Early Years Foundation Stage
EYFS Curriculum Leader: Catherine Parris (*plus additional trust leadership capacity)
Our Early Years curriculum is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework, Development Matters and Birth to 5 Matters. These documents set expectations for children to achieve by the end of the reception year. Children joining Rushton Primary School come from a range of settings with varied experiences; we aim to plan and deliver a carefully considered curriculum which meets the needs of all children. Our curriculum is designed to give children, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge, self-belief and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. It builds on what children know and can do, towards increasing knowledge and skills for their future learning.
At Rushton there is a focus on language and vocabulary development, increasing opportunities for conversations and ensuring that all children can communicate effectively. We provide children with a secure knowledge of phonics, which gives them the foundations for future learning and prepares them to become confident and fluent readers. Our school’s approach to Early Reading and Synthetic Phonics is Systematic and we use the RWI programme. This ensures that most children learn to read words and simple sentences accurately by the end of Reception.
We provide a purposeful learning environment both indoors and outdoors which promotes exploration and curiosity. Play is an incredibly important part in the learning process; this paired with adult-led tasks and group/class sessions ensures we provide a balanced curriculum with the same academic ambitions for all children. For children with particular needs, such as EAL, those with SEN and/or disabilities, the curriculum is adapted and individualised to meet all of their needs.
At Rushton Primary our children benefit from meaningful learning across the curriculum, ensuring that the children are immersed in a ‘language rich’ environment through a variety of stories, non-fiction texts, songs, and nursery rhymes. New vocabulary is modelled by adults supporting the play provision which encourages the sharing of ideas and curiosity of the world around them. Rushton Primary has a broad and balanced curriculum for all. This is progressive model curriculum that begins as the children start in reception and continues into Year 6, ready for future educational experiences. This gives our children a sense of what is to come and a taste of the rich curriculum ahead in KS1. However, our purpose in EYFS is not wholly about school readiness but about harnessing children’s interests across the 7 Areas of Learning and developing children’s skills and knowledge through their unique interests in a playful and meaningful manner. This is how we build authentic engagement, thinking skills and motivation to learn within all our children which is embedded in the Characteristics of Effective Learning.
We have flexibility in how we teach and provide a good balance of child and adult initiated learning. In the delivery of our curriculum, we provide ample opportunities for our children to apply new skills and knowledge in a range of purposeful ways both taught and from their own fascinations. We know that a key indicator for success is motivation to learn and a desire to come and take part in time together with adults. Together with our children we are continuing to develop opportunities for children to discover new concepts and ideas during adult directed learning and in provision and develop planning based on children’s key motivations and interests.
All staff at Rushton are trained in delivering high quality Systematic Synthetic Phonics, using the scheme; ‘Read Write Inc.’ This ensures that children practise their reading both at home and in school using books that match their individual phonic knowledge. Our staff present information clearly to children, promoting appropriate discussion about what they are being taught.
We communicate well to check children’s understanding, identify misconceptions and provide clear explanations to improve their learning. In so doing, we respond and adapt our teaching as necessary to ensure that all children make the best possible progress. Staff in the Early Years promote a love of reading by carefully planning adult-led Literacy lessons using the Talk for Writing approach. Opportunities for children to explore traditional, number and modern day poetry and rhyme including ring games are being developed further. By the time children leave us at the end of Reception they have a good repertoire of rhymes, poems and songs.
Our staff are knowledgeable about the teaching of Early Mathematics. We provide adult led lessons where children can gain a greater understanding of a range of mathematical concepts. Following these sessions, the children are encouraged to apply their knowledge in their play; through the high-quality provision and enriched activities provided. We ensure that children have sufficient practice to be confident in using and understanding numbers as well as delivering activities that provide a strong basis for more complex learning later on.
Across EYFS, the teaching is designed to help children remember long term what they have been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger concepts by revisiting and recalling past learning. This is developed through reviewing and ensuring that children get to embed and, rehearse and extend their knowledge during provision times in an enabling environment.
In EYFS, our resources are chosen to meet the children’s needs and promote learning. Our curriculum is taught through a wide range of topics based on the schools approach to curriculum development and skills, and the children and their own interests. It focuses on teaching a balance of skills and knowledge through play and is based on the needs of the current cohort.
Assessments are carried out through observations, class/group work and 1-1 sessions. The knowledge of the children is then used to inform future planning and to support any interventions that need to be put in place. Our curriculum and care practices promote and support children’s emotional security and development of their character; giving clear messages to children about why it’s important to eat, drink, rest, exercise, upkeep body and oral hygiene as well as being kind to one another.
Characteristics of Effective Learning are part of the Early Years and are important when carefully considering the learning environment and the opportunities that will be available. They include ‘finding out and exploring’, ‘being willing to have a go’, ‘being involved and concentrating’ and being a ‘creative and critical thinker’. We want all our children to develop a love and joy of learning, be engaged, have critical thinking skills and a deep motivation that will drive them to become lifelong learners
At Rushton, we value the impact that provision can have and therefore have a range of opportunities for children to develop their core skills but also fine and gross motor skills. These skills can be developed both indoors and outdoors and can be targeted through engaging activities and challenges that encourage curiosity and exploration.
In Reception, we strive to develop strong and positive relationships with our families. Communicating effectively with parents is vital in ensuring good progress for our children. We communicate through the online journal and provide information for parents about their child’s progress in learning. Parents also get the opportunity to share information, twice a year, about their child during a 1-1 parent’s meetings.
The impact of our curriculum on what children know, can remember and do is evident. Alongside this, our continuous assessment ensures that our children make good progress towards their milestones and the Early Learning Goals and reach a ‘good level of development’ by the end of the Reception year. It also ensures that children are ‘Year 1 ready’ and can continue to make good progress as they move on to the next steps in their journey.
Our children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, do well. Children who are EAL or with SEN and/or disabilities achieve the best possible outcomes. Our children develop detailed knowledge and skills across the seven areas of learning in an age-appropriate way.
By the end of reception our children use their knowledge of phonics to read accurately with increasing speed and fluency. They have the personal, physical and social skills they need to succeed in the next stage of their education and present as highly motivated individuals. They share and cooperate well, demonstrating high levels of self-control and respect for others. Our children consistently keep on trying hard, particularly if they encounter difficulties and have a very good understanding of our school ethos and expectations.
Many children achieve early learning goals, particularly in the prime areas and mathematics and literacy. Our children enjoy, listen attentively and respond with comprehension to familiar stories, rhymes and songs that are appropriate to their age and stage of development. All our children have an eager KS1 school readiness through exploring key knowledge and skills through key themes. Our children demonstrate their positive attitudes to learning through high levels of curiosity, concentration and enjoyment.
In EYFS, we use our Wild Wednesdays, to build independence and self -esteem in children. Topics are cross-curriculum including the natural environment. Personal skills of teamwork and problem solving are developed in the school grounds to learn about more abstract concepts such as mathematics and communication.