The EYFS at Beaconsfield
Our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is comprised of Nursery (morning and afternoon) and Reception classes. We recognise that each child is unique and aim to provide a welcoming and safe environment where all roles and contributions are valued and where all achievements are celebrated.
“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their potential. A child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.” Department for Children, Schools and Families
Educational research has led us to draw the following conclusions about how our pupils learn:
- Learning is a change to long-term memory
- Knowledge is vital as it facilitates thinking and improves memory
- Children learn best when they are able to make connections
- Repetition is required for long-term retention
We recognise that learning and development is not a linear or automatic process and all children develop in different ways and engage with their learning at different rates. Throughout their time in the EYFS, our children partake in an ambitious curriculum which is designed in a sequential way to ensure children can explore key concepts in multiple contexts as they progress through the foundation stage.
The EYFS curriculum has also been designed to meet the needs of our community by consideration of the following factors as outlined in our teaching and learning policy:
- Developing our pupils’ English skills, their knowledge of vocabulary and promoting a love of reading.
- Supporting our children in becoming global citizens within the framework of British Values and through our work as a Rights Respecting School.
- Enabling pupils to develop a ‘Growth Mindset’ in the context of our school ethos of Belief, Perseverance, Success.
In addition to the whole school priorities outlined above, the following factors have been taken into consideration when designing our EYFS curriculum:
- Our curriculum covers the required learning as outlined in the EYFS Framework but has been tailored to our school and community through topics and themes covered and the learning experiences that are planned for pupils to participate in.
- The creation of opportunities for children to practise, revise and extend their knowledge and skills in a consistent and stable environment.
- The children are involved in making choices and decisions. Self-discipline and respect for self and others are strongly encouraged so that they can become independent, resourceful and resilient learners.
- The curriculum provides opportunities for children to apply their knowledge and skills through quality first-hand experiences to result in a change in their long term memory.
In teaching and learning activities we expect:
- Emphasis on a hands-on approach to learning as this is what best allows children to communicate and express their interests and ideas.
- Adults to encourage children to express their thoughts and ideas in an environment which values their contributions and perspectives.
- Adults to support children by fostering a desire to learn by nurturing active questioning and an awareness of the world around them.
- Adults to 'work together' with children during meaningful interactions to solve a problem, clarify a concept, evaluate an activity or extend a narrative etc. Both parties must contribute to the thinking and it must develop and extend the understanding.
Enrichment experiences (such as workshops or class trips) are planned by the EYFS leader and other subject leaders to further develop pupils’ understanding of the topics studied. Examples of enrichment experiences which take place regularly include visits from People Who Help Us within the community such as the dentist, school nurse and police officers. There are also activities planned off site such as a visit to the local library, Fire Station, and Bockett’s Farm, in addition to trips to the local shops.
Assessment for Learning
Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development processes. Staff make observations of pupils to identify their level of achievement, interests and learning styles. These observations are used to shape future planning. Practitioners also take into account observations shared by parents and/or carers.
Once a child has settled into school, staff then observe and complete an on-entry assessment. This is called a 'baseline'. There are three further points for summative assessment at the end of each term to identify which age-band pupils are working within and highlight skills and knowledge that pupils require further support in developing.
Throughout each child’s time within the Early Years, a learning journal (folder) is compiled to celebrate their achievements and provide evidence of their attainment throughout the year. This evidence is from a combination of photos, observations, pupil work and samples of pupil-voice.
We recognise that parents are the child’s first and most enduring educators. When parents and practitioners work together in early year’s settings, the results have a positive impact on the child’s development. A successful partnership needs to be a two-way flow of information, knowledge and expertise.
We develop this by:
- Outlining the EYFS curriculum to parents during the 'new to' parents’ meetings for Nursery and Reception parents, to enable them to better understand educational journey their child will be embarking on and to explain the value of supporting their child’s learning at home
- Half termly 'Knowledge Webs' are sent home detailing the teaching and learning for the upcoming half term
- Operating an “open door” policy, whereby parents can come and discuss concerns and developments in an informal manner in addition to the regular Parent’s Consultations held each term.
- Sharing progress at school and encouraging parents to comment on their child’s celebratory certificate ('Writer of the week', 'Mathematician of the week', 'Star of the week', 'Phonics Superhero' and 'Reading Champion')
- Inviting parents into class to share in their children’s learning.
- Inviting parents to volunteer in Nursery or Reception and support with learning activities
- Encouraging parents to listen to their child read each night and to comment on reading progress in a home/school contact book
- Encouraging relevant learning tasks to be continued at home ensuring that experiences at home are used to develop learning in school
- Providing an annual written report to parents in July summarising the child’s progress against the Early Learning Goals and giving an outline of their child’s Characteristics of Effective Learning
In addition to this we offer parents workshops each term to support their understanding of child development and teaching and learning. We are responsive to the parents needs and requests throughout the year.
Annual workshops we provide for parents include:
- Developing Independence in Early Years
- Understanding Phonics in the Early Years
- Early Maths
- Early Reading
Further information about the above can be found here.