Early Years Foundation Stage
We recognise the importance of providing the best possible start to children’s school careers. We work hard to develop positive relationships with the children and their families in an environment where they feel confident and safe.
In Early Years, we provide continuous provision across the 7 areas of learning, centered around a whole-class topic. Each day, after whole-class direct teaching time, half the class continue their learning outside and half the class remain inside; these groups swap after playtime. Outdoor learning is important to us. In both learning areas, there is one adult-led learning activity, as well as a range of child-initiated activities. Each day there is a focus for independent learning so that the children can apply knowledge and skills. We encourage the children to be curious and ‘have a go’, with a strong emphasis on talk and cooperation.
Overview of Reception Class Topics
Transition from Pre-School / Nursery
Our goal is to achieve a smooth transition from Pre-school / Nursery so that children feel happy at school. Children who feel secure and confident when beginning school in September will be able to settle more quickly and adapt to the ways of school life more successfully.
For this reason, our transition process begins in the summer term before children start school in the September. This starts with a meeting for Parents/Carers, so we can outline what those early weeks will look like and how they can help us to prepare the children. We offer a short Home Visit with the Class Teacher, so they can meet the child/children in an environment where they feel safe and secure; this gives the families an opportunity to talk specifically about their own child/children. Shortly afterwards, the children make a Transition visit to their new class. Reception staff visit or talk to all children’s’ key workers to understand their pre-school/nursery experience and consider what support they might need to help with their transition. As a small school, we are able to offer additional transition experiences including ‘Cake and Play,’ whole-class story time, and a Forest School session.
In September, we have a staggered start for Reception children to ensure they are not overwhelmed; this means a slightly later start on the first day of school, which is spread over two days. Reception children go home at noon in the first few days of school; from the first full week, families have the choice of their child/children attending part-time (for 3 weeks) or full-time. Breakfast Club and After School Wraparound Care are available.
In Reception (Early Years) we follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and Development Matters.
The curriculum for Early Years is organised into 7 areas of learning. There are Prime and Specific areas. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. The Prime areas are crucial for engaging and promoting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, for building their capacity to form relationships and thrive. The Prime areas are strengthened and applied through the Specific areas.
Alongside the curriculum we focus on ‘how children learn’ and this is assessed through The Characteristics of Learning.
The characteristics of effective learning are developed through:
- Playing and exploring (being curious and asking questions) so that children become engaged. They have opportunities to find out and explore, play with what they know and develop the confidence to ‘have a go’.
- Active learning so that children are motivated. They learn to become involved, concentrate, keep trying (be resilient) and enjoy achieving.
- Creating and thinking critically so that they have their own ideas, can make links in learning and can choose ways of doing things.
Learning takes place through a range of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Children take part in whole class and small group learning opportunities throughout the day with a variety of adults and contexts.
The three Prime areas are: Communication and Language, Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
The four Specific areas are: Literacy, Maths, Understanding the World and Expressive Art and Design.
Communication and Language
There are three Early Learning Goals in this area:
Listening and attention: Children listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.
Understanding: Children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.
Speaking: Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.
Talking about our ideas, feelings and learning is a key part of every day. Adults in school are important role models and we support each child to be successful. Talk Partners are used throughout our school to enable each child to engage vocally each lesson. We encourage active listening, speech to be clear and the children to make eye contact. Our Speech Champion coordinates interventions for those pupils with speech delay/disorder.
Our daily phonics teaching plays a key role. We enrich this by teaching the children rhymes and sharing stories and non-fiction.
There are two Early Learning Goals within this area:
Moving and handling: Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
Health and self-care: Children know the importance of good health through physical exercise and a healthy diet. They also talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.
Children have many opportunities planned to develop effective fine and gross motor skills that will support a range of learning experiences from handwriting, using scissors and a knife and fork to putting on dressing-up outfits and coats. These skills increase the children’s levels of independence and well-being.
During outdoor learning, the children can climb and balance on our climbing wall and trim trail. They enjoy using the bikes, trikes, scooters and trolleys. At playtime they can engage in making dens, building their own obstacle course, skipping and playing team games.
Specific skills are taught in PE, and a wide range of resources for developing these skills are available for the children to use.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
There are three Early Learning Goals within this area:
Making relationships: Children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.
Self-confidence and self-control: Children have the confidence to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident about speaking in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or do not need help.
Managing feelings and behaviour: Children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.
We follow the Kapow Scheme of Work for PSHE. In Reception, the learning is focused on Making relationships and Self-Regulation. In addition, the children are taught about our School Values and are encouraged to promote and demonstrate these in their learning and play; Values certificates acknowledge times when children have been observed applying our values to daily life.
There are two Early Learning Goals within this section:
Reading: Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
Writing: Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.
There are many opportunities in the Early Years class for children to engage in activities that promote a love of books and writing. Children engage in activities that develop pencil control and they learn to write their name with correct letter formation from September. Phonic sessions take place daily and are used to enhance the links between sounds, reading and writing. Planned weekly sessions of shared and guided reading and writing take place in small groups or as individuals. One child each week is chosen to take home The Reading Rabbit to promote and share a love of reading.
There are two Early Learning Goals within this area:
Numbers: Children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.
Shape Space and Measure: Children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.
In Mathematics children learn to count, order, record and recognise numbers. Much Mathematics is embedded through work and play in other areas - when making or building things, through role play for example. They develop skills in adding and subtracting, and using numbers in problem solving situations in and around the classroom. Children explore shapes, and learn the vocabulary of Mathematics. They have further opportunities to compare measurements and to use non-standard measurements in their play.
We use ‘Mastering Number’ sessions throughout the school to promote strong understanding and quick recall of key number concepts and facts; in Reception, subitising is a key part of this practice, so the children develop their ability to recognise amounts up to 6 without having to count each time.
Understanding the World
There are three Early Learning Goals in this area:
People and communities: Children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.
The World: Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
Technology: Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.
Through a range of topics and everyday experiences children develop their understanding and knowledge of the world around them.
People and Communities: children learn about similarities and differences. This could be looking at seasons, how we have changed from babyhood to childhood, within friends and families, traditions, celebrations etc.
In The World: covers early science and geography skills. For example, learning about the changes in seasons, different environments, maps and environmental features.
Technology: children learn about a range of technology, they explore why things happen and how things work.
Expressive Art and Design
There are two Early Learning Goals in this area:
Exploring and using media and materials: Children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
Being imaginative: Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.
A role play area is set up to enhance the topic being covered; opportunities are made for learning in all seven areas of our curriculum. Children use their imaginations as they take on roles and create story lines in their play.
Children take part in music and movement sessions. They have opportunities to explore the sounds of different instruments and to create their own sounds. They have opportunities to listen and respond to different types of music.
Children are taught a range of art and design technology skills which they are then encouraged to use in their child-initiated activities. Children are encouraged to make individual choices, to select the resources they need to make their pictures/models. They are taught how to look after and put away these resources.