EYFS – Acorns and Willow

Intent

At Warton Nethersole’s, we believe that the Early Years Foundation Stage is vital in securing solid foundations that children can build upon throughout our school. It is our intent that all children that enter our EYFS classroom (whether in Nursery or Reception) develop emotionally, physically, verbally, and cognitively whilst embarking upon a lifelong love of learning.

We believe that all children will succeed and are passionate in supporting all children to achieve their full potential. We ensure that we get to know the individual needs of our children and know their starting points to enable us to carefully develop our EYFS curriculum.

Children in EYFS are immersed in an exciting, ambitious curriculum based on the seven learning areas outlined in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation.

Our curriculum is designed to stimulate children’s interests as well as to extend their knowledge and experiences, and is planned using the educational programmes stated in the Statutory Framework for EYFS with guidance from The Birth to 5 document. Through our approach and ethos, our children’s interests and needs are at the heart of all that we do.

Implementation

At Warton Nethersole’s, we believe in the importance of building a secure foundation, to give children the key skills to be successful in school and in life. Our EYFS curriculum is delivered through a balance of direct teaching with uninterrupted opportunities to explore, practise and extend skills and knowledge independently through continuous and enhanced provision. Our children in Acorns work in two groups; Seedlings are our youngest children and Saplings is our pre-school group.  The groups spend some time each day doing whole group listening and attention activities (Seedlings) and early phonics activities (Saplings).

They then spend time in ‘independent learning’ which is planned for based on areas for development, children’s interests and consolidation activities. During this time adults spend time interacting with the children, supporting them in their play through extending their language and developing their social skills as well as carrying out small group and 1-1 adult led activities. Reception class works in a similar way with more time spent in whole class teaching sessions for phonics, English, maths and RE.

Strong relationships enable the adults in our settings to become facilitators of learning, moving learning forward through quality interactions. Adults “teach” through modelling, suggesting, providing vocabulary or resources, explaining, or encouraging. In this way, if a child encounters a challenge they will be supported to persevere and find a solution.

Our community is at the heart of our ambitious, progressive curriculum. The curriculum enables our children to develop deep knowledge and skills about the world around them through themes, quality texts, resources, and experiences throughout Nursery and Reception that help to prepare them for learning in Key Stage One.

Children in Reception receive a rich daily diet of carefully sequenced Phonics and Maths learning through Rocket Phonics, a Department for Education validated Systematic Synthetic Phonics Scheme, and the Mastery in Number programme designed by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.

Children are taught how to write and compose texts through our comprehensive English curriculum based around a range of diverse, interesting and engaging texts.

Early Reading

Nursery children receive an early phonics teaching session each day they attend. Currently these sessions are based on Letters and Sounds.  Reception children receive daily sessions of systematic synthetic phonics using the Rocket Phonics scheme. Children in Reception read 1-1 with an adult at least once a week in school. Children take home a Rocket Phonics book that is matched to the phonics teaching they have received each week. A love of reading is fostered by daily story time sessions where adults read a range of carefully chosen high quality texts. The children are also encouraged to select their own texts to enjoy throughout the day from our inviting Reading area. Reception children begin their ‘reading challenge’ journey in the autumn term.

Learning Environment

Our Learning Environments across Nursery and Reception are developed to promote independence and allow children to access the curriculum both inside and outside. Learning environments are accessible, clearly defined and promote all areas and aspects of learning in the Early Years Foundation stage. Areas are adapted regularly to meet the children’s developing needs and interests. We ensure that learning areas are stimulating and engaging and accessible to all children. Learning environments are enhanced by practitioners to develop children’s vocabulary and promote inquisitive minds.

Assessment

Ongoing observations and interactions are key to effective assessment in the EYFS. Staff use their knowledge of child development and consult the guidance document Birth to 5 Matters to ensure that children are receiving what they need both developmentally and educationally. At the end of Reception, children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals to determine learning needs for Key Stage One. Accurate, ongoing assessments enable our EYFS practitioners, to plan learning to ensure that children know more and remember more over time. Observations are recorded by staff on Tapestry and Learning Journeys are created for each child that include key observations, independent learning, experiences and wow moments. These are shared with parents so that they are able to reflect upon the learning over time and support practitioners with children’s next steps. Cohort Learning Journeys are also displayed in Nursery and Reception classrooms. In Nursery this is done termly with the display being put into a floor book at the end of each term. In Reception  the class teacher develops a curriculum board display throughout the year to enable children to look at, discuss and retain key information that they have gained throughout the year in all learning areas. Phonics is more formerly assessed each long term using assessment materials from the Rocket Phonics scheme, this data is used to plan and deliver interventions.

Impact

Children at the end of EYFS, have been fully supported to develop a strong sense of self and feel good and secure about themselves. Our children are successful, independent learners and are fully prepared for the next stage of their education as they transition from Reception into Year One. They are able to make sense of the world around them and have an understanding and appreciation of our school values. At the end of EYFS, Warton children  have developed the essential knowledge and skills required for everyday life and lifelong learning. They are well rounded, happy, inquisitive, and successful individuals.