We want our children to have the best possible start to their school life in our EYFS. We aim to make learning fun, engaging and exciting. This runs through everything that we do. Our EYFS classes are an amazing place to be.
We understand the importance of a play- based curriculum and acknowledge that play is a vehicle for learning. Play allows children to express themselves in a developmentally appropriate way. Careful planning and thought is put in place not only for our curriculum but also our environment. We want our indoor and outdoor environment to have the maximum impact on a children’s potential. We strive to provide high quality opportunities for children to be inquisitive, curious, creative, critical thinkers and give them the chance to consolidate, rehearse and develop their skills and knowledge from our Raindrops room to our Sunshines room and beyond. We provide a varied balance of direct teaching and play based learning.
The EYFS Curriculum is based upon four overarching principles
• A Unique Child
• Positive Relationships
• Enabling Environments
• Learning and Developing in different ways
There are 7 areas of learning with 17 Early Learning Goals which are a review of where the children are at the end of the Foundation Stage. There are 3 Prime areas of learning and 4 specific areas. The prime areas are Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development. These prime areas are fundamental, link together and move through to support the development in all other areas.
Personal Social and Emotional Development
PSE is crucial for children to lead happy and healthy lives. Children feel valued and supported in school and staff pride themselves on forming strong relationships with children. We support children to form friendships with their peers and teach them the importance of being a good friend. We want our children to be confident, to take pride in their achievements and to know what makes them special. We have high expectations of behaviour and the children know what these are.
Communication and Language
We understand the importance of Communication and Language and we want our children to be able to converse by listening, understanding and answering appropriately. Improving children’s vocabulary is a great importance and something we work hard to achieve. Interacting, modelling good communication with children is crucial. Staff in Early Years are highly trained in this area and is a real strength to our curriculum. We run a communication and Language intervention called Talk Boost to support less confident children.
Throughout the EYFS children experience a range of activities both indoors and outdoors. Areas inside and outside are planned for and dedicated to improving fine motor skills to support writing development. The outdoor area has activities planned to support Gross Motor Skills such as riding scooters, climbing and building on a large scale. Our children’s mental health is priority and children are taught the importance of a healthy diet. We are a THRIVE school and THRIVE principles underpin our curriculum. In the EYFS children are taught explicitly how to keep their bodies and teeth clean.
Children are taught to read for meaning.
To discuss characters/events/setting.
To join in with stories and poems.
To check reading makes sense and self -correct.
To ask and answer questions about the text.
Phonics is taught systematically in EYFS, through our Little Wandle Phonics Scheme. In Raindrops and Puddles the children follow Foundations in Phonics and this is built upon once the children begin Sunshines where the children begin to learn the 44 Phonemes.
Each week/fortnight each class in Early years shares a high-quality text picking out key vocabulary to share with children and parents.
In Sunshines every child reads three times a week in a small group.
Parents/carers are made fully aware of the importance of reading from their first visit and continually throughout their time here. They are supported through booklets, letters and meetings.
Writing is made meaningful and purposeful for our children. They write every day for many reasons, in many ways! For example, writing letters, lists, making posters, writing instructions, writing outside in chalk or on giant paper with chunky pens. The opportunities are endless! Children are assessed regularly and extra target groups are put in place if needed.
Maths is taught in a practical, hands on way in the EYFS. We want our children to be confident with number. We follow a mastery approach to mathematics and use the White Rose guidance to support our lesson planning. We want our children to have a deep understanding of number of the so we explore numbers in depth so that the children can recognise and represent it in different ways such as by counting, in a part whole model, on a 10 frame, my drawing objects etc. Our indoor and outdoor environments are organised to support mathematical development such as building with different shapes, exploring water play with different length tubes and games involving counting up to keep scores. Each classroom has a well resourced maths area which is enhanced regularly, linking to the area of maths the children are learning about so that they have the chance to explore the skills and knowledge they have been taught during the direct teaching times
Expressive Arts and Design
Expressive Arts and Design is broken down into creating with materials and being imaginative and expressive. We are committed to the arts at Athelstan. We want our children to be creative and to use their imaginations. We promote this through stirring texts and topics which engage and motivate children. Children can often be found dressed up as a variety of different characters, as can the staff! We want our children to explore a wide range of materials, to work in 2D, 3D, to print, to collage, to colour mix. We want children to be able to express themselves and their individuality.
Understanding the World
Understanding the World is broken down into past and present, People, Culture and Communities and The Natural World. We want our children to have an understanding of the past and now and also talk about the lives of people around them. We want our children to talk about the world around them and how to look after it. Children have the opportunity to grow vegetables, learn about (and meet) animals, recognise the changes in seasons and explore the local environment. We want children to recognise and value difference and grow up to be respectful of others. We want our children to be able to explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries and have an understanding of maps.