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 between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high-quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. (Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2021)
It is our vision to ensure our children within our setting are happy, enthusiastic and confident learners with aspirations to excel in whatever they choose to do. Our EYFS is a carefully planned environment which allows children to explore, practise and refine learning using a core set of resources which are built upon throughout the year. This is underpinned by our ethos - ‘where happy learners grow’.
We place great value on the development of children as individuals and providing them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage One and beyond.
Our ‘DIVE’ (Diversity, Identity, Vocabulary and Enrichment) curriculum is based upon our children’s needs and interests so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. They can only do that if we embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking.
Our priority is to enable the children to succeed in modern day Britain by providing a rich, relevant and exciting curriculum. In doing so the children will develop a lifelong love of learning. Developing oracy, talk and vocabulary skills to be able to express themselves, reading for information and pleasure, writing for different purposes and being able to apply their maths skills to real life situations, being able to explain, analyse and persuade is at the heart of what we do. Embedded in this learning, children are taught how to behave, work together and be honest, kindness, respectful & determined in order to meet the high expectations for behaviour.
Our enabling environment is well equipped and organised both indoors and outside which ensures a calming space which leads to effective, meaningful and impactful learning. Alongside this, warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. As the pupils move through early years, we invest time and energy into helping pupils set and reflect on their own goals by aiming high and developing a love of reading, writing and number. This is delivered through a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking following children’s interests and ideas. We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through a vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips, visits and regular forest school sessions to help children embed their learning. Our investment in specialist teachers for Music, Drama & Arts (MADE), PE and forest school mean that children continually receive high quality teaching throughout the curriculum.
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, maths and phonics every day.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow the rigorous and highly successful Read, Write Inc programme so that they meet good outcomes for reading with almost all children passing the Year One phonics screening.
We follow the Maths Mastery approach in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts.
Our curriculum must meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, so we spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning. This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences and analysing data and progress by year group, class, groups and individuals. Every member of staff uses ongoing observational assessment to identify children’s starting points and plan experiences which ensure progress.
Evidence of children’s learning including observations, work samples, photographs and contributions from parents are kept in paper ‘learning journals’ which children use to reflect on their progress through pupil voice.
Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress. During their time in our EYFS, children make good progress to ensure that they are ready for their next steps of their education. We believe our high standards are due to the enriched play-based exploration alongside the rigour of assessment and teaching the children have as they move through the early years – a rich diet of balanced learning experiences is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children.