At Thorner C of E Primary School, we believe that the Early Years Foundation Stage plays a crucial role in developing children’s curiosity and love of learning. Our children in EYFS learn in a stimulating environment with high quality provision areas inside and outdoors. This includes our construction area, craft station, malleable materials station, sand area, water area, mud kitchen, home corner, transient art station, and many more. These areas are frequently enhanced based on our children’s interests, class texts and whole school themes. Through positive interactions with adults, we nurture our youngest learners and support them to develop the characteristics of effective learning. We follow the EYFS statutory framework, facilitating opportunities for the children to play and develop in the prime areas of learning (physical development, communication & language and personal, social & emotional development) as well as challenge in the specific areas of learning (literacy, maths, art & design and understanding the world) to ensure our children are ready and prepared for Key Stage 1.
In EYFS, we are committed to providing all our children the best possible start in their school life, both intellectually and emotionally, in order to enable them to develop their confidence, self-esteem and a love of learning. Our top priority is to enthuse and inspire our children to become active learners, laying firm foundations for their future education and lives.
Whilst recognising that every child is unique and special and begins their time with us at Thorner from different starting points, we have the highest expectations that our children in EYFS will:
- develop self-confidence and self-esteem through their developing awareness of their own identity and role within the community
- express and communicate their needs and feelings in appropriate ways
- develop independence, resilience and decision-making skills, learning through their mistakes and believing in themselves as learners
- develop their understanding of social skills and the values and codes of behaviour required for people to work together harmoniously
- develop care, respect and appreciation for others, including those with beliefs, cultures and opinions differ from their own, and for the environment around them
- be positive about their learning and challenge themselves
- be creative thinkers
We aim support each child’s welfare, learning and developmental needs by:
- understanding that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates:- physically, cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally
- providing a safe, secure and caring environment where children feel happy and know that they are valued
- developing children’s mental, social, environmental, physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing
- understanding the importance of play in children’s learning and development
- Providing both child and adult initiated experiences and activities which build on children’s existing skills, knowledge and understanding in order to challenge, stimulate and extend their learning and development.
- Providing effective learning opportunities in a range of environments, inside and outside.
- provide learning experiences in play which reflect children’s personal interests and areas of curiosity in order to encourage and develop their natural desire, interest, excitement and motivation to learn
- promoting positive relationships between children, staff and parents.
- Supporting a smooth transition into reception, valuing our relationships with our parents and carers, as the people who know their child best, and valuing the information from children’s prior settings
- ensuring thoughtfully planned and smooth transitions from reception to KS1, ensuring out learning is well-sequenced so all children have the knowledge and experience necessary to help them succeed, no matter which stage of their learning they are at.
- Promoting positive relationships between children, staff and parents.
Our approach is implemented through following the interests of our children, on a daily basis, through our skills and play based curriculum.
We offer a well-planned and highly stimulating indoor and outdoor environment, encompassing open ended, natural, authentic and loose parts play provision. Literacy and maths resources are available and promoted in provision areas both indoors and outdoors. Our environment is enhanced daily based on the children’s interests, their level of skill, our class texts and our whole school themes. Children can free flow between the indoor and outdoor areas, allowing them to follow their own interests, initiate their own learning and ensuring that they can learn in an environment that compliments their learning style the best. The children in reception are also involved in forest school sessions, encouraging them to explore the world around them. Learning in EYFS is as practical as possible and children have a hands on experience, supporting the children to be curious and active learners.
Our skilled practitioners engage in high quality interactions with children in the environment, encouraging them to explore, investigate problems and work collaboratively with other children and motivating each child to have ownership of their learning. They ask questions, introduce new vocabulary, encourage communication, and provide challenge or scaffolding to individuals and groups of children, supporting the children’s progress in the environment during play. Staff continually plan ‘in the moment’ - observing, assessing, planning for, and responding to, that individual child whenever they spot a ‘teachable moment’. All adults in EYFS are trained to a high standard and have an excellent knowledge of the Early Years Curriculum and the children’s current level of skill and next steps, extending their learning whilst ‘at play’, ensuring that Every Child Achieves.
Key learning also takes place through high quality adult led teaching inputs, including phonics, maths, reading and RE, which are flexibly delivered either to the whole class, small groups or individuals. These are planned to support with learning a skill or to meet a specific need and ensures that children are exposed to all areas of the EYFS curriculum. To ensure success we provide a multi-sensory, visual, auditory and kinaesthetic approach to learning for all children. Our environment is then enhanced to support the application of key learning, and children are encouraged to complete ‘rainbow challenges’ so that children are constantly remembering and embedding what they have learned through their own enquiry and exploration. In addition, high quality stories and literature are in every area of provision to encourage children to use their phonic knowledge, develop descriptive, exciting vocabulary and a love of reading. The children are supported to re-tell stories and create and act out stories of their own. Maths is emphasised in all aspects of the daily routine and when learning in provision, through real-life and meaningful experiences, using practical and hands-on resources.
Adult led activities are based on first hand experiences wherever possible. The children are supported to develop problem-solving skills through open-ended tasks and opportunities to share their thinking with others. The number of adult led activities that the children take part in increases throughout the year, as their concentration develops, in order to support their transition into year 1.
In EYFS, we also use Objective Led Planning to ensure children are working towards their own personalised next steps, to either provide extra support to individuals and small groups of children or to extend and challenge, in line with our Keep Up Not Catch Up approach. Keep Up sessions are based on ongoing assessments and the children’s interests, and a mixture of resources are used, tailored to meet the children’s next steps.
Our curriculum for EYFS is underpinned by excellent relationships with children, but also with our parents. We ensure that children have the best possible opportunities to achieve by communicating openly and effectively with parents on a regular basis, through newsletters, EvidenceMe, home learning books, termly reports and verbal communication to ensure children receive valuable and targeted support at home.
The impact of our early years approach is that by the end of the year children in EYFS are:
- Independent and curious learners who enjoy learning and see it as purposeful
- Confident, self-assured, resilient and happy
- Kind, caring and polite individuals who have formed positive relationships with their peers and adults
- Responsible and thoughtful individuals who care about the world around them
EYFS Curriculum at Thorner: