Our Early Years Curriculum aims to deliver the best possible start in school life, both intellectually and emotionally and lay a secure foundation for future learning. We engage children in learning from the very start and expect our children to leave us as happy, confident and resilient learners who strive to be the best they can be.
All staff work hard as a team to create a positive, caring and welcoming atmosphere where the children feel secure yet are challenged to achieve their full potential. We embrace each child as an individual and all staff understand that each child is different, and their learning requirements and styles are unique too. The emphasis is very much on helping individual children on their own personalised learning journey that builds on their prior learning and experiences.
We strongly believe that providing a high level of wellbeing leads to a high level of child development and the ability to create, think critically and communicate effectively. This underpins our holistic and fun education that encompasses all learning and development which focuses on children building lifelong learning skills to benefit them throughout their education. We aim to provide our children with knowledge, skills and experiences both inside and outside and within our community through meaningful contexts that engage and motivate our children.
Our setting is a happy, positive and engaging environment where children love learning, are happy to make mistakes and confident in their choices. Our YR team have a wealth of knowledge with over 20 years of experience, 10 of which working together. We feel privileged to work with our youngest members of our school and we adore seeing a child progress and find their talent.
We respect all families and aim to develop a positive two-way relationship with each one. We understand that having a child start school is a big milestone and we endeavour to support the wider family to ensure a happy start to school life in their year with us. We invite all parents/carers to attend an informal evening with the team at school where we introduce ourselves and our ethos before a tour lead by pupil ambassadors. This is followed by stay and play sessions with the children and refreshments. This time is also used to promote important friendships between parents/carers. Our induction into class is steady ensuring that we are able to give each individual support as and when they need it and enables us to bond with the children joining us. We feel strongly that every child should experience a positive and happy start to their time with us and we offer all families a home visit in order to discuss any important questions and to build a strong working relationship with the family. The team found ways to still fulfil this during the recent school closures demonstrating dedication and perseverance that the children’s start to school would be as unaffected as possible. This was done through a filmed parent presentation, filmed story times and small group stay and play sessions before the children officially began school as soon as it was safe to do so. The team felt that it was critical that families and our team were given opportunity to meet face to face to ensure a prosperous start to our year together.
We follow the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, updated March 2017, by the DfE. This framework specifies the requirement for learning and development in the Early Years and provides prime and specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. We have a curriculum that is child-centred and that is based upon wow experiences and topics which engage the children and ae fun!. We encourage active learning to ensure the children are motivated and interested. We take time to get to know children’s interests and their likes to support learning and we have covered a wide range of topics including spies, around the word, jungles, pirates, superheroes and transport. Areas of the EYFS curriculum are followed and planned for to ensure there is a broad, balanced and progressive learning environment and curriculum. Whenever possible, we endeavour to build links within our local community and wider world cultures encouraging children to have an open mind and respectful understanding of our modern world. The children will learn new skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate understanding through the seven areas of the EYFS curriculum.
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
• Physical Development
• Communication and Language
• Understanding the World
• Expressive Arts and Design
These 7 areas are used to plan children’s learning and activities. Planning for this curriculum is designed to be flexible so that a child’s unique interests are supported and their experience is as fun and memorable as possible. During each week, the children will work with an adult to complete at least one 1:1 reading session as well as two adult led literacy tasks, two adult led maths tasks and a range of child-initiated tasks through both the indoor and outdoor provision. A vital aspect in the development of essential knowledge and skills is the use of continuous provision. This means that children are using and developing taught skills throughout the year on a daily basis.
Skills such as independence, innovation, creativity, enquiry, analysis and problem solving that are vital foundations to a positive learning attitude. During the school day, children will have an opportunity to work independently, work collaboratively with their friends and with members of staff. Daily guided activities are also planned to cover different areas of the EYFS curriculum and allow children to develop their next steps in learning. Through observation and discussion, areas of need and next steps are identified for all children to ensure good progress is made. There are also a range of stimulating and engaging activities which children can access independently and a variety of opportunities for child-initiated play. In planning and guiding children’s activities we reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in our practise. Staff in the EYFS make regular observations of the children’s learning to ensure their next steps are met. These are collected in each child’s online learning journey and is shared with parents/carers. We regularly assess where the children are, using ‘Development Matters’ and then ensure our planning, adult interaction and learning environment; including continuous provision, support children to reach their next steps. We will include interventions for groups or individuals if and when necessary. Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. Our outdoor areas are used all year round and in most weather conditions using our shelter.
We ensure activities support the Characteristics of Effective Learning to ensure learning takes place. These are:
Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things, and have a go;
Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements;
Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.
The YR team believe that these attributes are key to future educational success and wellbeing.
We have a dedicated time focusing on health and self-care where we explore mindfulness, yoga and relaxation techniques. We share a range of healthy snacks and learn about the importance of a healthy balanced lifestyle to maintain our own wellbeing. All of children perform in a Nativity, receive certificates in assembly, and participate in trips and visitor experiences to the school. They plant bulbs and seeds, watch them grow and help to raise tadpoles from our school pond. To support our wider curriculum, we provide regular opportunities for parents and carers to come into school and work with their child, share their work and celebrate successes. We keep parents informed and we meet regularly with them to ensure children’s transition into school and through the EYFS is happy and allows them to reach their potential with the support needed. This includes transition days, nursery and home visits, stay and play sessions, parent workshops, reports and parent consultations as well as more frequent informal communication to suit individual families. We also support the transition into Key Stage 1 for both child and parents. We prepare children for Year 1 with visits to their new class, meeting the teacher and ensuring the environments are similar at the end of EYFS and the start of Year 1. Parents have the opportunity to meet with new teachers and visit their child’s new learning environment. They also complete ‘moving on’ activities with their child throughout the summer term. These aim to support the transition for all. We are proud that parents often comment on how welcoming and dedicated the team are. We pride ourselves to go the extra mile for our pupils and families and endeavour to make each families' time with us as happy, comfortable and supportive as possible.
Children’s progress is monitored closely from the moment they start, and their journey is tracked throughout the year allowing appropriate support and challenge to be put in place. We strive to ensure that all our children’s progress throughout the year is good from their varied starting points. Due to this our GLD continues to rise and in individual cases where children do not reach the required standard, their transition into Year 1 is monitored closely to ensure they receive the support to help them progress. Evidence in children’s learning journeys support all areas of the EYFS curriculum. The impact of our curriculum is measured by assessment procedures which allow us to measure outcomes against all schools nationally and are integral to effective learning and teaching. We measure the percentage of pupils achieving age related expectations throughout the academic year and put supportive interventions in place if and when needed to assist children to overcome their stumbling blocks. Class teachers use observations to make formative assessments which inform future planning and ensure that all children build on their current knowledge and skills at a good pace. We promote a learning environment of making ‘marvellous mistakes’ and recognising that mistake making is vital to the learning process and should be celebrated and made the norm. The results of this are children who have a sense of belonging, have a positive disposition to learning and are ready and excited to move through the school successfully.
Summative assessment compares children attainment to age related expectations using month bands in Development Matters. This is tracked using the North Somerset ‘brick wall’ model to ensure rates of progress are at least good for all children, including vulnerable groups such as those with SEND, EAL or disadvantaged. Our assessment judgements have been moderated both in school and externally with local schools. We also partake in local authority moderation which has validated our school judgements.
They transition into Key Stage One with confidence and a strong character to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world. Our teaching style allows the children to display high levels of concentration, creativity, energy and persistence. Self-esteem blossoms and children develop crucial social skills as they support each other in their learning journey. Our children talk confidently about their learning and share their experiences in sharing assemblies and in discussion with others. Through our curriculum our children learn about risks and safety, how to make good choices and gain an understanding of boundaries. They develop into independent, confident and successful learners.
To conclude, our curriculum provides the building blocks for every area of learning and our children flourish and go on to be the best they can be.