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Early Years

INTENT – The EYFS Curriculum

As a school, we believe that the early foundations of education are imperative to all that follows in the lives of children in today’s world.  Our EYFS Curriculum provides a solid base for children to develop as lifelong readers, change makers, risk takers, creators, be inquisitive, healthy and happy.

Our intention is for all children to reach their full potential through strong pedagogy, relationships and environments, recognising the importance of parental partnerships between home and school. We celebrate and welcome differences amongst ourselves, our community and the world and support children in their progress equally. Children with particular needs, including SEND, are supported appropriately enabling them to succeed.

Our EYFS Curriculum covers seven areas of learning and development which are all carry equal importance within our holistic approach.

Prime areas

  • Communication & Language
  • Personal, Social and Emotional
  • Physical Development

Specific Areas

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the worlds
  • Expressive arts and design

Our intention is for all children to achieve a good level of development by the end of EYFS by meeting the early learning goals. We are strongly committed to providing a play based approach for children which will ensure high levels of engagement and autonomy alongside challenge and feedback. Our pedagogy is underpinned by the overarching principles of a unique child, positive relationships, enabling environments with teaching and support from adults and the importance of learning and development. Woven into this is a constant drive to celebrate, investigate and play with language. Vocabulary is made explicit in all areas of the curriculum and staff model higher order language and conversations.

Safeguarding and welfare is a high priority in our school. Risk assessment and health and safety monitoring is a key part of school life ensuring children can be free to explore environments in a safe and stimulating manner. Health and wellbeing are embedded in our routines and practices.

IMPLEMENTATION – Rationale

The EYFS overarching principles are interlinked within the implementation of our EYFS curriculum.

The implementation of our EYFS curriculum begins with the EYFS Educational Programmes, ensuring that we provide wide, varied and rich experiences for our unique children. In order to guide our progression, we have adopted Development Matters and use these objectives within each of the seven areas of learning. Further skills, Our Skills, have been carefully developed in conjunction with subject leaders to enhance our curriculum offer. More specifically, we follow Letters and Sounds as our chosen phonics programme and White Rose Maths as a guide to mathematics which is enhanced with a diverse diet of mathematical opportunities.  The H&A 21 are twenty one key experiences offered to our pupils throughout school. Beginning in EYFS, children will be presented with wider opportunities and experiences including visits and visitors.

Play is at the heart of our curriculum. We believe it is the natural and instinctive way that children learn and we exploit this to develop an ethos of negotiated learning. Specialised early years practitioners observe, support, guide and discuss children’s play following Weiss’s concept of S.O.U.L.  (Stop. Observe. Understand. Listen.) The art of the practitioner is to recognise where the child is at in their learning so that s/he does not remain in a ‘safety zone’ of known activities, schemas and areas of provision.  In order to promote children in their development and learning, we have developed our own approach called ‘Jigsaw Learning.’  (Separate reading ‘Jigsaw Learning,’ Saunders, M 2016 ). Jigsaw Learning provides true, meaningful and purposeful experiences personalised to each individual.

Children should be fully absorbed in the classroom’s climate of learning; they will demonstrate a deep commitment to activities they undertake and make links between past and present learning. Challenges and depth of thinking should be pitched precisely by practitioners in order to guarantee learning is taking place. Constant practise and application of skills, concepts and knowledge will take place.

Our environment, inside and out, is created to be organised, stimulating and irresistible to learning opportunities taking place.  We provide a wide range of permanent areas of learning supporting the entire curriculum breadth. The planning process for these resources considers how areas and resources will naturally and automatically be used by children, allowing practitioners to observe children in their environment; assessing their interests, abilities and ‘characteristics of effective teaching and learning’ which in turn leads to quality interactions. Enhancements are thoughtfully provided in order to guide and stimulate learning opportunities.

The characteristics of effective teaching and learning are ‘playing and exploring,’ ‘active learning’ and ‘creating and thinking critically.’

A typical day in our setting includes a balance between teacher and child led activities, play based learning and directed tasks, large group, small group and one to one sessions.  Our children will be exposed to daily phonics, reading and maths sessions. Language and storying is embedded into every moment of our routines. As our youngest children work closely with Year one children, they will also take part in whole class focused sessions based on further specific areas of learning such as religious, geographical or historical themes. This knowledge is skilfully suggested, encouraged and applied within their play based learning.

We recognise the importance and instinctual nature of observing children within our setting. Practitioners use both formal and informal observations of children to follow a plan-do-review cycle in order to support learning, ensuring it is specific to each and every unique child demonstrating understanding of their intricacies. Some observations may be recorded by staff to ‘remark on the remarkable’ or ensure progression follows in their play. Planned, adult directed tasks provide an accurate pitch of learning in order to carefully lead learning forwards. Children receive instant feedback; adults use these interactions to craft next steps in learning.

Practitioners work closely together to ensure the uniqueness of each child is provided for amongst our environment and relationships. We believe children are included in this relationship, expecting them to commit to our high expectations. Parents are highly valued and recognised as the first educators of our children. We strive to develop strong relationships with parents in an approachable and informative manner.

Transition to Year 1 is a significant milestone for young children. For our children, this move is smooth and progressive due to the structure of our classes. EYFS children are taught in the same class as Year 1 children therefore ensuring that although they have moved to the National Curriculum, their daily routines, practice and adults remain the same. Careful, planned progression of routines and expectations throughout their first year of schooling prepares them for a solid start in Year 1.

IMPACT

The impact of our rich, stimulating environment combined with skilful, committed practitioners will be the successful development of our children as unique learners. Our children will have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the next part of their learning journey complemented by being highly driven, confident learners who show perseverance, resilience and creativity. They will be confident to talk to different people, demonstrating their achievement in conversation and vocabulary. They will be kind to themselves, peers, community and the world.

Parents will feel fully informed and important to their child’s school life through daily interactions with practitioners, written notes within ‘reading diaries,’ information and updates at ‘parent events’ and written reports.

On entry to school, children will complete the Reception Baseline Assessment. This will be used to contribute to the analysis of impact of their wider education at our school leading to Year 6 outcomes.

We will be able to demonstrate the impact of our EYFS curriculum though the progress children make towards achieving the 17 early learning goals and a ‘good level of development’ when completing the EYFS Profile. Each of the 17 aspects of learning will be graded according to teacher knowledge of the child. Children will either be at an ‘expected’ standard or ‘emerging’ standard. The early learning goals are a destination for our learning journey within EYFS.  In order to consider impact, we will use key checkpoints through the year to ensure children are moving towards these in all areas of the curriculum.  Our ongoing observations, interactions and discussions will underpin this ‘assessment for learning’ cycle ensuring impact on the child’s progress.

The EYFS curriculum is not intended to be a checklist of items to achieve, instead it is a guide towards a destination. We will use Development Matters statements on an online curriculum tracking tool – Insight – to monitor this direction.

Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum will be robustly analysed to ensure we continue to deliver high quality, effective early years practice.