The Foundation Phase (FP) is a Welsh Assembly Government, national reform covering the combined 3-5 Early Years and Key Stage 1 provision (children aged between three and seven). In September 2004, the first stage of the pilot commenced in 41 pilot settings across the 22 local authorities in Wales for 3-5 year olds only. The 41 pilot settings will continue in 2005-2006 with Year 1 children (and some Year 2 children where mixed classes are operating) coming on board in the maintained sector and similarly Year 2 in 2006-2007.
The Foundation Phase proposes a continuum of learning for children from the ages of 3 to 7. The new curriculum is based on the current Desirable Outcomes for Children’s Learning before Compulsory School Age (ACCAC 2000), and links in with the Programmes of Study and focus statements currently in the National Curriculum for KS1. It contains seven areas of learning (AOL), which are:
personal and social development and well-being;
language, literacy and communication;
bilingualism and multicultural understanding;
knowledge and understanding of the world;
The Foundation Phase advocates children learning through first hand experiential activities and play and places a child’s personal and social development and well-being at the heart of the curriculum.
The Monitoring and Evaluation of the Effective Implementation of the Foundation Phase (MEEIFP) project is an evaluative study, commissioned and funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. This is the first year of a two-year evaluation, which is focused on implementation. Throughout the evaluation the MEEIFP team has worked closely with all the pilot settings and has consulted widely with all major stakeholders as well as some Welsh early years specialists.