Early Years Foundation Stage
At Rood End Primary School, the EYFS curriculum is designed to encourage independent, inquisitive and happy learners. We recognise children’s prior learning and various starting points, and create a holistic curriculum that maximises cross-curricular links and builds strong foundations for their future. Our EYFS curriculum is specifically designed and evolves to provide children with important foundational skills and knowledge that will later be enhanced and embedded in KS1.
Our curriculum aims to enable our children to be:
- Ready to learn. Children have a positive, confident attitude to learning. They are both physically and emotionally ready to learn.
- Skilful communicators, who have regular access to high quality interactions with adults. Staff are skilled in extending language and focus on supporting children to develop and use new vocabulary.
- Secure and confident learners, who are supported in a language rich environment that promotes choice and allows them to develop independence in their own learning and develop a curiosity about the world around them. We aim to equip children with the skills to make decisions, use their own initiative, self-evaluate and become successful life long learners.
The Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to the end of their Reception year. We follow the Development Matters Framework (2021) to support children in developing their learning and skills across seven areas. Key skills have been mapped out across the year to ensure exposure and an even spread of coverage. A key objective for each area of learning is planned for each week and provision is planned to support children in acquiring the skill. Following observation, children who need extra support in weekly skills are added to a “focus and notice board” and are targeted during continuous provision.
Each half term, EYFS staff introduce a new theme to provide inspiration for learning, whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas. Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching during the day. The timetable changes throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of the children.
Small group phonics reading sessions and maths groups mean teachers 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 seven areas of learning are:
The Specific Areas
The early teaching of literacy involves children being able to link sounds and letters to begin to read and write. We teach children to read through daily structured Little Wandle Phonics. In Nursery, this begins daily in Autumn 2, developing phonemic awareness and oral blending. Nursery staff also use Little Wandle book plans to develop an early love of reading and incorporate activities throughout continuous provision.
In Reception, pupils receive whole class phonics sessions as well as separate reading sessions focused on decoding, prosody and comprehension.
Children also have access to a wide range of high- quality reading materials within continuous provision (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest. They hear stories every single day.
Over the Autumn Term 2023, the Reception setting is also trialing 'Helicopter Stories'. Each child will tell a story to an adult who will write it down. Then the children get an opportunity to perform their ideas. As the children's phonological and language develops, they begin to write more of the stories themselves - eventually writing sentences and simple narratives.
The Maths curriculum is taught through daily dedicated sessions. These sessions are carefully planned using concrete resources and to build on prior learning. We use White Rose Maths Scheme of Work to support planning and continuous provision opportunities in order to develop mastery in key skills. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences. 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 session 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.
Understanding the World
This involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. Exciting, purposeful and contextual activities are planned to build on children’s natural curiosity. For example, building a boat for their favourite toy enables them to think like a ‘Scientist’ and ‘Engineer’ as they explore a range of materials and test out their own ideas. We immerse children in real life experiences such as hatching ducklings, growing plants and exploring the local area. Building further on our oracy focus, children will be encouraged to employ subject specific language and terminology in foundation subjects, and such vocabulary will be modelled, both verbally and orally, by supporting practitioners.
Expressive Arts and Design
This involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
The prime areas are fundamental throughout the whole of our EYFS. The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning. There is cohesion and consistency with our approach to align with the National Curriculum that is followed from Year 1. EYFS staff have a good understanding of how ELG’s feed into the National Curriculum through our robust planning and CPD opportunities. In reverse, colleagues throughout the school are also aware of the key ELG’s that link to each foundation subject and the progression of the subject.
We strive to ensure that our children’s progress across the EYFS curriculum is good from their varied starting points. We also strive for children to reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception and to be at least in line with National Expectations. The impact of our curriculum is measured by assessment procedures which allow us to measure outcomes against all schools nationally. We measure the percentage of pupils achieving age related expectations throughout the academic year, put supportive interventions in place if and when needed.
The impact of our curriculum will also be measured by how effectively it helps our pupils develop into well rounded individuals who embody our values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable future citizens. We endeavour for pupils to be Key Stage 1 ready and have our school values embedded by the time they leave reception, preparing them for their future.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of additional intervention and support for children who may not be reaching their potential, or are showing a greater depth of understanding and need further challenge. This includes, for example, sessions for developing speech and language, fine motor skills, phonics, and mathematics. In addition, we have a number of children with Early Years Intervention Grant Funding and EHCPs, where bespoke plans have identified that learning may need to take place away from the classroom due to sensory needs.
We believe that spending time with the children is the most important aspect of assessment. By being in tune with children, playing alongside them, working in small groups with them ensures a well-rounded overview of not only their academic abilities but their personality, likes and dislikes.
We assess children through:
- Reception Baseline Assessment – this is carried out within 6 weeks of the child starting Reception.
- WellComm. All Nursery and Reception children are screened termly to assess development in communication and language. We use the assessments to plan provision and target needs where needed. Leaders review progress and plan support.
- Phonics assessments. We carry out regular phonics assessments to track which children are on track with their reading and acquisition of sounds and common exception words.
- We make termly “on track” judgements about children’s development across the seven areas of learning using our checkpoint tracker. Judgements are discussed and moderated as a team. Professional discussions are held to ensure all staff share their knowledge about a child and provision and practice can be developed to support further learning.