Within our Early Years Classroom the curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning from previous settings and their experiences at home. We respect that children have different starting points and we strive to provide a nurturing environment for all. We do this through providing a range of child led, hands on learning opportunities. We believe that the ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. As such we provide many first hand experiences to underpin the children’s knowledge, with the aim of broadening their understanding of the world around them.
We believe that our first experiences of school should be happy and positive, enabling us to develop a lifelong love of learning. In order to provide this climate we use positive language to build a positive sense of self. We provide an environment which will enable children to trust in themselves and in their peers, building resilience, ambition and integrity.
Every child is recognised as a unique individual and we celebrate and welcome the broad range of cultures within our community. We endeavour to make the children and their families feel valued, respected and empowered to make choices which influence their own lives for the better. In order to achieve this we use a nurturing approach to promote positive attitudes to both learning and behaviour. This will enable the children to respect and value the fullness of themselves.
Community involvement and parental engagement form another essential parts of our curriculum. Children leave the unit with a sense of belonging to a tightly knit community. They have the confidence and skills to make decisions and self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners.
Across our EYFS, we follow the Early Years Reforms: Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and Development Matters: Non Statutory Curriculum Guidance. This Framework and Guidance specifies the requirement for learning and development in the Early Years and provides prime and specific areas of learning to be covered in our curriculum.
• Communication and Language
• Physical Development
• Personal, Social ad Emotional Development
• Understanding the World
• Expressive Arts and Design
During the autumn term, children focus on the prime areas. These form the foundation of a child’s learning. Once the children are secure in these areas they will begin to work on the specific areas of learning.
Across the week the children will work with an Early Years practitioner to complete a guided reading session and an activity linked to a particular skill, with objectives taken from Development Matters. Children will also take part in daily synthetic phonics sessions led by a Qualified Early Years Teacher, which follows the Read Write Inc. Phonics scheme. Children are encouraged to transfer the skills they learn in phonics sessions into their independent reading and writing during the continuous provision and adult guided sessions. Alongside the adult led activities the children will be provided with a range of opportunities to complete child initiated tasks both within the indoor and outdoor learning environments through what is known as, Continuous Provision. The practice and principles of continues provision begin in the Early Years and support children to develop key life skills such as independence; innovation; creativity, enquiry; analysis and problem solving. During the day, children will have an opportunity to work independently, work collaboratively with their friends and work with an adult. The children take what they have learnt during the adult led sessions and further develop, explore and embed their learning during Continuous 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/weekly basis. We constantly provide enhancement opportunities to engage learners and link to our topics. We encourage children to be independent in the continuous provision through the use of “challenges”. We support children to be intrinsically motivated to complete the challenges and therefore take ownership of their own learning. Throughout the year we offer stay and play sessions for parents to come into school and join their children for forest school, art or play-based activities. This is an opportunity for parents to come along and work with their children in a fun and informal environment. This setting provides an opportunity for parents to connect with one another, building a supportive and caring network of friends for years to come. In addition to these opportunities we host regular P.T.F.A events throughout the year.
The children are encouraged to follow their personal interests and explore the world around them. We are proud of our forest school learning environment and are pleased to be able to offer the children a wide range of activities to promote their love of learning. We take a hands on approach to all learning and the children particularly enjoy planting, building campfires, using real tools, making potions, pies and cakes in our mud kitchen and exploring the properties of water in the indoor and outdoor water areas.
We have a dedicated time focusing on health and self-care. We share a range of healthy snacks every day and we learn about the importance of a healthy balanced diet. We discuss the impact this can have on our bodies.
We plan a broad and balanced curriculum which provides children with a range of first-hand experiences and opportunities to get out into the local community. Our specific aims for every child to complete are:
Paint a self-portrait.
Visit our local park in the Autumn, Spring and Summer.
Perform in a Nativity.
Post a letter.
Observe caterpillars changing into butterflies.
Look up where you live on a map.
Ride on a double decker bus!
Taste a range of healthy foods.
Plant a bulb or seed and watch it grow.
Go on a mini beast hunt.
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 a ‘expected level of development’ by the end of the Reception year.
The impact of our curriculum will also, in fact, 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 aim to instil a sense of awe and wonder into every child. Making them curious and inquisitive about the world in which they are living. We want our children to ask questions, to dream big and most of all, to recognise the potential within themselves.
When children leave our Foundation Stage Class, we not only endeavour for them to be Year One ready, but well-rounded individuals with positive attitudes towards learning for life.