Every child deserves the best possible start in life, in the Early Years we aim to give this by observing what the children can do and supporting them to fulfil their potential. Children become independent learners through the provision of a balance of child initiated and adult led experiences. Through play, our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. They practise and build up ideas, and learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems.
We aim to provide a practical, hands on, play based curriculum that engages all children through a variety of carefully planned activities. Our strong Foundation Stage team works together, with all team members attending regular meetings to discuss planning and to make decisions about policy and good practice. We believe that in order for children to learn they must feel safe, secure and happy within our setting, therefore our first priority must be to ensure children’s personal, social and emotional development needs are met. We work to develop strong links with parents and carers and to help them support their child’s learning. Aims: In the Foundation Stage we aim to: Create a happy, safe, stimulating and caring environment that provides experiences, which appeal to children with all learning styles.
To encourage children to become self-motivated and independent learners to make positive and healthy choices. Promote self-esteem. Promote independence. Encourage children’s curiosity and foster a love of learning. Build positive relationships with parents, carers and the wider community. Provide play based, hands on learning experiences, both indoors and outdoors. Promote good behaviour through high expectations and positive role models.
Policy into Practice - The Revised Early Years Foundation Stage: The content of the curriculum is set out within the Revised Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) document. Guidance is given on effective learning and teaching through the seven areas:
Prime Areas of Learning:
1. Personal, Social and Emotional Development
2. Communication and Language
3. Physical Development Specific Areas of Learning:
6. Understanding the World
7. Expressive Arts and Design
All areas are delivered through a balance of adult led and child initiated activities. Within each of these areas there are developmental bands which show the knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes that children need to learn during the EYFS in order to achieve the Early Learning 2 Goals.
Children’s Characteristics of Effective Learning are all interconnected with the prime and specific areas of learning. The ways in which children engage with other people and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically will observed and underpin learning and development across all areas and will support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner. Organisation: Within the Foundation Stage classroom there is a cloakroom with separate boys and girls toilets, a small quiet room available for group work and a well-equipped outside play area. Teachers and teaching assistants work together to manage classroom based activities and free-flow. Planning:
We use the revised EYFS, Development Matters, and the Letters and Sounds document to support our planning. All team members attend planning meetings; this is seen as vital to ensure the effectiveness of the planning in practice. In Foundation Stage 2, planning is carried out on a medium term (termly and half-termly) and short-term (weekly and daily) basis.
The outdoors is seen as an essential part of our teaching and learning space and is included in short and medium term plans. Phonics: The teaching and learning of phonics is absolutely critical to children’s schooling and to their future prospects as readers and writers. It sits at the heart of all that we do across Early Years and Key Stage 1, and works most effectively as part of a joined-up relationship with parents.
We use the Letters and Sounds programme, see: www.letters-and-sounds.com, a Systematic Synthetic phonics programme supported by dedicated reading books and a series of videos made by our staff and shared with parents to support learning at home. We work closely with the Ramsbury English Hub to ensure all our staff, working with any year group, are fully-trained and able to support and contribute.
Assessment: All aspects of our Foundation Stage provision are based on a secure understanding of the needs of the children. We believe that this understanding can only come from good quality observational assessments undertaken by sensitive practitioners.
When the children first start in Foundation Stage 2, they are ‘baselined’ to be able to gain an understanding of where the children are in terms of their development and next steps. During the school day, a variety of methods are used to record observations. Each child has an online Interactive Learning Journey via Tapestry. Observations from the classroom are uploaded and linked to areas of learning. Observations can take the form of notes, pictures and videos. At least 80% of assessment material on each child is gathered during child initiated time.
Recording & Monitoring The revised EYFS is a framework, which came into force in September 2012, and is the regulatory and quality framework for the provision of learning. An end of year EYFS profile is completed for each child in the academic year in which they reach the age of five. It is statutory to complete the Foundation Stage Profile for each pupil and it is completed in partnership with parents. Each parent is provided with a copy of this at the end of Foundation Stage 2.
This provides Year 1 teachers and parents with reliable and accurate information about each child’s level of development as they reach the end of the EYFS. Transition Several activities are organised for those children coming from Foundation Stage 1 into Foundation Stage 2, and Foundation Stage 2 moving into Key Stage 1 at the end of the year, 3 this is to help a smooth transition. Activities are set up indoors and outdoors which reflect our practice for the children to explore with the support of their parents/carers. The staff are available to chat to and any questions can be answered. In term 6, each class undergo a ‘transition week’ where they spend a week in their new class, getting to know their new classroom and teachers. Links with parents & the wider community:
We offer a home visit (that is available on request) so that we can meet the children and their parents in an informal way. This is an excellent opportunity for us to meet the children and parents and discuss any issues or concerns they may have about their child. We feel this is a good way for children to get to know their new teachers in an environment familiar to them. 3 4 Before children start in FS2 we carry out induction meetings where parents /carers and children have an informal meeting with their new teacher, fill out induction forms and ask questions.
Twice a year, in Foundation Stage 2, we carry out parent meetings when children’s progress towards the Early Learning Goals will be discussed. Parents will be given a mid-year report on their child’s progress and next steps in learning. In addition, learning journeys are sent home for parents to share and discuss with their child. Building on this positive start made during the induction period, home visits (if needed) and induction meetings, all parents are welcomed into all FS classes to settle children every day for the first two weeks, after that, we do encourage children to come into the classroom by themselves.
In Foundation Stage 2 we have termly ‘Stay and Learn’ sessions where the parents/carers are invited to come into their child’s class and experience how their child learns in the Foundation Stage. Foundation Stage 2 parents are invited to evening workshops where they have the chance to talk to other parents/carers and have the opportunity to learn about how they can support their child’s learning at home, for example by informing them how we teach phonics, key words and ideas of activities they can do at home. Activities are based around showing parents and carers how they can support their children at home during their play. Children throughout Foundation Stage are encouraged to take home books from school and share with parents.
In Foundation Stage 2 children take home two reading books a week. Homework is given once a week in the form of a maths learning grid, topic work on Seesaw and the daily reading of books and phonics tasks. We organise Fundraising Days to raise money for charities such as Comic Relief and Children In Need. Children in FS2 go on regular Welly Walks around the school grounds and visiting the local area, such as the doctors, fire station and the library.
Equal Opportunities: All children have an equal entitlement to a good Early Years education, regardless of gender, race, culture, religion, disability and special or medical needs. Special Educational Needs: It is important to us to identify those children early who find some areas of learning difficult so that strategies to help them can be put in place as soon as possible. These children may have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) written by their class teacher in consultation with the parent/carer and SEN co-ordinator. The IEP will be reviewed regularly as the child progresses and new targets will be set. We will work with outside agencies to ensure we are all working together to meet the child’s best interests.