In the Early Years, our vision is closely linked to the whole school vision and promotes the wider school moto; ‘Bright Thinkers Bright Futures’.
Our Early Years vision is to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of their starting points.
Bright thinkers in Early Years
- show curiosity as they explore;
- demonstrate independence in the choices they make;
- have the confidence to persevere when faced with a challenge
We believe that Early Years education is important in its own right and is more than just simply as preparation for the next stage of children’s education.
In the Early Years we aim to ensure that:
- children have access to a broad and balanced curriculum that gives them the range of knowledge and skills to prepare them to become independent learners
- there is ‘quality and consistency’ in teaching and learning so that every child makes at least good progress and that no child gets left behind
- there are close partnerships between pupils, practitioners and with parents and/or carers
- every child is included and supported through equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice
What is our approach to Early Years?
In the Early Years we recognise that young children learn best when they are active. We understand that active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage children for sustained periods. Therefore, we ensure learning is as practical as possible and includes both the indoor and outdoor environment.
Our Early Years setting follows the curriculum as outlined in the statutory framework of the EYFS.
The EYFS framework includes seven areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected. However, three areas known as the prime areas are particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building a child’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
The prime areas are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
The prime areas are strengthened and applied through four specific areas:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
Children’s play is an essential and rich part of their learning process, supporting them in all areas of development. Play-based activities range between carefully planned and prepared opportunities, to child initiated momentary experiences. Staff also take into account the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care and use this information to plan an enjoyable and challenging curriculum. Where a child may have a special educational need or disability, staff consider whether specialist support is required, linking with relevant services and outside agencies, where appropriate.
Alongside the Early Years Curriculum, we deliver phonics sessions using ‘Read Write Inc.’ (RWI) resources. In the Nursery, children are introduced to phonics through a ‘Sound of the Day’. All children are taught further aspects of the program through small group work. Reception pupils participate in whole class teaching sessions and differentiated group work. In addition, the children are encouraged to use their developing phonics skills in all writing opportunities presented through topic work.
All sessions use rigorous and dynamic teaching methods to create enthusiastic readers, confident speakers and willing young writers.
Our EYRS staff are skilled in developing children’s thinking to promote their learning, even if this requires adapting pre-planned activities. Stimulating ‘adult supported’ activities are devised to meet individual needs across all areas of the EYFS curriculum.
Children receive a balance between self-initiated, independent and adult supported activities that are tailored specifically for their learning. Activities are designed to engage pupils in practical, first-hand experiences that support children as they discover, explore, investigate and develop their personal interests and areas of curiosity. The timetable provides children with opportunities to apply newly acquired knowledge, demonstrating their skills and level of understanding as they make sense of the world around them.
Adults use questioning to promote children’s thinking skills through topics inspired by the childrens’ interests. The children are challenged through differentiated input and all staff members use question starters consistently at each stage of development. Our curriculum is enhanced by participating in whole school events such as whole school assemblies and national events. We feel this is an important way to develop self confidence and promote spoken language.
Nursery and Reception children have access to timetabled specialist music provision. The music teachers work with the class teachers to enhance the children’s skills within the area of Expressive Arts and Design, basing the sessions on what is happening in class and providing first-hand experience of a variety of exciting percussion instruments. Reception children are taught PE lessons by specialist teachers.
Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development processes. Staff continually observe pupils to identify their level of achievement, interests and learning styles. These observations are used to shape future planning. More formative assessments are carried out on a termly basis and are used to create tailored and challenging activities linked to the Early Years Outcomes. Practitioners also take into account observations shared by parents and/or carers.
What would you expect to see in Early Years?
- A welcoming, accessible and language rich environment
- Exemplary learning behaviours from our children, relevant to their stage of development
- Extensive use of the areas, a breadth of activities and opportunities for independent child led learning
- Adults actively engaging and interacting with children in a purposeful way
- A varied and creative use of high quality resources
- Children purposefully engaging in learning in the indoor and outdoor environment