We firmly believe and are guided by, the strong evidence that the EYFS plays a pivotal role in shaping a child’s future outcomes, and we are committed to building strong and trusting relationships with our children, their families and local community. We have high expectations for all our children and we recognise the importance of the sequential building of knowledge and skills, so that all children regardless of their individual starting points have equal opportunities to succeed.
Language, vocabulary and stories are at the heart of our curriculum. Many children start school with knowledge and skills below their age related expectations, particularly in communication and language, and we shape our curriculum offer to close these gaps as quickly as possible. By noticing a child’s behaviours or barriers to making progress early on, and by identifying any additional needs, we can best support that child to build on their knowledge and skills quickly and to achieve success. We believe in equity for all and see each child as an individual. Our curriculum offer is shaped to ensure that all children can thrive and succeed.
We recognise the importance of the Prime Areas of learning. We prioritise communication and language skills so that a child is better able to regulate their emotions and behaviour, better able to build trusting and respectful relationships with those around them and better able to express their needs, preferences, feelings and fascinations.
We value the crucial importance of play and of warm positive interactions with supportive adults. We offer a balance of child initiated, and adult led learning activities and the balance shifts towards more adult led learning opportunities as the children make their way through the reception year. We follow the principles of sustained shared thinking and these form the basis of all interactions between adult and child.
We strive to provide all children with engaging, interesting and stimulating learning environments throughout the setting. Independent exploration alongside careful adult scaffolding and interactions, enable children to build on their prior learning and retrieve, consolidate and practice knowledge and skills frequently throughout the day.
We are guided by the four over-arching principles of the EYFS:-
- A unique child
- Positive relationships
- Enabling environments
- Learning and development
As a result of our well planned and implemented curriculum offer, all children make good or outstanding progress from their relative starting points. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with additional needs who do not achieve ELG achieve their best possible outcomes making progress from their individual starting points. We strive to maintain and improve the percentage of children who achieve ELG by constantly and critically reviewing our curriculum content and continuous provision and reflecting on the progress and levels of engagement of the children, particularly our most disadvantaged or those children with additional needs.
We make observations of children throughout the year and these are recorded on Tapestry. Parents and families contribute to these learning journals and these capture powerful moments in the children’s development from an alternative perspective. Observations contain evidence of children retrieving and applying the key knowledge and skills that have been taught over the year and allow us to make judgements about the extent to which children have embedded this information and expanded their schema.
Summative assessment is carried out at points in the year to check children’s progress. Informal assessment is used to identify children for whom key concepts and knowledge are not yet embedded in their schema and scaffolding and additional opportunities to work alongside and explore with peers and adults are interwoven into the daily provision. Moderation is carried out across the unit, the federation and the wider network of schools to ensure that our judgements are accurate and in line with the local and national picture.
Towards the end of the academic year we submit the end of foundation stage profile data to the local authority and parents. It is also shared with year one teachers to ensure a seamless transition.
Ultimately the impact of our curriculum offer is illustrated by the extent to which all children display a love of learning and a willingness to embrace risk. Children embody our school values of kindness and respect and they rise up to meet the challenges of the KS1 curriculum and beyond.
The Bigger Picture
A UNIQUE CHILD - Observing what a child is learning informs our next steps in teaching and identifies their specific individual needs in order to provide them with the environment and experiences to nurture their development, resilience and confidence.
POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS – Through building positive relationships children learn to be brave and independent. All adults model the skills, behaviours, attitudes and language needed to make and maintain respectful relationships. Children feel safe and happy, they flourish in a calm and kind environment where there are high expectations for behaviour and clear communication skills are employed.
ENABLING ENVIRONMENTS - A carefully planned environment allows for children to experience exciting, engaging and rich learning opportunities. Children are able to make progress through relevant and progressive learning opportunities using independent exploration and learning both indoors and outside.
COMMUNICATION LANGUAGE AND READING - Reading is at the heart of the EYFS curriculum. Children have daily RWI phonics sessions in small groups with intervention for individual needs. Children take part in a guided reading session after each phonics lesson using carefully targeted texts to apply new learning and practice fluency. Children who do not have the opportunity to read at home are read with daily at school. Whole class approaches involve the sharing of exciting and engaging stories, rhymes and poems. Children listen to, read and talk about a wide range of quality books and rhymes. Through these planned activities children practice using their listening and communication skills and join in with repeated phrases, rhymes, acquiring new vocabulary whilst building on their existing knowledge of the world around them.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning
In EYFS we refer to the Characteristics of Effective Learning. Understanding the importance of these and the ways that children display learning behaviours is central to our observation of children and key to ensuring that all children make progress throughout all the areas of learning.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning are:-
- Playing and exploring – engagement, finding out and exploring, playing with what they know, being willing to “have a go”
- Active learning – motivation, being involved and concentrating, keeping trying, enjoying achieving what they set out to do
- Creating and thinking critically- thinking, having their own ideas, making links, choosing ways to do things
Our curriculum is comprised of the Prime Areas and the Specific Areas of learning. The Prime areas and specific areas are intrinsically interconnected.
The Prime areas are entirely fundamental, they are:- Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development.
The Specific areas build on the key skills and knowledge of the Prime Areas of learning. The Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society such as, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Remembering, revisiting and applying our knowledge and skills is key to how children move progressively in their learning and development.
In EYFS we practice our early reading skills daily using our RWI phonics sessions. We carefully select quality core texts and additional stories, rhymes, non-fiction texts and poems to teach new and exciting vocabulary, providing challenge and extension whilst also allowing continuous opportunities to repeat and revisit language and vocabulary that is familiar to them.
The curriculum is carefully sequenced so that prior knowledge is remembered and applied and new learning can be added and consolidated.
We practice our mathematical skills daily. Number is linked to shape and to pattern. Learning is sequenced so that children become confident with number recognition, pattern, shape and the composition of each number.
Daily fluency exercises allow children to retrieve, revisit and apply their skills and knowledge in a variety of ways.
On entry to EYFS at Southcote Primary School,
We use Tapestry (Digital Learning Journal) to record each child’s achievements and development. This is shared with their families and carers. These events are captured in the form of observations that are linked to the areas of learning and development and the characteristics of effective learning. Adult led activities are also logged on Tapestry including guided and independent writing and maths activities and games.
Teacher’s assess each child’s phonics progress termly using the RWI assessment and phonics groups are adjusted according to the children’s next steps.
At the end of the Foundation Stage (EYFS) Summative Assessment is undertaken. Each child is said to be emerging or expected in each ELG (Early Learning Goal) across all areas of learning. This forms the basis for transition discussions with the Year One teachers.
Statutory and Non-Statutory Guidance for Staff
Statutory Framework for EYFS
EYFS Profile Handbook 2021
Early Years Inspection Framework Handbook
Early Years Outcomes
Interschool and LA Moderation workshops
White Rose Maths Resources
RWI Handbook and planning and training portal