Early Years Foundation Stage

Curriculum Leader: Miss Blackman

Our Vision for Early Years

Children

In the Early Years our children are happy. They are excited and motivated to learn through rich and challenging learning experiences; opportunities to explore, and first-hand experiences. As in many small schools in Cumbria, we exist with mixed age classes. The children in Early Years have always been taught alongside the Year 1 pupils. This works well. Children grow and develop partly through observing and copying their peers. When children have older peers in the class they have an early set of examples and role models to learn from. Combined with skilled staff, who possess the knowledge and experience to be able to balance the needs of and deliver the appropriate learning opportunities to all the children, The EYFS/Year 1 mix works very well.

We have high ambitions for all our children and recognise that they have different starting points to their learning. With our mixed age group class, we plan according to children’s stages of development so all can thrive and develop. We aim for children to be well-rounded individuals who are independent, resilient, and confident in themselves and with others.

Parents

Our partnership with parents means that they have the opportunity to work closely with our Early Years practitioners to support children’s transition into the setting. We would like parents to feel secure in the knowledge that their child is well cared for and happy at school.

We encourage our parents to be actively involved in their children’s learning out of school and are able to share learning experiences through our online learning journeys, volunteering and parent workshops. We recognise that parents are the first educators in children’s lives and value contributions to judgements about children’s development. We use this information to support our assessments and share information about what children need to do next to develop and thrive.

What is it like in the Early Years on a day to day basis?

Every day, we provide opportunities for children to come together to share their experiences and have fun. Our children are happy, proud and feel secure, knowing that we celebrate their successes and value their achievements. The curriculum is centred around children’s interests with a balance of child-initiated and adult-led learning.

Learning Environment

Our learning environment facilitates child-initiated play and provides children with carefully planned opportunities which allow children to explore, create and learn through exciting, stimulating, interactive and accessible resources. Our classroom is bright, vibrant and celebrates the work of the children. We are proud of our outdoor play area and have lots of natural, rustic equipment, in-keeping with the surroundings of the school and linking to the wonderful area we live in.

Role of our Early Years practitioners and teachers:

We are a united team with play-based, child centred learning at the heart of our practice. We aim to communicate and work cooperatively with parents and carers to support our children’s development.

Play is a crucial part of learning at Brough School, in EYFS.
This is combined with lots of well-structured social learning opportunities.
Our EYFS curriculum is enhanced with real experiential learning opportunities, such as in this science lesson.

Children in EYFS always benefit from outdoor learning, such as on this trip to Lowther Castle.

Sequenced Learning:

The EYFS is a very important stage in a child’s life as it helps prepare for school ‘readiness’ as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. Children’s early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs. Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences before the age of five will have a major impact on their future life chances.

The EYFS framework explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development and provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.

The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare.

Children will learn skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development. Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:

  • Communication and language

  • Physical development

  • Personal, social and emotional development.

These prime areas are those most essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning. As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:

  • Literacy;

  • Mathematics;

  • Understanding the world; and

  • Expressive arts and design.

All 7 areas of learning are used to plan children’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to their unique needs. This is a little bit like the curriculum in the rest of the school but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child's unique needs and interests.

Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking, which takes place both indoors and outside. It is very important that they develop social skills, such as turn-taking, sharing and independence, which help them greatly in the next stages of their learning. The guiding principles that shape our practice in the Early Years are that children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments.

This does not mean that all the children's learning is divided up into specific areas. One experience may provide a child with opportunities to develop a number of skills and concepts across several areas of learning. Our expectation is that children's records will be passed on from Nursery and/or pre-school groups, enabling us to ensure continuity throughout the Early Years Foundation stage. We especially work closely with Brough Preschool Nursery to achieve this, but of course explore the learning background of every child that joins the school. Statutory baseline assessment takes place within the first six weeks of children starting Reception. This gives teachers a clear starting point on which to build future learning.

Daily phonics teaching and learning are a key part of the Foundation Stage and help to develop early reading and writing skills. The EYFS curriculum is delivered through cross-curricular topics. If you visited the class, you would see a range of activities taking place such as role-play, practical games, painting, cutting and sticking and reading. You would also see the outdoor classroom in operation, with equipment such as bikes, toys, sand and water.

Children work and play independently, with a strong emphasis on choice and being able to sustain concentration on projects, as well as joining a variety of teacher and teaching assistant-led activities.

Endpoints

Through the use of the intent, implementation and impact approach below, we have designed an action plan that aims to achieve specific endpoints in helping children reach their Early Learning Goals.

Early Learning Goals

There are a total of 17 Early Learning Goals in EYFS:

The prime areas:

Communication and language

Listening, Attention and Understanding: children listen attentively in a range of situations and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. They make comments about what they have heard and ask questions to clarify their understanding.

Speaking: children participate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking and make use of conjunctions. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Physical development

Gross Motor Skills: children negotiate space and obstacles safely. They demonstrate strength, balance and coordination when playing. They move energetically when running, jumping, dancing, hopping, skipping and climbing.

Fine Motor Skills: children hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing. They use a range of small tools, including scissors, paint brushes and cutlery. They begin to show accuracy and care when drawing.

Personal, social and emotional development

Self-Regulation: children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly. They set and work towards simple goals, being able to wait for what they want and control their immediate impulses. Children give focussed attention to activities and show an ability to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.

Managing Self: children are confident to try new activities and show independence, resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge. They know right from wrong and the reasons for rules. Children manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing, going to the toilet and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.

Building 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.

The specific areas

Literacy

Comprehension: children retell stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary. They are able to anticipate key events in stories.

Word Reading: children say a sound for each letter of the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs. They read words and simple sentences that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.

Writing: children write recognisable letter, most of which are formed correctly. They spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters. They write simple phrases and sentences which can be read by others.

Mathematics

Numbers: children have a deep understanding of numbers to 10, including the composition of each number. They subitise up to 5 and recall number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts.

Numerical Patterns: children verbally count beyond 20, recognising the pattern of the counting system. They compare quantities up to 10, using the language of greater than and less than. Children explore and represent patterns within numbers to 10, including evens and odds, double facts and how quantities can be distributed equally.

Understanding the world

Past and Present: children talk about the lives of people around them and their roles in society. Drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class, children will know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now.

The Natural World: children make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes. They understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter. They can compare their local environment to contrasting environments.

People, Culture and Communities: children describe their immediate environment. They know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country. They can compare life in this country with life in other countries.

Expressive arts and design

Creating with Materials: children safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. They make use of props and materials when role playing characters in narratives and stories.

Being Imaginative and Expressive: children sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs. They perform songs, rhymes, poems and stories with others and try to move in time to music. They invent, adapt and recount narratives and stories with peers and their teachers.

Subject Action Plan