Our overarching aim is to provide the secure foundations for future learning and development by building knowledge, concepts, skills and vocabulary, thoroughly, successfully and sequentially over time. It is our intent that children in Early Years ‘learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe’. By continuously ‘aspiring to be the best we can’ we aim for our children to have high aspirations for themselves as learners, to develop a sense of personal pride in achievement and to believe by having an ‘I will’ and an ‘I can’ attitude, they will succeed. We offer a curriculum based on the educational programs in the EYFS statutory framework and work hard to provide a stimulating learning environment that promotes challenge, exciting opportunities, exploration, adventure and a real love of learning. We consider which themes, stories and experiences will stimulate and build upon our children’s knowledge, skills, vocabulary and communication within the Prime and Specific Areas but remain flexible enough to respond to children’s interests. We understand that play is an integral component of children’s learning and is at the heart of our Early Years curriculum. We believe that a mix of adult directed teaching and uninterrupted play inside and out ensures the best outcomes for all pupils.
Our EYFS provision is inclusive, it values all cultures, communities and people and it is our intent that all children are confident and independent and interact positively with each other. Our Key Worker approach allows for positive, warm and supportive relationships between children, families and staff. Consistent routines and positive behaviour management allow children to feel safe and confident.
Historically, data tells us that many of our children enter school with much lower levels in Communication and Language and so we have responded by planning provision rich in opportunities to develop language and vocabulary to enable our children to communicate and learn more effectively across all Areas of Learning.
Children build knowledge and skills through a carefully balanced provision of both adult directed and child initiated activities. Quality first direct teaching time is given to Oracy skills, vocabulary building using ‘Talk Through Stories’, mathematical concepts using White Rose and a Maths Mastery approach and reading skills, decoding and comprehension are taught through Read Write Inc.
Crucially important to the delivery of the curriculum is the ability for children to deepen, widen, revisit and remember their experiences and maximise the breadth of their learning opportunities. This is implemented and achieved through the carefully planned environment, allowing children to explore through independent learning.
All children will leave Early Years with a developing sense of self and an understanding of being part of a team. They will have developed a love of learning and perseverance in the event of challenge, which can be observed by focusing on their levels of engagement, commitment and resilience. Progress of all children is monitored carefully across the Prime and Specific areas and steps are taken to fill any gaps in knowledge and skills swiftly and precisely. Development of the whole child is the impact of our carefully planned curriculum.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
A UNIQUE CHILD - Observing how children are engaging with their learning informs our next steps in teaching and identifies their specific individual needs in order to provide them with the environment and experiences to nurture their development, resilience and confidence.
POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS – Through building positive relationships children learn to be brave and independent. All adults model the skills, behaviours, attitudes and language needed to make and maintain respectful relationships. Children feel safe and happy, they flourish in a calm and kind environment where there are high expectations for behaviour and clear communication skills are employed. Each child has a key adult with whom they and their families have a positive, respectful and supportive relationship.
ENABLING ENVIRONMENTS - A carefully planned environment allows children to experience exciting, engaging and rich learning opportunities. Children are able to work through relevant and progressive learning opportunities using independent exploration both indoors and outside.
COMMUNICATION LANGUAGE AND READING - Reading is at the heart of the EYFS curriculum. Children have daily RWI phonics sessions in small groups with some children also benefiting from specific interventions to meet individual needs and component knowledge gaps. Children take part in a guided reading session after each phonics lesson using carefully targeted texts to apply new learning and practice fluency. Children who do not have the opportunity to read at home are read with daily at school. Whole class approaches involve the sharing of exciting and engaging stories, rhymes and poems. Children listen to, read and talk about a wide range of quality books and rhymes. Through these planned activities children practice using their listening and communication skills and join in with repeated phrases, rhymes, acquiring new vocabulary whilst building on their existing knowledge of the world around them.
THE CHARACTERSITICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING
In EYFS we refer to the Characteristics of Effective Learning. Understanding the importance of these and the ways that children display learning behaviours is central to our observation of children and key to ensuring that all children make progress throughout all the areas of learning.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning are:
- Playing and exploring – engagement, finding out and exploring, playing with what they know, being willing to “have a go”
- Active learning – motivation, being involved and concentrating, keeping trying, enjoying achieving what they set out to do
- Creating and thinking critically - thinking, having their own ideas, making links and choosing ways to do things
Our curriculum is comprised of the Prime Areas and the Specific Areas of learning. The Prime areas and Specific areas are intrinsically interconnected.
The Prime areas are entirely fundamental and they are:
- Communication and Language
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
The Specific areas build on the key knowledge and skills of the Prime Areas of learning.
The Specific areas are:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design. These include essential knowledge and skills for children to participate successfully in society.
Remembering, revisiting, recalling and applying our knowledge and skills is key to how children move progressively in their learning and development.
In EYFS we practice our early reading skills daily using our RWI phonics sessions in Reception and daily stories, rhymes and poems in Nursery. We carefully select quality core texts and additional stories, rhymes, non-fiction texts and poems to teach new and exciting vocabulary providing challenge and extension whilst also allowing continuous opportunities to repeat and revisit language and vocabulary that is familiar to them.
The Curriculum is carefully sequenced so that prior knowledge is remembered and applied and new learning can be added and consolidated.
We practice our mathematical skills daily through direct teaching and child led activities following White Rose maths. Number is linked to shape and to pattern. Learning is sequenced so that children become confident with number recognition, corresponding shape and the entire story of each number. The daily use of ‘Flashback 4’ in Reception classes allows children to retrieve, revisit, apply and explain their skills and knowledge in a variety of ways.
On entry to EYFS at Katesgrove Primary school we use the required Government Standardised Baseline Assessment and our observations of the children to understand their starting points.
We use Tapestry (a digital learning journal) to record each child’s achievements and development. This is shared with families and carers. These events are captured in the form of observations that are linked to the areas of learning and development and the characteristics of effective learning. ‘Wow’ moments are recorded on Tapestry to demonstrate learning and progress.
Target Tracker is used to log each child’s achievements and our curriculum plan and intent is used to inform each child’s next steps in learning.
Teacher’s in Reception assess each child’s phonics progress termly using the RWI assessment and phonics groups are adjusted accordingly.
At the end of the Foundation Stage (EYFS) the statutory summative assessment is undertaken (EYFS Profile). Each child is said to be emerging, expected or exceeding in each ELG (Early Learning Goal) across all areas of learning. This forms the basis for transition discussions with the Year One teachers.
STATUTORY AND NON-STATUTORY GUIDANCE FOR STAFF
Statutory Framework for EYFS
EYFS Profile Handbook 2020
Early Years Inspection Handbook
Early Years Outcomes
Interschool and LA Moderation workshops
RWI Handbook and planning
White Rose Maths Resources