Early Years Foundation Stage
The EYFS Framework Intent:
Our curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning, both from previous settings and their experiences at home. We work in partnership with parents, carers and other settings to provide the best possible start at English Martyrs, ensuring each individual reaches their full potential from their various starting points.
Our curriculum has been designed to enable children to succeed through cooperative and collaborative learning principles. As such, there is a strong emphasis on the Prime Areas of learning; Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language, including spoken language.
At English Martyrs, we recognise that oracy not only improves academic outcomes, but is a life skill to ensure success beyond school, in life and future employment. Oracy develops children’s thinking and understanding, which in turn promotes self-confidence, resilience and empathy which support the child’s well-being. Our enabling environments and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration right from the start.
We believe that high level engagement ensures high level attainment. We therefore provide an engaging curriculum that 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. We following children’s interests and ideas to foster a lifelong love of learning both in and outside of school.
By the end of the Reception year, our intent is to ensure that all children make at least good progress from their starting points are equipped with the skills and knowledge to have a smooth transition into Year 1.
Each half term, EYFS staff introduce a new broad theme to provide inspiration for learning, whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas. Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities.
The timetable is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching during the day. The timetable changes throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of the children. These sessions are followed by small focused group work. This means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
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.
English / Literacy
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start. In EYFS we have ‘Books We Love’. The aim is to expose children to a range of books that not only develop a love of reading, but have been chosen specifically to develop their oracy, vocabulary and comprehension. These books will be embedded in our provision through activities, story sessions and on display for children to access independently. Through this, children begin to internalise new vocabulary, language patterns and begin to retell stories. Children in Nursery and Reception take home two picture storybooks per week to share at home storytime with an adult.
There is cohesion and consistency with our approach to align with the whole school Literacy Curriculum that is followed from Years 1-6:
- The inclusion of high-quality texts which are age and stage appropriate
- Modelled reading and re-telling opportunities across each session
- Structured comprehensions questions based on Blooms Taxonomy
- A focus on Tier 1, 2 and 3 Vocabulary
- Dedicated phonics sessions, employing tricky and high-frequency words
- Cooperative learning behaviours which develop oracy and independence
We follow the DfES approved RWI programme to ensure consistency across the school.
Reception children read daily in school as part of their RWI lesson. They are given books at school and to take home daily that match their phonic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers
In Reception, we follow the White Rose Maths Scheme of work which is divided into 3 weekly units. High quality learning environments and meaningful interactions with adults, support children in developing mathematical thinking and discussion. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives and pictorial structures and representations which are then rehearsed applied and recorded within their own child-led exploration.
In Nursery, children develop a love of maths through games, songs, rhymes, and play using concrete manipulatives. There is a focus on the following counting principles; one to one correspondence, stable order, subitising and the cardinal principle. Children’s fine manipulative skills are a focus to develop 1-1 correspondence so children count each object only once.
Our wider curriculum is taught through the learning areas; ‘Understanding of the World’ and ‘Expressive Arts and Design.’ Exciting, purposeful and contextual activities are planned to build on children’s natural curiosity. For example, building a boat for their favourite toy enables them to think like a ‘Scientist’ and ‘Engineer’ as they explore a range of materials and test out their own ideas. We have a focus artist each half term and children engage with their work, exploring techniques and producing their own artwork.
Building further on our oracy focus, children will be encouraged to employ subject specific language and terminology in foundation subjects, and such vocabulary will be modelled, both verbally and orally, by supporting practitioners.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of additional intervention and support for children who may not be reaching their potential, or are showing a greater depth of understanding and need further challenge. This includes, for example, sessions for developing speech and language, social skills, fine motor skills, phonics, and mathematics.
Regular monitoring of teaching and learning by SLT and the EYFS leader ensure staff develop good subject knowledge. The EYFS leader ensures staff receive CPD specific to Early Years to develop their practice. For example, we offer CPD on effective observations, in order to understand where pupils are, and their ‘next steps,’ for learning.
Prior to children starting, staff spend time speaking to the child’s parents, previous settings and read previous learning journey’s to gain an understanding of the whole child and where they are at. During the first half term in Nursery or Reception, all staff use ongoing assessments, observations and conversations with the child to develop a baseline assessment. This identifies each individual’s starting points in all areas so we can plan experiences to ensure progress. The following baseline assessments are also carried out.
The RBA (Statutory Reception Baseline Assessment)
This assessment focuses on ‘Language, Communication and Literacy,’ and ‘Mathematics.’ The purpose of this is to show the progress children make from Reception until the end of KS2.
Wellcomm pack is an evidence-based oral language and understanding intervention for children who show weakness in their oral language skills and who are therefore at risk of experiencing difficulty with reading. The assessment informs us if the child is at expected for their age or requires intervention.
All ongoing observations are used to inform weekly planning and identify children’s next steps. This formative assessment does not involve prolonged periods of time away from the children and excessive paper work. Practitioners draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgements through discussions with other practitioners, photographs and physical examples such as a child’s drawing / making.
Phonic assessments are carried out using the RWI phonics tracker every half term to quickly identify pupils that are not making expected progress. Our aim is for children to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’.
In Summer Term 2, the EYFSP is completed where teachers judge whether the child has met each of the 17 ELG’s. They will be assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected.’