Early Years Foundation Stage
“The quality of teaching for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage is consistently outstanding.” OFSTED 2014
Our vision for EYFS at St Mary’s School is to inspire, engage and enthuse our pupils to be active learners every day. Our children in EYFS learn in a stimulating environment with high quality provision areas inside and outdoors. This includes our construction area, sand and water area, mud kitchen, home corner and the creative table, pattern making, and many more which are enhanced on a daily basis. Through exciting provision the highest quality Early Years experience is delivered by establishing a firm foundation on which to build future academic, enterprising, social and emotional successes focusing particularly on well being and attitudes to learning. High aspirations are instilled in our pupils from a very early age and pupils self belief and ownership of learning allow them to take risk and develop resilience on a daily basis.
Children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning is ignited, along with the development of skills needed to learn, form relationships and thrive. Whilst recognising that every child is unique and joins St Mary’s with differing levels of learning and social skills, our aim on leaving Reception is that children are:
· Confident learners, who are resilient and willing to take risks.
· Positive about their learning and are able to self-regulate .
· High expectations of themselves and others.
· Inspired by their Faith to take care of the world around them.
Our Learning Approach
In our EYFS class we follow the children’s interests on a daily basis through our play based curriculum. Our highly effective practitioners work with the children in the environment to encourage the pupils to explore and investigate problems, to ensure the best outcomes for all pupils. Their excellent knowledge of the Early Years Curriculum allows them to support pupils progress during play, allowing each child to have ownership of their learning. At St Mary’s we believe the adults role is to facilitate opportunities for pupils to learn through sensitive interactions. By responding to pupils needs in this way, pupils see their play as meaningful and being valued by adults. This empowers our early learners to develop by leading their own play, and at St Mary’s this won't be adult led with limited predetermined outcomes.
Examples of this include, developing mark making skills by encouraging children to write a recipe in the Mud Kitchen. Also, designing and labelling a picture of a pattern they have created on the light box. Our child led approach means that pupils are constantly engaged in their learning and learn under real life contexts. All adults in EYFS are trained to a high standard to ensure they are skilled to further a child’s learning through questioning. They have a good knowledge of each child’s next steps so can extend their learning whilst ‘at play’.
Mathematics in Early Years at St Mary’s is based around the Early Years Mastery approach to Mathematics. Each week our teaching will be based around a number. The pupils will investigate and explore the 'Twoness of 2.' This is through a range of planned and structured play situations, both independent, and supported by teachers as play partners, where there is plenty of scope for exploration. Not a moment is wasted throughout the day, as Maths is emphasised in all aspects of the daily routine e.g. snack-time /lining up etc. Maths through real-life and meaningful experiences, using practical hands-on resources is key here.
In Early Years, we have a rigorous approach to phonics teaching. Children work in small groups with targeted support. We use ‘Letters and Sounds’ to inform our planning and a large variety of practical activities, both inside and outdoors. Each phonics adult-led session comprises of four parts: revisit/review; teach; practise and apply. This ensures that children make rapid progress. Each child has a phonics book and phonemes are sent home daily for parents to support learning at home.
Planning in the Moment
At St Mary’s all of our planning, with the exception of Phonics and Mathematics, is based around our pupils interests and needs. Links are made between the seven areas of development through purposeful play. Introducing concepts and knowledge into the children’s play by enhancing our provision. At St Mary’s our planning is based around 'Planning in the Moment'. Practitioners are trained to identify the teachable moment for children to progress. Based on what the children are already deeply involved in, this way of planning relies on skilled practitioners using quality interactions to draw out the children’s knowledge and build on it there and then (in the moment). This means that the practitioner needs the skills to be able to see the teachable moment from the child’s perspective and be skilled enough to know when to intervene and when to stand back and observe. 'Planning in the Moment' is all about capturing the moment of engagement and running with it to make sure the children progress.
‘Target time’ is also used to either provide extra support to individuals and small groups of children or to extend and challenge. ‘Target time’ activities are planned by adults prior to the session and are based on ongoing assessments and the children’s interests.
Parents as Partners
Tapestry is a secure online Learning Journal we use to record photos, observations and comments, in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, to build up a record of your child’s experiences during their time with us. This system allows us to work with parents and carers to share information and record the children’s play and learning in and outside of the classroom on a daily basis. At St Mary's we actively encourage our parents to upload home achievements onto Tapesty, these are celebrated in class throughout the week.