Early Years Foundation Stage

Intent

In our Early Years, we believe in providing a safe and nurturing environment where children flourish and become independent, confident learners. We aim to develop the whole child, socially, emotionally, creatively, physically, academically and spiritually.

Our curriculum is flexible and child-led, to ensure children’s interests are valued and they make progress from their individual starting points. We offer the children real, first-hand experiences, which provide a secure knowledge base about their local area, as well as the wider world. We also celebrate stories together, enjoying songs and rhymes, to enhance the children’s vocabulary and understanding.

Well thought out and engaging provision is planned to develop the children’s curiosity, problem solving skills and love for learning, both inside and outside. Our curriculum also places the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning at the core of everything we do. We aim for our children to be confident and resilient learners, who are able to meet challenges with a positive mindset and a ‘can do’ approach.

We form supportive partnerships with parents and carers and together we are committed to giving our children the best possible start to their school life so that they are able to reach their full potential.

 

Area of learning: Intent:
Personal, Social & Emotional Development We develop the children’s social skills, enabling them to make friends, work and play cooperatively and to resolve disagreements. We support the children to have confidence in themselves and encourage them to share their ideas and opinions. We develop independence and an understanding of how to care for our bodies to keep healthy and safe. We teach the children how to behave responsibly, and children and adults work cooperatively to establish a safe and productive classroom environment.
Communication & Language Developing confident and skilled communicators is at heart of everything we do. We develop listening skills and ask children to respond to and talk about what they have heard in stories and conversations. We teach new vocabulary in practical contexts to widen the children’s understanding and oracy skills. We listen to each other and chat, always valuing everyone’s contributions.
Physical Development Gross motor skills are developed and challenged in our outside area and opportunities are given to improve children’s strength, balance and coordination. Children are taught to be mindful of themselves and others and negotiate space carefully.  Fine motor skills are developed through a range of activities, so that children have the strength to hold tools, such as pencils, with control.
Early Reading We learn through stories and rhymes to develop the children’s vocabulary and understanding, as well as story language which can then be used within their writing. We aim to foster a love of reading that will stay with the children forever.

Read, Write Inc phonics systematically develops the children’s early reading skills to decode and blend a range of texts.

Early Writing We aim to develop confident writers. All writing is valued and celebrated, from making marks to writing sentences. Children are supported to write within their play and the process is shared and supported by adults.
Early Maths Key maths skills are taught practically within the children’s play and discretely during group sessions to develop the children’s early understanding of the number system. Practical resources enable the children to count, sort and explore making numbers in different ways. A huge focus is given to the children developing their thinking and knowledge of early maths skills so that they are able to explain using mathematical vocabulary and solve a range of problems.
Understanding of the World We place a huge importance on widening the children’s understanding of the world and giving them real, first-hand experiences, encouraging them to become explorers. This includes walks around the local area to give them a sense of belonging and understanding of the community they live in and nature around us, visits to museums and local attractions to develop their world knowledge and vocabulary, and visitors into school to help them recognise people with key roles in society and encourage aspirations amongst even our youngest children. We support the children to respectfully understand similarities and differences between cultures and traditions, and to understand change over time.
Expressive Arts & Design We aim for the children to express ideas within their play using a range of creative resources and techniques, as well as through music, role-play and dance. The children are encouraged to make independent choices within the learning environments and their creative play is supported, celebrated and valued.

Implementation

Planning

At Wheatlands School EYFS we believe planning should be based around the needs and interests of the children. We have long term plans that remain flexible to provide the best learning opportunities for the children at the time. Short term (weekly) planning always follows the long term overview as well as being interest led.

Key to successful Early Years practice is an enabling environment. At Wheatlands we are carefully planning our continuous provision to ensure it meets the needs of our children and the new curriculum. Our provision ensures the children’s gaps in learning are addressed and that there is sufficient challenge to ensure children remain engaged and active learners.

Environment

Our continuous provision areas are based on the Early Excellence principle of using high quality resources that provide a range of open ended learning opportunities to ensure the children can follow their interests and meet their next steps. We fully recognise the importance of the outdoor environment and ensure children have access to the wide range of opportunities this provides as often as possible.

Assessment

On-going formative assessment is at the heart of outstanding EYFS practice. At Wheatlands, EYFS practitioners aim to engage and be involved with children during their play based activity, across all areas of learning. Through this, teachers are able to gather a clear picture of where children are in their learning and any gaps they may have.

We provide effective and focused intervention for those children who are finding learning challenging and are not on track to meet expectations at the end of the year. This will be provided in an inclusive way and support from parents is also enlisted at an early stage to ensure that the children have every chance to achieve the Early Learning Goals. We use Seesaw as an online learning journal to record and share the children’s learning with their parents.

Staff meet regularly to discuss observations made and use them to plan the next steps in learning. In addition to the learning opportunities outlined in the long term planning we use the outcomes from observations to inform planning for children, acknowledging their interests and facilitating their next steps in learning.

Timetable

Our timetables are designed to create balance between whole class tasks, child initiated and adult-led play based learning. We aim to give the children enough time to engage and be involved in their learning. We value the importance of outdoor learning and fully recognise the benefits it has.

Reading

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start. The aim is to expose children to a range of quality books that not only develop a love of reading, but have been chosen specifically to develop their oracy, vocabulary and comprehension. The books on our EYFS Core Reading Spine are embedded in our provision through activities and story sessions. The books are kept on display for children to access independently. Through this, children begin to internalise new vocabulary, language patterns and begin to retell stories.

Phonics

In line with school policy we use the Read Write Inc program to teach phonics. We deliver discreet phonics sessions daily and aim for the children to practice and apply these skills during real and meaningful activities. Children in Nursery develop their skills in Phase 1, ensuring they are proficient at oral blending before moving on to phase 2.

 

Maths

In Reception we use the White Rose Maths Scheme as a resource to support the delivery of our curriculum. High quality learning environments and meaningful interactions with adults, support children in developing mathematical thinking and discussion. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives and pictorial structures and representations which are then rehearsed, applied and recorded within their own child-led exploration. Children in Reception have daily adult-led maths inputs to develop fluency, revisit key concepts and address misconceptions.

In Nursery, children develop a love of maths through games, songs, rhymes, and play using concrete manipulatives. There is a focus on the following counting principles; one to one correspondence, stable order and cardinal principle. Children’s fine manipulative skills are a focus to develop 1-1 correspondence so children count each object only once.

Experiences

We love to provide children with opportunities that enhance the curriculum. We go on visits to support this and have a particular focus on our local area. Walks in the local areas and the woods are a regular event. We ensure that all of our visits are learning related and will provide the spark for further immersion in a theme or project.

The team in EYFS work tirelessly to ensure that children are surrounded by a kind, caring and happy environment which helps them develop the same skills in their journey through school. It is a positive place to be where resilience, perseverance and successes are celebrated and every child feels valued and respected.

Impact

The impact of the EYFS curriculum is reflected in having well rounded, happy and confident children transitioning into Year 1. Our children are often amazing role models for others in school.

We measure progress and children’s learning across the year through formative and summative assessments which are based on the teacher’s knowledge of the child, their learning journeys, photographs and videos recorded on Seesaw.

The judgments of our school are moderated with other schools in our Trust. The Early Years leads from our Trust schools work together across the year to support collaboration and best practice. The teaching and pedagogy are reviewed and evaluated regularly through team meetings.