Early Years Foundation Stage
Pupils in Nursery and Reception work within the framework of The Early Years Foundation Stage.
The curriculum is organised in the 7 overlapping and integrated areas of learning:
See a curriculum overview here.
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical development
- Communication and Language
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
The Early Years classroom is a very busy place where pupils pursue their learning in groups, as a class or individually. Themes are planned around the children’s interests. Play is a very important part of children’s learning and this is reflected in the inside and outside learning environment. Pupils in our Nursery and Reception classes have a mix of Physical Development through timetabled lessons and provision within their learning environment.
All of the areas of learning and development are interconnected to the characteristics of effective learning, which are ‘playing and exploring’, ‘active learning’ and ‘creating and critical thinking’.
Intent, Implementation and Impact
Intent: why do we teach what we teach?
At Claydon Primary School we believe that our Early Years Foundation Stage is crucial to developing firm foundations to be built upon throughout our school journey and beyond. It is our intent that the children who enter our EYFS develop physically, verbally, emotionally, creatively, intellectually and spiritually whilst embedding a positive attitude to school and learning in order for each child to achieve their full potential. We set high expectations throughout all areas of school life and beyond. We believe that all children deserve to be valued as an individual and we are passionate in supporting all children to achieve their full, unique potential and high aspirations for themselves.
Our curriculum is designed to provide our pupils with what they need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. We embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking.
Many of our pupils arrive in line with national expectations for their age, although we are seeing a growing number of children who require support with communication and language development. As such, we prioritise personal, social and emotional development and communication and language in the Nursery curriculum. Our enabling environment and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. As the pupils move into Reception, we invest time and energy into helping pupils set and reflect on their own goals by aiming high and developing a love of reading, writing and number. This is delivered through a curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking following children’s interests and ideas. We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and curiosity in learning through a vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips and visits.
Implementation: how do we teach what we teach?
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have high quality directed teaching in English, Maths and phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED. In Reception English sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets. This focused group time means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow a systematic synthetic phonics program developed by us to meet the needs of our children using letters and sounds guidance. This enables our children to develop the key skills they need to be strong readers. Carefully planned English teaching using the Power of Reading ensures that children are exposed to a range of high-quality texts. A love of reading is embedded through enticing reading areas and regular story session, all adults are aware of the value reading brings to children’s development.
We follow the Maths Mastery approach in EYFS with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. Nursery pupils begin to develop these key skills during regular Maths sessions where they explore sorting, quantities, shape, number and counting awareness. These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional intervention and support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or moving on children who are doing very well. This includes, for example, Welcome; targeted phonics intervention, and targeted Maths intervention. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part of all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations of children.
We tailor our staff PD to be early years specific and are focused on moderating outcomes across the phase so that every member of our team feels confident in making accurate judgements about where individual pupils are and their next steps for learning.
Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
Our curriculum needs to meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, so we spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning. ?This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences. Every member of staff uses ongoing observational assessment to identify children’s starting points and plan experiences which ensure progress. We use this information on a weekly basis to plan learning experiences and next steps so that knowledge and skills are built cumulatively. During each assessment window, three times a year, teachers update the progress children have made onto Insight which provides us with data that shows where the children’s gaps and strengths are. This then allows us to effectively plan the provision in our environment to support and challenge learning. We use Tapestry as an online Learning Journey tool which keeps parents updated and allows them the opportunity to contribute to their child’s Learning Journey.
Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress. During their time in our EYFS, children meet the national expectation for GLD at the end of the year. We believe that our children make good progress due to the safe, stimulating environment that allows children to discover, be challenged, consolidate and achieve their very best whilst developing their resilience and independence.