Our Early Years follow the curriculum as outlined in the 2021 statutory framework of the EYFS. The EYFS framework includes 7 areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected. However, 3 areas known as the prime areas are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
The prime areas are:
▪ Communication and language
▪ Physical development
▪ Personal, social and emotional development
The prime areas are strengthened and applied through 4 specific areas:
▪ Understanding the world
▪ Expressive arts and design
We are fully committed to providing a rich curriculum that inspires minds by supporting learning, consolidating and deepening knowledge and ensuring that children achieve their personalised next steps. Both our indoor and outdoor provision demonstrates a thorough knowledge and understanding of the way in which our children learn, through planned and purposeful play opportunities. We work closely with the pre-schools that feed into our school to ensure that children are prepared for the Reception year as they join us, and that we can continue building on their existing learning journey. Through the time spent in Reception, we prepare our children to achieve the Early Learning Goals by the end of their academic year and aim to ensure that all children have made good or better progress from their individual starting points. Our ultimate goal is to guide children through this stage of their learning, nurturing hearts with consideration given to the importance of physical, social, mental and emotional well-being throughout, as we prepare our children with the understanding and skills needed for the next stage of their learning journey. We recognise that children need to leave Reception with confidence in their own abilities and demonstrate resilience, and we know that what children learn in the first years of life will stay with them forever. We understand that building secure relationships with children and their families at this early stage is key, to enable us to know how we can allow children to achieve their upmost in their early years.
As a team we follow the EYFS framework and ensure that the learning opportunities and experiences we provide are clearly linked to both the Prime areas (Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development) and Specific areas (Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts) of learning. We begin each year by looking at the individual needs of our children and their different starting points and with this information in mind, we are then able to plan a range of broad and balanced learning experiences. We place huge importance on the development of children’s vocabulary, the importance of talk and the vital early reading skills.
Staff use their knowledge of the Characteristics of Effective Learning through “Learning Gems" to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the ways in which our children are motivated to learn, and that children can also recognise this in themselves. We know that all children are unique, with their own individual interests and it is for this reason that we believe a balance of child and teacher led activities is vital in order for our children to become fully engaged and excited by their learning. We aim to observe skills that have been taught by the teacher through play, so that we recognise how a child has understood a concept through transferring their skills to a new situation. We want our children to be independent in accessing quality play-based experiences that encourage them to observe, question, wonder and engage in thinking and reasoning skills. This is supported by our stimulating environment both indoors and outside, which staff review and enhance on a regular basis.
Effective interactions between staff, children and regular home/school communication ensures that our curriculum planning and provision is flexible and meeting the needs of individuals. We use the online learning journal Tapestry to celebrate children’s achievements in school and/or observations, share our learning for the week and to communicate home learning. It is also an opportunity to share our weekly learning (via a showcase video). Tapestry also offers the opportunity for parents/family members to send in information about their children’s news and achievements outside of school and this provides us with a clearer, well-rounded picture of our children. Regular parent’s meetings and an open door policy ensure that parents are kept up to date with their children’s development and progress and are fully aware of how they can continue to support their children’s learning outside of school.
Impact We make every effort to ensure that all of our children make good or better progress during their time in EYFS. Children who achieve the expected standard within the Early Learning Goals have the knowledge and skills needed to continue to maintain the good progress they have made in Key Stage 1 and beyond. The EYFS team complete a “Strength and Gap Analysis” half termly to ensure that the provision offered is able to support gaps in children’s learning whilst extending areas where further challenge is required. We understand that when assessing children against the Early Learning Goals, children need to be secure in these and have the ability to maintain these levels as they enter KS1. Effective communication between all of our EYFS and KS1 staff enables us to carry out regular internal moderation sessions. We also ensure that staff attend external meetings and training to confirm that their judgements are consistent with a range of other settings. In addition to regular formative observations, staff input summative data on a half-termly basis and complete their own data analysis records to ensure that children’s progress is monitored carefully, the impact of actions are evaluated and next steps are identified, including the need for carefully planned intervention where appropriate.