Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum Intent
At St. Wulstan’s, our curriculum is reflective of our Catholic Ethos and this is at the heart of everything that we do.
We recognise that every child is unique and is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
We acknowledge that children learn and develop at different rates and that by providing children with a variety of different learning opportunities, we can enable all children to reach their full potential.
As practitioners, we teach children by providing challenging and playful opportunities which are carefully planned from their individual starting points and from their individual interests. Children’s behaviour for learning is also a key element for enabling children to progress. We teach children about having a growth mindset and the Characteristics of Effective Learning, as well as using praise and encouragement to develop a positive attitude for learning in our pupils. Every child is assigned to a ‘Key Person’ to ensure that every child’s learning and care is tailored to meet their individual needs. We value the diversity of every pupil at our school and do not discriminate because of differences in ability, race or religion. All children and their families are valued and differences are celebrated.
Our Early Years Curriculum is based on the principles of child development and the educational programmes in the New EYFS Statutory Framework (2021). The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. We provide enhancement opportunities to engage learning and believe that children's first experiences of school should be happy and positive, enabling them to develop a lifelong love of learning. Our curriculum is planned to lead smoothly into the National Curriculum at Key Stage 1 in a way which is relevant and meaningful for all children. Reception and Key Stage1 staff work together throughout the year to ensure a successful transition into Year 1.
The EYFS curriculum stresses the importance of the prime areas of learning - the child’s personal, emotional and social development, the vital element of communication and language and the role of physical development. It emphasises that the knowledge and skills in the specific areas of early literacy and numeracy, understanding the world and expressive art and design lay the foundations for the future learning of all children.
The EYFS framework is organised into seven areas of learning and development, all of which are interdependent and of equal importance and we have included our intentions for the children’s faith learning.
RE- involves giving children experiences so they may come to understand the richness of the Catholic faith and thereby be drawn into a deeper communion with Christ in his Church.
Communication & language - involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Physical development - is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination which is linked to early literacy.
Personal, social and emotional development - involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Literacy - involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Mathematics - involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers; calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
Understanding of the world - involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive arts and design - involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance and role-play.
Click here to see the Early Learning Goals
Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum Implementation
In line with the principles of the EYFS, our practice starts with the child and their individual/cognitive development. We observe and assess children on-entry to determine their needs, interests, abilities and skills which we then use to develop our curriculum. We offer a play based curriculum inside and outside of the classroom which is carefully organised and planned for and includes opportunities for children to develop knowledge and skills through a wide range of opportunities and experiences. Play is fundamental to children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems and relate to others. Play enables children to be active in their learning.
We use Development Matters and Lancashire EYFS Curriculum Framework when planning provision to support the learning and development across all seven areas and when planning for the characteristics of learning. The R.E. curriculum is taught using the Diocesan recommended Come and See Scheme of Work and the PSHE curriculum is supplemented with the use of the Ten:Ten scheme of work and Caritas in Action.
Our pedagogy is founded on the needs and interests of the children. We follow a core book approach to give all children a love of reading and a wide vocabulary. We aim to ensure children’s access to a diverse and appropriate range of books containing exciting and gripping stories, evocative and fascinating language, thought provoking imagery and situations which will develop their imagination, understanding of the world, emotional resilience and empathy.
Our curriculum is implemented in a considered structured way, by staff modelling and teaching in continuous provision and carefully planned daily adult guided activities. These adult led experiences develop children’s skills, knowledge and understanding and enable the children to learn independently in continuous provision, building on, practising and developing what they have been working on. Children’s interests are developed through areas created in tuff spot trays, on tables and planned role play experiences in the indoor and outdoor environments.
Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum Impact
At St. Wulstan’s RC Primary School, we work towards all children achieving the Early Learning Goals by the end of their Reception year. Development Matters and the Lancashire EYFS Curriculum Framework help staff identify children’s developing knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes as they make progress towards the early learning goals, throughout the Foundation Stage.
Click here to see how we assess in the Early Years
Each child’s profile will be completed and will indicate if a child as met the expected level or has not met the expected level in all 17 Early Learning Goals. These results are reported to the Local Authority.
Continuous provision is how we plan our learning environment. The purpose of continuous provision is "to continue the provision for learning in the absence of an adult". Each and every part of our learning environment has been carefully planned to meet and challenge the development needs of our children.
Learning opportunities are carefully planned around the interests of the children so they can lead, take ownership and become immersed in their learning. We support the children to develop their skills progressively in exciting, fun and creative ways to achieve the highest standards possible. We also provide 'hooks' or 'scenarios' to support their ideas and to really engage the children in their new learning experiences.
As well as our indoor provision, our outdoor provision provides varied and exciting experiences.
Continuous Provision Planning
From September 2021 we will be using Tapestry as our assessment tracker, to record our children’s knowledge, skills and learning dispositions. It is a consistent and reliable way of demonstrating progress through the EYFS.
The statements within Tapestry correlate with Development Matters and the new Birth to 5 Matters that reflect an ‘age related expectation’. Tapestry recognises the importance and values the 'how' of learning and so the characteristics of effective learning and levels of well-being and involvement are recorded too.
Through daily observation and interaction, we are able to build a rich and accurate understanding of each child across all aspects of learning and development.
Our assessments are meaningful and impact on our children’s learning and development as we use them to inform our children’s next steps which are personalised and challenging. Our observations then inform the assessments we make on Tapestry as children approach the end of each range milestone. We bring our knowledge of a child together to make a summative assessment about where they are in relation to key developmental milestones.
Leuven Scales of Well Being and Involvement
The Leuven Scales acknowledge the critical importance of a child’s emotional well-being on the quality and depth of learning. We use the Leuven Scales to indicate a child's level of Well-Being and Involvement at the time of assessment (low, medium or high level).
Well-being is defined as ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy’. Involvement is defined as ‘the fact of being involved with or participating in something’. The Leuven Scales support accurate and authentic summative assessment of a child’s knowledge, skills, understanding and learning behaviours.
Click here to see the Leuven Scales
Characteristics of Effective Learning
The characteristics of effective learning underpin our pupils learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage. The ways in which they engage with others and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically – underpin learning and development across all areas and support the children to remain effective and motivated learners. We make judgements about a child's demonstration of the Characteristics of Effective Learning at their particular age and whether or not the learning behaviours defined within these characteristics describes the child.
Click here to see the Characteristics of Effective Learning.
Click here to see the Characteristics of Effective Learning Posters for Parents.
For further information regarding the EYFS Curriculum, please see the links and attachments below:
- EYFS Government site https://www.gov.uk/early-years-foundation-stage
- EYFS Statutory Framework https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/942421/EYFSP_Handbook_2021.pdf
Partnership with Parents
We recognise that parents are children’s first and most enduring educators and we value the contribution they make. We recognise the role that parents have played, and their future role, in educating the children. We do this through:
- Inviting all parents to an induction meeting during the term before their child starts school
- The children have the opportunity to spend time with their teacher before starting school during ‘Play and Stay’ sessions
- Offering parents regular opportunities to talk about their child’s progress in our Reception class and allowing free access to the children’s ‘Learning Journey’ on Class Dojo
- Encouraging parents to talk to the child’s teacher if there are any concerns
- Arranging a range of activities throughout the year that encourage collaboration between child, school and parents: Celebration assemblies, performances, stay and play sessions, parent phonics, read, writing and maths workshops
- Including ‘WOW Moments’ with parents’ contributions in the children’s Learning Journeys using Class Dojo
- We also use Class Dojo as a communication tool that allows staff and parents to communicate with one another.
Reporting to Parents
At the end of the Reception year, parents will receive a report which will inform them of their child’s progress towards the Early Learning Goals. Throughout the year, parents will be invited to two formal parents’ evenings to discuss their child’s progress and staff will be available at the beginning and end of the day to discuss any concerns or to share information.
We recognise that creating a smooth transition into school is vital to ensuring the children get the best possible start to their school career. If children feel happy, safe and secure, then they will be ready to learn and able to develop. Children will flourish and reach their full potential. To enable children to complete a successful transition into school we do the following things:
- Invite parents to an induction meeting the term before the children start school;
- Complete Home Visits;
- Visit the children in their current nursery and speak to the child’s Key Person to find out more about them;
- Give each child a St. Wulstan's Bear to complete activities with before they start school. We ask families to record what they get up to in a book so they children can share these with the staff and their peers when they start school;
- Invite children and their families into school to visit in the term before they start school;
- Children begin school on a part time basis for the first few weeks.
From Reception to Year One
When children are moving to a new class, we know that this needs to be carefully planned and children need to be supported on this journey. Therefore, the Reception class and Year One staff work together closely to create a seamless transition from EYFS into Key Stage One:
- Year One teachers spend time both outside and in the Reception classroom with the children so that they can get to know each other in the term before they transition into Year One
- Reception parents visit the Year One classroom and have a question and answer session in the term before the children move to Year One
- The Year One teachers give the children a booklet of activities to complete during the summer holidays before they move into Year One
- The Year One children make a poster for the Reception children to tell them what they like about Year One
- The Reception children visit the Year One classroom in the summer term to complete activities and get to know their new classroom
- Any children with additional needs may have extra transition with the Year One teaching assistant