'If we follow Jesus, the world will follow us.'
They define our teaching and learning, and provide an environment which prepares our pupils as confident, capable, resilient and responsible citizens able to enjoy a healthy life to the full.
Our inclusive school community works in partnership in meeting the responsibility of developing each child in every way – spiritually, emotionally, academically, physically and socially because each child, a unique creation of God and loved by God, deserves this.
Intent – Why do we teach what we teach?
At St. Peter’s we acknowledge that in the EYFS all children are powerful learners and that every child can make progress in their learning with the right help and deserve to have an equal chance of success.
‘A child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances.’ (DFE 2021)
e strive to empower the children to take control of their own learning and become motivated, self-confident learners equipped with the skill, knowledge and attitudes ready for the demands of Key Stage One (KS1).
Parents also complete a ‘Musical moving on’ activity with their child during the summer term which is then shared with their child’s new teacher. These aim to support the transition for all.
‘Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.’
Statutory Framework for the EYFS July 2020
Implementation: How do we teach what we teach?
At St Peter’s we follow the EYFS published by the Department of Education. It sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to 5. The framework has recently been reviewed and the new reforms will be in place from September 2021. Within the Foundation Stage we follow the EYFS Principles, which guide the work of the staff. These are grouped into four themes and are at the core of our commitment to providing quality care and education at St Peter’s:
Our curriculum encompasses seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships, and thriving.
These are called the prime areas:
Four areas help children to strengthen and apply the prime areas. These are called the specific areas:
Throughout their time in the EYFS the children partake in a curriculum which is designed in a sequential way to ensure progress towards the ELGs.
Our curriculum incorporates learning through play, learning by adults modelling, by observing each other and through guided learning and direct teaching. It is also important to highlight that our plans are flexible to allow us to respond quickly to children’s new interests and/or needs. Weaving throughout the EYFS curriculum are three Characteristics of Effective Learning (COEL).
These elements underpin how we reflect on each child’s development and adjust our practice accordingly. Supporting children in their individual learning behaviour and observing the context of children’s play is essential. Through the COELs the children develop knowledge and skills that are transferable and promote their spiritual, moral and cultural development. This approach, coupled with enriched experiences enables all children to develop a rigorous understanding that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
‘What children learn is important, but how children
learn is even more important if they are to become learners in today’s society.’
Our EYFS is a welcoming, engaging and nurturing environment. We offer continuous provision in all the areas of learning to enable our children to thrive, explore and develop with a good balance of child and adult initiated learning opportunities. The teaching and learning is carefully planned to stimulate children’s development. The EYFS timetable is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching sessions in Maths, Phonics and English with regular circle time and Prayer and Liturgy to focus on PSED and RE. These sessions are followed by group activities where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual needs. This focused group time 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.
The 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.
The EYFS curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning. Our work across the curriculum is built around topic areas which change each half term. Topics are linked to the seven areas of learning and focus on the children’s interests. Each topic is linked to stories to promote the children’s speaking and listening skills alongside a love for reading.
Supporting children’s communication and language skills is a high priority in our EYFS environment to enable them to become confident talkers. We recognise the interaction between adults and children is key and we encourage the children to engage in back and forth conversations encouraging the use of new vocabulary. Recognising when children are ‘in their element’ through listening, respecting their thoughts and ideas and sharing the joys of their discoveries is an important aspect of this. We also value developing the children’s gross and fine motor skills to support their early writing development. We provide lots of provision to support gross and fine motor skills which will support their early writing skills.
We follow the White Rose Maths approach in EYFS with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, and numerical patterns so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts.
We also follow our school RE scheme, “The Way, The Truth and the Life” in which children learn about and explore the Christian faith. It also gives opportunities for children to learn about other major world faiths.
At St Peter’s the children have a special Learning Journey book which will document the children’s achievement as the year progresses through photographs, observations and their creations. Learning Journeys are used to monitor the skills that the children are developing and records what they have said or accomplished during their play and exploration. This enables the EYFS staff to plan effectively in order to meet children’s individual learning needs and next steps/targets, showing their progress along the way. It also serves as a reminder of the wonderful experiences the children will have and highlights discoveries that they will make.
As children spend a considerable amount of their time at home with family members, they will naturally demonstrate newly acquired knowledge and skills in the home environment. In order to accurately build a picture of the children’s learning and development, and plan their next steps effectively , we ask parents to contribute to the Learning Journey by filling in a ‘Wow Moment’ sheet when the children demonstrates something at home that is a noteworthy achievement for them.
We value the importance of parental/carers involvement and strive to build positive relationships, working in partnership to support their children’s learning and development. We do this through a range of approaches:
Impact: How do we know what pupils have learnt?
Through providing a challenging and enjoyable curriculum we want the children to be equipped with the confidence, motivation and skills to undertake new life experiences now and in the future. Teachers and children have high expectations in an atmosphere where children confidently strive to reach their full potential.
Before the children start St. Peter’s in September 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 Reception, 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. This year the children will participate in the new Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA).
We strive to ensure that all of our children make good or better progress during their time in the EYFS. Formative / summative assessments are used throughout the year to inform next steps in learning and to track children’s progress against national expectations and ensure that all children make value added progress. Children who achieve the expected standard within the Early Learning Goals have the knowledge and skills needed to continue to maintain the good progress they have made in KS1 and beyond. We understand that when assessing children against the 17 Early Learning Goals, there will be many children who are awarded the same level but may be working at differing levels within this range.
“Children are powerful learners. Every child can make progress in their learning with the right help.”
Development Matters September 2020
As children progress across the EYFS, they develop a deep knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the seven areas of learning. The EYFS at St. Peter’s extends children’s interest and knowledge beyond their immediate experiences. Children make relevant links from their learning to other curriculum subjects and leave the EYFS as motivated learners ready for the curriculum challenges for KS1. Effective communication between the EYFS and KS1 staff is therefore crucial to achieve an effective transition for children and to plan accordingly for the next stage of their learning journey.