing and exploring – We call this engagement. It’s the time when children are finding out and exploring, playing with what they know and being willing to ‘have a go’.
  2. Active learning – This is motivation. It’s about being involved, concentrating and developing the desire to keep on trying so children can enjoy achieving what they set out to do.
  3. Creating and thinking critically – We call this thinking. It means children can have their own ideas, make links and choose ways to do things.

(Development Matters: DfE 2012)

At Exeter Deaf Academy we also adopt the ‘Development Matters’ non-statutory guidance material to support the implementation of the statutory requirements of the EYFS. (EYFS, DfE 2012)

Your child will develop initially in three Prime Areas of the EYFS which are:

  1. Personal, Social and Emotional Development - The Early Years children join the primary children for several activities each week including ‘Forest School’ and Snack/Break/Lunch times. They can also engage in weekly play sessions at St Leonard’s Pre-School, which adjoins the Deaf Academy. These sessions give all children, both deaf and hearing, the opportunity to play and learn together.
  2. Communication and Language - At the Deaf Academy students and staff use both British Sign Language (BSL) and English. In Early Years we use BSL, Cued Speech and spoken English. We also have Early Years Intervenors who are trained to communicate with people who are deafblind. Intervenors provide the visual and auditory information necessary to enable the deafblind person to interact with other people and their environment. Deaf children who are reluctant to sign can benefit from Intervenors using hand-under-hand signing so they can experience what it feels like to sign.
  3. Physical Development – Our Early Years children join the primary children for regular weekly swimming classes and daily ‘Fun Fit’ exercises which are designed to improve a child's coordination and underlying postural stability and balance. Fun Fit is delivered in many Devon schools for 15 minutes each day.

As and when your child is ready our Early Years activities will develop their learning in the four Specific Areas of the EYFS which are:

  1. Literacy
  2. Mathematics
  3. Understanding of the World
  4. Expressive Arts & Design