EYFS Curriculum Statement
Intent, implementation and impact of the Early Years Foundation Stage at St. Anne’s Catholic Primary School.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to all children from birth to the end of the Reception year.
At St Anne's Primary School we recognise the crucial role that early year’s education has in providing firm foundations upon which the rest of a child’s education is successfully based. We offer a curriculum rich in spirituality, wonder and memorable experiences. We work hard to provide a stimulating environment that provides exciting opportunities, promotes challenge, exploration, adventure and a real love of learning. It is our intent that all children develop physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally in an environment which values all cultures, communities and people. We aim for our children to be confident and independent, to believe in themselves and interact positively with others. To this end, we provide knowledge-rich instruction by consistently exposing children to rich, developmentally appropriate texts and activities throughout the school year.
We work in partnership with parents, carers and other settings to provide the best possible start, ensuring each individual reaches their full potential from their various starting points. 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 right from the start. Warm and positive relationships are developed quickly between staff and children.
Our curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning, both from previous settings and their experiences at home. We provide a stimulating environment that provides exciting opportunities, promotes challenge, exploration, adventure and a real love of learning. We offer a curriculum rich in wonder and memorable experiences.
We recognise the importance of children’s play and understand that play is an integral part of learning. We offer a balance of adult-led and child-initiated learning through whole class, small group and continuous play based activities. We know that young children learn best when they are active and that active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve children.
Our curriculum is designed to develop ‘The Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning’ which is threaded throughout the seven areas of learning, they show the different ways that children learn.
The three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
• Playing and Exploring-Children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
• Active Learning-Children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements;
• Creating and thinking critically- Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
A main focus at St Anne's is developing young children's oral language skills, including their vocabulary and narrative skills. Oral language skills are the foundation for listening comprehension during the early years and reading comprehension in subsequent years. In EYFS at St Anne's, oral language skills are modelled and practiced as teachers read aloud to children and engage them in rich, content related discussions. Speech, language and communication is at the heart of learning. We create a ‘language rich’ environment through the use of songs, nursery rhymes, stories and quality interactions between adults and between peers. Staff ensure that interactions are positive and progressive, allowing children to flourish and gather words at pace in order to become confident communicators.
The EYFS is delivered in accordance with the government’s statutory document the ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Year Foundation Stage’ (Department for Education September 2021). We meet the welfare requirements and actively safeguard and promote the welfare of all of our children.
We follow the four overarching principles which shape practice in our early years setting:
• A Unique Child- every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
• Positive Relationships- children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
• Enabling Environments- children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
• Learning and Development– importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is a curriculum from birth to five years old. There are seven areas of learning (3 Prime and 4 Specific). The three Prime areas of learning are those which the children should develop first and are considered most essential for the healthy development and future learning of our children. As children grow and make progress in the prime areas, this will help them to naturally develop skills within the four specific areas:
Our language and vocabulary development across the day is developed through an EEF recommended approach ‘Shrec’ in which our practitioners are highly skilled. Using this framework, we engage in multiple interactions with every child, every day.
We provide an engaging curriculum that maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences. The curriculum is taught through a thematic approach which is enriched with classroom enhancements, trips and visitors. Topics are supported by quality key texts, which are chosen carefully to encourage children's speech, language and communication development. Our curriculum is play based and full of hands on activities. Our long term and medium term planning provides progressive experiences which build on children’s existing knowledge and understanding in order to challenge, stimulate and extend their learning and development. Planning can be flexible and responsive to children’s ideas, interests and needs.
Our learning environment has indoor and outdoor spaces where opportunities provided include a range of adult focused, adult led, child led and child initiated learning. The adult play partners in the outdoor and indoor environment offer support, guidance, questioning, and intervention whilst modelling and developing oral language skills and application of new vocabulary. The children are supported to learn to work together, manage their feelings and ask questions through skilled adult facilitated purposeful play. They learn to investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’. They develop their independence and resilience. They develop their own ideas and are supported by an adult play partner.
The timetable is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching during the day. The timetable changes throughout the year and this directed teaching is increased more in Reception to take into consideration the changing needs of the children. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start. The children in Nursery receive the teaching of pre-reading and early reading skills through the use of DfE ‘Letters and Sounds’ phase one phonics and ‘Talk for Reading’ strategies. During the summer term in Nursery and throughout the year in Reception we apply a systematic, synthetic phonics approach using the ‘Read Write Inc.’ scheme. Children learn to read words and simple sentences accurately and with increasing fluency by the end of Reception. Children are encouraged to read at home and are listened to daily in school. They are given books that match their phonic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers. Children are encouraged to become early readers through enjoyment of books. We develop their oracy, vocabulary and comprehension. Children who need support receive additional intervention through additional reading with an adult in school, RWI 1:1 tuition, ‘NELI’ and ‘Language Link’ programmes.
The children develop their mathematical thinking through direct teaching and exploration. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences. In Reception we use the ‘White Rose’ maths scheme to support children’s maths development. Pupils complete tasks using concrete manipulatives, pictorial structures and representations. This is then rehearsed, applied and recorded.
Our themeatic approach to learning has been developed to provide children with a broad knowledge base for future learning. Children are taught through a talk aloud picture books and high quality texts chosen to develop their knowledge, understanding and vocabulary.
The following topics are carefully planned with progressive outcomes.
My Nursery: Where Do I belong?
Marvellous Me : Who am I?
Once Upon a Time
All Creatures Great and Small
Ready Steady Grow
On the Move
Kings and Queens
Weather and Seasons
The Story of My Life (including Traditional Tales)
All About Me
My Family and My Community
How Does Your Garden Grow
Home Sweet Home (including transition)
Kings and Queens
Weather and Seasons
Caring for Our World
Our school environment enables our children to strengthen their core muscles through physical play. Children spend time outdoors in their natural environment in all weathers. They develop through wonderful, exploratory, sensory experiences in our mud kitchen, digging area and sandpit. Reception children can participate in the ‘Ready, Set, Ride core and balance programme. Children can climb, balance and move freely in the outdoor area. ‘Wake and shake’ dances and Yoga sessions are part of our daily timetable. For children who may need additional support we follow the ‘Beam’ intervention programme. Fine motor skills are developed through a range of activities including dough disco, fiddle station, finger gym and use of equipment and resources.
Staff plan and work together to ensure continuity and progression. Links are made with subject leaders and Year One staff. The long term and medium term plans ensure progression and coverage across age and stage related expectations in all areas of learning and development to work towards achieving the Early Learning Goals and a Good Level of Development by the end of Reception. The EYFS curriculum feeds into whole school planning to ensure both progression and a transparent understanding and celebration of the broad base of knowledge acquired in EYFS providing a secure foundation for future learning.
We use the Observation, Assessment and Planning cycle as described in the EYFS guidance. Children are observed and assessed during adult focused activities and child initiated play. On-going observations and interactions with children help us to inform planning and next steps for all children. All staff communicate with the class teachers to share their observations of all children.
We work with parents to ensure smooth transitions from home to Nursery, from Nursery to Reception and Reception to Year One. Parents are encouraged to actively engage in their child's learning through a variety of ways. We invite parents to a variety of events throughout the year e.g. parent’s evening, class Masses and assemblies. We encourage parents to volunteer in school e.g. listening to readers.
We operate an open door policy and practitioners are available to talk to parents at the start and end of each day. We can communicate with parents over the telephone or through the year group email. Parents receive curriculum overviews to inform them of what their child will be learning each term and to explain how they can support this at home. Parents are involved with homework activities which consolidate and build on what has been learnt in school. Families are asked to support their child with reading each day. We further build relationships by sharing information through the school website, school weekly newsletters and Twitter.
Prior to children starting school, staff speak to the child’s parents, previous settings and read previous learning journeys to gain an understanding of the whole child. Since September 2021, we complete the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) a statutory assessment. This provides a snapshot of where pupils are when they arrive at school and provides a starting point to measure the progress schools make with their pupils between reception and the end of primary school.
During the first few weeks in Nursery and Reception, staff use ongoing assessments, observations and conversations with the child to develop a baseline. This identifies each individual’s starting points in all areas so we can plan experiences to ensure progress towards the national expectation for a good level of development at the end of the Reception year.
Children develop their characteristics of effective learning and are able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. Children can take small risks, reflect and discuss on their successes and failures with both peers and adults. Children are confident, engaged, curious and on task during learning opportunities.
New vocabulary and concepts are repeated, reviewed and applied. The play partner role allows staff to know the children extremely well. Staff are familiar with children’s likes and areas of lesser interest. Staff can facilitate the children’s learning, scaffolding and modelling and offering intervention if and when needed, this gives staff and children time for shared sustain thinking.
All ongoing observations are used to inform planning and identify children’s next steps. This formative assessment does not involve prolonged periods of time away from the children or excessive paper work. Practitioners draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgements. Practitioners are involved with internal, local authority and MAC moderation events.
Phonic assessments are carried out regularly to quickly identify pupils that are not making expected progress. These children have daily phonics intervention to help them catch up quickly. We actively seek parents input to their child’s learning and development and this is used to support practitioner’s judgements.
As part of the learning and teaching process, children are assessed in relation to their progress towards the Early Learning Goals. We use the non-statutory guidance ‘Development Matters’ to support practitioners with making a best fit judgement to judge if a child is on track or off track. These judgements are made on the basis of accumulative observations and in depth knowledge of the children acquired through ongoing observations, interactions and assessment.
By the end of the EYFS we aim to ensure all children make good or better progress, and a high proportion of our learners meet a Good Level of Development (GLD) within the prime areas of learning and including two specific areas; Literacy and Mathematics. Data is carefully inputted and monitored termly, and staff meet to moderate observations and discuss next steps regularly.
Transition into Key Stage 1 is smooth and practitioners take the time to liaise with Year One staff, sharing important information and development points. Across the EYFS we strive to ensure all learners, including disadvantaged and SEN learners, achieve the best possible outcomes
We recognise that all children are "Unique and Special" and children will:
Long term Plans