Statement of intent
At Ashton St. Peter’s Church of England VA Primary school, we greatly value the importance of the early years foundation stage (EYFS) in providing a secure foundation for the future learning and development of all children.
This policy has been developed in conjunction with the new statutory framework for the early years foundation stage that has been developed by the DfE, to ensure that each child has a positive and successful start to their school life in which they can build a foundation for a lifelong love of learning.
We offer a curriculum that is rich in wonder and memorable experiences and we work hard to provide a high quality, stimulating environment that provides exciting opportunities, promotes challenge, exploration, adventure and a real love of learning, preparing children to flourish academically and spiritually, fulfilling their God-given potential.
It is our intent that all children will develop physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally in an environment that is grounded in a Christian ethos that values all cultures, communities and people.
We aim to support our parents in raising their children as flourishing citizens, enabling them to deal with life’s challenges with courage and perseverance.
We understand that play is an integral part of learning and this is at the heart of our early years curriculum. We believe that the correct mix of adult directed and uninterrupted child-initiated play ensures the best outcomes for pupils. Warm and positive relationships between staff and children, consistent routines and strong relationships with our parents is key to our children’s progress.
We recognise the crucial role that early year’s education has to play in providing firm foundations to ensure a child’s ‘school readiness’ and upon which the rest of a child’s education is successfully based.
At Ashton St. Peter’s Church of England VA Primary School we meet the welfare requirements laid down in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and actively safeguard and promote the welfare of all of our children.
We prioritise creating a ‘language rich’ environment through the use of songs, nursery rhymes, stories and providing time for quality interactions with adults and between peers. Trained and experienced staff ensure that interactions are positive and progressive, allowing children to flourish and gather words at pace in order to become confident communicators. Children are encouraged to become early readers through the teaching of Essential Letters and Sounds, which is our systematic, synthetic phonics programme, our Collins Big Cat reading scheme and through the enjoyment of books in our classroom. The children learn nursery rhymes and counting rhymes and develop their mathematical thinking through direct teaching of Power Maths programme and exploration in the continuous provision. We encourage our children to become confident mathematicians, who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences.
We have built our school environment to enable our children to strengthen their core muscles and balance through physical play. Children spend time outdoors in the natural environment in all weathers. They develop through wonderful, exploratory, sensory experiences in our mud kitchen, climbing frame and bike track. Our learning environment is adaptable in order to reflect children’s interests and progression. The children are supported to learn to work together, manage their feelings and ask questions through skilled adult facilitated play.
Throughout their time in the Reception Year, our children partake in an ambitious curriculum which is designed in a sequential way to ensure progress towards the end of reception goals.
Our curriculum is taught through topics that are enriched with classroom enhancements, trips and visitors. Topics are supported by quality key texts. These are chosen carefully to encourage children’s speech, language and communication development. We recognise the importance of our children knowing their own community, its history, landmarks and influential people / families, which we incorporate into our topics. All planning however, is flexible and responsive to children’s needs so plans can be changed and adapted depending on children’s interests.
We understand the importance of parental engagement and believe that our parents have a crucial role to play in their children’s education. We work hard to create strong partnerships between home and school. Parents are informed of the topics that their child will cover each half term and the vocabulary, books and skills that support it, so that they are aware of what their child is learning and how they can support them at home. We recognise the importance of parents supporting their child’s reading journey and offer a phonics workshop to help the parents understand how their child is learning to read and short exemplar videos of how to read with their child. Parents enjoy using Tapestry to engage in their child’s learning and share experiences from home.
We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, which has just been updated by the Government. Within this framework there are four guiding principles which shape our practice:
Our curriculum encompasses seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.
Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships, and thriving.
These are called the prime areas:
Four areas help children to strengthen and apply the prime areas.
These are called the specific areas:
Weaving throughout the EYFS curriculum at Ashton St. Peter’s are three Characteristics of Effective Learning.
These elements underpin how we reflect on each child’s development and adjust our practice accordingly. Supporting children in their individual learning behaviour and observing the context of children’s play is essential.
Observation, Monitoring and Assessment
As part of the learning and teaching process, children are assessed in relation to their progress towards the Early Learning Goals. These judgements are made on the basis of accumulative observations and in depth knowledge of the children acquired through ongoing assessment. Each member of the team is responsible for monitoring the progress of the children in their group but overall monitoring is the responsibility of the teacher.
We carry out a home visit, a week prior to the children starting school and carry out the government’s statutory baseline assessment within the first six weeks of the children starting with us. We use the findings of these two opportunities and ongoing observations to inform planning and next steps in teaching and learning for all children throughout the year.
The early years team meet frequently to discuss the children’s progress and any concerns we may have and then the class teacher and the headteacher meet half termly to discuss individual children’s progress and attainment.
In the summer term, the class teacher, using all of the gathered observations and pupil progress data, produces the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile which is given to parents to view. The class teacher also meets with the Year 1 teacher to discuss individual children and to share the EYFS profile. We find this helps the children to make a smooth transition to Year 1.
Reporting to Parents
It is our goal that by the end of the foundation stage, each child will become: