Early Years Foundation Stage
In the EYFS at Highfield Farm Primary School, we provide a curriculum aimed at developing each child to their full potential. Each child is valued as an individual and teaching and learning is based on the understanding that children develop at different rates.
We aim to:
- Provide a safe, challenging, stimulating, caring and sharing environment which is sensitive to the needs of the child, including those with additional needs.
- Provide a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum that will set in place firm foundations for future learning and development, building coherent sequences of components which are based on a progression of key concepts and knowledge set out within ranges.
- Provide opportunities for children to learn through planned, purposeful play in all areas of learning and development.
- Use and value what each child can do, assessing their individual needs and helping each child to progress.
- Enable choice and decision-making, fostering independence and self-confidence.
- Work in partnership with parents/carers and value their contributions, ensuring that all children, irrespective of ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities, gender or ability have the opportunity to experience a challenging and enjoyable programme of learning and development.
- Provide opportunities whereby children experience a challenging and memorable learning experience.
- Provide experiences for all children, whatever their strengths and needs, which are inclusive.
We create opportunities for children to build their retained knowledge, understanding and skills, through the provision of quality interactions and teaching and learning that is both adult-directed and child-led. We support the children to develop social skills and an understanding of how to interact positively and confidently in different contexts and to develop vocabulary. We run an open-ended learning environment that offers opportunities for children to become engaged, independent and motivated in their own learning. We use the cycle of observation, assessment, planning and teaching to enhance and extend learning at the appropriate level for all individuals. We plan adult-directed activities that meet the needs of all children to help them develop and to make progress. We use the Characteristics of Effective Learning to enable our pupils to be ready for Year 1 and we practice Rosenshine’s principles to ensure teaching is effective and equitable for all children, including those from vulnerable groups.
We strive to give our children the best start to their education as possible. The child is at the centre of everything we do. Our practitioners are passionate about Early Years and providing the best possible start for our youngest children. The curriculum has been designed to be relevant to our children’s context but also ambitious. It is taught through a blended approach of adult-directed and child-initiated learning. The continuous and enhanced provision provides resources for the pupils to develop and consolidate knowledge and skills in all areas of the curriculum.
Teaching within our EYFS classrooms is founded upon the many different ways in which adults help young children to learn. A fundamental aspect of this are the interactions that take place during planned and child-initiated play and activities. We believe our teaching staff have the most impact upon children’s development when they communicate and model language, demonstrate key skills, give detailed explanations, explore ideas, recall previous knowledge or experience, provide a narrative for what they are doing and facilitate and set challenges. We believe that effective teaching will respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests and guide their development through warm, positive interaction. We recognise the importance of allowing children to lead their own learning through self-initiated play and seek to enhance this by providing a suitable balance of activities led or guided by adults. We also plan adult-directed learning which focuses on key knowledge and skills the children require to progress and develop to reach the end of year expectations. Scaffold and challenge are used to ensure that the learning is appropriate for all learners, enabling them to flourish. As children progress through the EYFS, and as their development allows, we carefully plan and adapt our daily timetable to prepare children for moving to Year 1 and more formal learning.
The monitoring and evaluation of children’s progress is centred on the in-depth knowledge and understanding staff have of each individual child’s abilities and skills gained through their daily observation and interactions. In support of this, we create electronic Learning Journals to further evidence the productivity and progress of children during high-quality adult-led sessions and purposeful child-initiated play. Learning Journals will include short transcripts of an interaction between an adult and child, statements describing the objective achieved through play-based activities, photographs of children engaged in learning and examples of their work. This qualitative information is then used to support summative assessments of a child’s level of development and their progress towards achieving the Early Learning Goals by the end of their Reception year.
In the final term of their Reception year, the EYFS Profile is completed for each child. The Profile provides a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities and assesses each child’s level of development against the Early Learning Goals. Teaching staff indicate whether children are meeting the expected levels of development, if they are exceeding expected levels, or not yet reaching expected levels and still emerging in this area. Children who achieve at least the expected level in all of the prime areas plus literacy and mathematics are considered to have reached a Good Level of Development. This is shared with parents and carers in their child’s end-of-year report, passed on to their Year 1 teacher and also submitted to the Local Authority for further analysis.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is based upon four principles:
A unique child
We recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self- assured. We recognise that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates. Children’s attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by feedback from others; we use praise and encouragement as well as celebration and rewards to encourage and develop a positive attitude to learning.
We recognise that children learn to be strong and independent from secure relationships and aim to develop caring, respectful and professional relationships with the children and their families.
We recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending the children’s development. Through observations we assess the children’s interests and stages of development and learning needs before planning challenging and achievable activities and experiences to extend their learning.
Learning and development
Foundation stage is organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are areas where the children can be active, be quiet and rest. The seven areas of learning are defined so that children are able to find and locate equipment and resources independently.
Early childhood is the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. At Highfield Farm we greatly value the importance that the EYFS plays in laying the secure foundations for future learning and development. However, we also believe that early childhood is valid in itself as part of life. It is important to view the EYFS as preparation for life and not simply preparation for the next stage of education. The EYFS for children is from birth to five years of age. All children begin school with a wide variety of experiences and learning and it is the privilege of the adults working in the Foundation Stage to accept the task of building upon that prior learning experience. This is done through an holistic approach to learning ensuring that parents and guardians, support staff and the Foundation team work effectively together to support the learning and development of the children in their charge.
It is every child’s right to grow up safe, healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and with economic well-being. The overarching aim of the EYFS is to help young children achieve these five outcomes. We will provide a broad and balanced curriculum that will enable each child to develop personally, socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually to their full potential. Each child is valued as an individual and teaching and learning is based on the understanding that children develop at different rates.
At Highfield Farm we aim to:
- Provide a safe and challenging, stimulating, caring and sharing environment that is sensitive to the needs of all children.
- Provide a broad, balanced, relevant and creative curriculum that will set in place firm foundations for further learning and development in Key Stage 1 and beyond.
- Use and value what each child can do, assessing their individual needs and helping each child to progress.
- Enable choice and decision making, fostering independence and self-confidence.
- Work in partnership with parents and carers and value their contributions ensuring that all children, irrespective of ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, gender or ability have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
- Provide opportunities whereby children experience a challenging and enjoyable programme of learning and development.
- Provide experiences for all children, whatever their needs, that are inclusive rather than parallel.
Learning and development
Learning and development is categorised into three prime areas of learning:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, Social and emotional development
Additionally, there are four specific areas of learning
- Understanding the world
- Expressive art and design.
Achievement of these prime and specific areas of learning is by:
- Playing and exploring
- Active learning
- Creating and thinking critically
Observation, assessment and planning
Long, medium and short term plans are made by the EYFS teaching Staff. Long term plans are drawn up yearly and they provide an overview of what we intend the children to learn by the end of the Reception Year. Medium term plans are made half-termly, and short term plans are drawn up on a weekly basis. The short term plans take into consideration the needs of individual children or groups of children. They also take into account the interests of children and any unplanned events. Ongoing assessment is also used to inform the following weeks planning.
We make regular assessments of Children’s learning and we use this information to ensure that future planning reflects the identified needs. Assessment in the EYFS takes the form of long, short and recorded observations and this involves the teacher and other adults as appropriate. These observations are recorded and used towards profiles that are kept on all children and shared with parents. At the end of FS1 and FS2 a written report is made for each child and sent home to parents.
All children in the foundation stage unit will take part in a literacy, numeracy and phonic based lesson/activity dependent on their ability every day. Each lesson will reflect the terms topic and will be focused around learning intentions linked to the ages and stages of development matters.
In addition to this children will explore topic related activities around the unit focused on developing learning in each area of the curriculum. The activities take place in both indoor and outdoor environment.
The foundation stage unit is a stimulating environment in which the children learn. The indoor classroom and outdoor area is organised into areas to reflect the curriculum. The areas are tidy and well-resourced to enhance children’s learning and independence. Each half term the unit is set up to reflect the topic for the term. The children’s work and ideas will then be added to the environment throughout the term to constantly reflect learning and achievements.
Early Years Foundation Stage Learning Journey
The Learning Journey is completed for each child towards the end of the Foundation year and the results reported to parents formally through parents meetings and the results sent to the LA for analysis. Teachers and Teaching Assistants record observations of children’s achievements across seven curriculum areas. These records are then used to complete the Learning Journey.
The role of parents
We encourage a partnership with parents and aim to achieve this through:
- Inviting parents to join us for transition activities during the school year before they join us in FS2, talking to parents about their child’s needs.
- Inviting parents to Phonics meetings.
- Inviting parents to a ‘Curriculum Meeting’ early in the first term.
- Making arrangements for helping their child to settle into school.
- Providing opportunities at the beginning and end of each day for parents to talk to the teacher.
- Inviting the parents into the classroom to show the work created throughout each topic.
- Offering formal parents meetings in the Autumn and Spring Terms to share information about their child and to discuss their child’s progress with the class teacher.
- Providing the parents with a written report on their child’s progress at the end of the Summer Term.
- Encouraging parents to participate in their child’s learning through activities such as reading and sharing books.
- Providing a contact book for each child ‘Learning Log’.
- Set a Dojo account up for each child so parents/carers can access photographs of learning, comments and proud points. Home activities and achievements can be sent to the class teacher though Dojo to strength home/school links.
- Providing a ‘Topic Narrative letter at the beginning of every term outlining our curriculum plans for the term.
The induction process.
In FS1, new children are invited to spend a session with their parents or carers so that they can meet their new friends and have a taster session. Parents can ask any questions they may have and learn about the routines and expectations of the setting.
In FS2, staff go out to meet children who have not attended our Nursery to make a first point of contact. They find out about children’s likes and dislikes and preferred ways of working. Parents are invited to school for a meeting with the Head Teacher, Reception Teachers and Inclusion Leader. They find out about school routines and expectations and staff are available to answer any questions. In July, the children also have the chance to spend a day with their new teacher in order to experience a full day routine, including lunch time. This way, the children are prepared for starting full time in September and usually look forward to doing this as a result of this transition.
As a special welcome to Highfield Farm, all nursery and reception children will be given the gift of a book to start school with and to emphasize the importance of reading and provide the parents with an instant opportunity to engage and support with this.
This is any care that involves washing, touching or carrying out an invasive procedure that most children are able to carry out themselves. However depending on the age and stage of a child’s development, they may need some support, for example, dressing, wiping their bottom after using the toilet and changing underwear and clothes following an accident.
Parents inform staff of those children likely to require such care and a discussion takes place regarding how their needs can be met as closely in school as they would be met at home. Parents provide clean clothing and are always informed when a child has needed such care.
Every child has the right to privacy, dignity and a professional approach from all staff when meeting their needs and it is important that staff work in partnership with parents to give the right support to an individual child. Privacy is maintained as far as possible and staff are always encouraged to change a child in the presence of another member of staff. Intimate care is given to children who need it in line with our school policy. Parents are always informed when this care is given.
Inclusion and equal opportunities
Children with special educational needs will be supported as appropriate to enable them to access the curriculum fully. This includes children that are more able and those with specific learning difficulties and disabilities. Individual education plans identify targets in specific areas of learning for those children who require additional support commensurate with the school’s Special Educational Needs Policy. In line with the school’s Equal Opportunities Policy, we will provide all children regardless of ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities, gender or ability with equal access to all aspects of school life to ensure that every child is valued as an individual. All staff are role models and are aware of the influence they have in promoting positive attitudes and use that influence to challenge stereotypical attitudes.
How do I find out more about the curriculum?
If you would like to find out more about our curriculum or have any queries please contact Mr A Krabbendam, Interim Headteacher, using the details on our contact us page.