In our Early Years Foundation Stage, we provide high-quality EYFS education, giving children a secure and confident start to their school life. We are committed to nurturing a lifelong love of learning alongside the aims of the EYFS Statutory Framework. We strive for high standards, consider the development of the whole child and seek to foster resilience and independence. We are inclusive and welcoming to all. We aim to provide the essential knowledge that children need to prepare them for their future success and to give children the best possible start to their early education. The staff in our setting are passionate about ensuring that our classrooms and practice reflect our curriculum intent. We strive to create environments that are vocabulary-rich, play-based and enquiry-based whilst instilling a sense of awe and wonder in everything we do. We model this through our practice and the purposeful environment we create.
Our EYFS curriculum encompasses The Prestbury Learner as children learn how to communicate, be resilient and show teamwork.
We carefully plan our EYFS curriculum to ensure we:
- Provide Quality First Teaching and ensure all children have access to high quality learning opportunities;
- Provide experiences of awe and wonder to develop curiosity and excitement;
- Immerse children in a language and vocabulary rich environment;
- Give children opportunities to practise, revise and extend knowledge and skills;
- Provide parents/carers with the opportunity to develop their child’s learning at home;
- Develop knowledge and understanding of the community and diverse wider world.
The EYFS curriculum at Prestbury St Mary’s Federation is carefully sequenced and ambitious. It is designed to develop the knowledge and learning behaviours that the children need to succeed in the next stage of their education and in life.
Children’s learning is led through a balance of adult-led activities and carefully planned continuous provision known as ‘Discovery Time’. Within ‘Discovery Time’ children have the opportunity to investigate and apply their learning using our enabling indoor and outdoor environments. Each week, the children will complete a set number of independent ‘challenges’ (3 challenges in autumn, 4 challenges in spring and 5 challenges in summer). These ‘challenges’ enable our children to practise and consolidate key knowledge and skills that have already been previously taught or introduced.
Across the week, our children will work with a member of staff individually or in small groups. This focused time enables teachers to 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.
Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active and thinking critically and creatively and this takes place both indoors and in our outdoor area. Our outdoor area is open all year round and in all but the most challenging weather conditions. Teachers ensure that there are opportunities for all areas of learning both inside and outside. Great emphasis is also made to the use of our school allotment, pond and large field space which we try to explore as often as we can.
Whilst we plan half-termly topics, we are keen for the children to lead and direct their own learning. Through our planning we try to identify potential lines of enquiry that we believe will ignite the curiosity and interests of pupils. We devise enquiry-based sessions to introduce new topics or themes to allow our pupils to become curious and ask questions, work together, interpret sources and analyse what they have discovered.
Reading is at the heart of our EYFS curriculum. We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds to teach daily phonics sessions that begin promptly in September. We ensure that our robust and consistent approach enables every pupil to succeed. Some children need further support after each phonics session and we run targeted and comprehensive 'keep up' interventions. Our Phonics and Reading lead and class teachers support parents to understand how we teach reading and how they can support their child using the same strategies.
Alongside our synthetic phonics teaching, we develop children’s love of reading through reading high quality children’s literature aloud with links to our Super Six Stories each term, telling stories, singing songs and learning daily rhymes which develop children's engagement and auditory skills. Promoting reading and a love of literature from an early age is key in our EYFS and throughout a child's journey with us.
Our writing curriculum is taught progressively from writing CVC words with taught Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence to caption writing to sentence writing. We use elements of Talk for Writing to help develop our children’s literacy skills. Children will learn stories off by heart with accompanying actions and create story maps. Children are given opportunities to innovate some well-known stories by including their own ideas. Literacy and Phonics opportunities are also promoted in many of the enhanced provision activities available to the children during each week.
We follow the Mastery Maths approach in EYFS, following the White Rose Scheme of Work. We place huge emphasis on studying the key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of Mathematical language. Pupils learn through practical games and tasks using concrete and pictorial manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during their self-directed time as well as during adult led activities. These collaborative and practical mathematical experiences are carefully designed to enable our pupils to become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics. They will begin developing conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately such as composition to 5 or subitising amounts rather than counting. We revisit key concepts and address misconceptions during our twice weekly ‘Maths Meetings’ which encourage our children to make connections, see patterns, build arithmetical fluency and work together to explore mathematical ideas.
Teaching Mathematics in such a kinaesthetic and practical way, supports our children to become logical problem solvers who demonstrate resilience and justification when learning.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, often in mixed ability groupings. Every child is present for every part of each lesson including our ‘deepen it’ challenges. Some pupils may access our ‘deepen it’ challenges and some pupils may require same day interventions or support in order to ‘keep up’ in all areas of learning. We recognise how individuals have their own individual strengths and specific areas of development across the whole seven areas of development, including The Characteristics of Effective Learning. Therefore, we ensure our interventions aren’t just linked to Phonics, Literacy and Maths but instead they also include fine and gross motor support, PSED linked interventions such as Nurture Groups and Listening Skills and, most recently, The Nuffield Early Language Intervention to support the communication and language skills of our children.
Our regular monitoring of teaching and learning includes: coaching and feedback from the EYFS lead from current, relevant training and professional development so that teachers and support staff develop a good subject knowledge and are effectively supported. We are also highly focused on frequently moderating outcomes across the year group so that every member of our team feels confident in making accurate judgements about where individual pupils are and their next steps for learning. This is also supported by external, small group moderations with other Early Years teachers within our cluster group. In addition to this, our staff have regular contact and support from our SENDCo and external Speech and Language therapist who helps to build subject knowledge of working with children who have speech and language delays or disorders.
Pupils have opportunities to share their learning with their parents and carers through Tapestry. We invite our parents and carers into our classrooms throughout the year to look at their child’s Literacy and Maths books, as well as our whole class floor books for PSED, UTW and Religious Education. This allows parents and carers to see the children’s progress and set targets for their child to work on at home.
Extra- curricular opportunities include:
- Visitors to enhance children’s learning – Emergency Services, Grandparents, religious links, external visits linked to topics e.g. animal talk and handling session etc.
- Visits in the local community – Village walk, library visits, Church visits etc.
- Educational visits into the wider area – Farm Park / All Things Wild
We strive to ensure that all of our pupils make excellent progress across the EYFS curriculum meeting the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception and are at least in line with national expectations.
We measure the percentage of pupils achieving age related expectations throughout the academic year and put supportive ‘keep up’ interventions in place if and when needed. Class teachers use observations to make formative assessments which inform future planning and ensure that all children build on their current knowledge and skills at a good pace. Summative assessment is completed throughout the year to track children’s attainment. This is tracked to ensure rates of progress are at least good for all children, including vulnerable groups such as those with SEND, Pupil Premium or EAL children. Our assessment judgements have been moderated both in school and externally with local schools.
The impact of our curriculum is also measured by how effectively it helps our children develop into well rounded individuals who embody our school values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable future citizens.
Our children make strong progress academically, emotionally, creatively, socially and physically. Knowledge, understanding and skills are secured and embedded so that children attain highly and are fully prepared for their new year group.
At the end of EYFS our children;
- Have strong communication skills, both written and verbal. Our children also listen respectfully and with tolerance to the views of others,
- Take pride in all that they do, always striving to do their best,
- Demonstrate emotional resilience and the ability to persevere when they encounter challenge,
- Develop a sense of self-awareness and become confident in their own abilities,
- Are kind, respectful and honest, demonstrate inclusive attitudes and have a sense of their role in our wider society