The Early Years Foundation Stage is the period of education from birth to 5 years. In our Foundation Stage we have two reception classes. We work closely with the feeder nurseries and pre-schools and our children’s families to ensure they have the best start to school possible.
At Lawnside Academy, the EYFS curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning from previous settings and their experiences at home, provide first hand learning experiences, whilst allowing the children to build resilience, ambition and integrity. Every child is recognised as a unique individual and we celebrate and welcome differences within our school community. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. We provide enhancement opportunities to engage learning and believe that our first experiences of school should be happy and positive, enabling us to develop a lifelong love of learning.
Community involvement is an essential part of our curriculum as we celebrate local traditions, learning new skills to enable the children to take an active role in events throughout the year.
Throughout their time in EYFS, the children develop a sense of belonging to our school community, ready to transition to Year 1 the following academic year. They have the confidence and skills to make decisions and self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners.
- To work in partnership with parents and carers to encourage independent, happy learners who thrive in school and reach their full potential from their various starting points.
- To understand and follow children’s interests and provide opportunities throughout our EYFS curriculum to support learning, consolidate and deepen knowledge and ensure children meet their next steps.
- To create an indoor and outdoor environment which supports learning.
- To prepare children to reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of the Foundation Stage and ensure children make at least good progress from their starting points.
- To support transition into KS1.
Throughout the EYFS at Lawnside Academy, we follow the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, updated March 2017, by the DfE. This framework specifies the requirement for learning and development in the Early Years and provides prime and specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum.
We have a curriculum that is child-centered and that is based upon ‘wow’ experiences and topics which engage the children. We encourage active learning to ensure the children are motivated and interested. We take time to get to know children’s interests and their likes to support learning. All areas of the EYFS curriculum are followed and planned for to ensure there is a broad, balanced and progressive learning environment and curriculum.
The children will learn new skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate understanding through the seven areas of the EYFS curriculum.
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development,
- Communication and Language,
- Understanding the World,
- Expressive Arts and Design
These 7 areas are used to plan children’s learning and activities. Planning for this curriculum is
designed to be flexible so that all children’s interests are supported. During each week, the children will work with adults to complete various activities, including writing, maths and phonics and a range of child initiated tasks through both the indoor and outdoor provision. A vital aspect in the development of essential knowledge and skills is the use of continuous provision. This means that children are using and developing taught skills throughout the year on a daily basis. Continuous provision practice and principles begin in EYFS and support children to develop key life skills such as independence, innovation, creativity, enquiry, analysis and problem solving. During the school day, children will have an opportunity to work independently, work collaboratively with their friends and with members of staff.
Daily guided activities are also planned to cover different areas of the EYFS curriculum and allow children to develop their next steps in learning. Through observation and discussion, areas of need and next steps are identified for all children to ensure good progress is made. There are also a range of stimulating and engaging activities which the children can access independently and a variety of opportunities for child-initiated play. In planning and guiding children’s activities we reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in our practice. Staff in the EYFS make regular observations of the children’s learning to ensure their next steps are met. These are collected in each child’s learning journey. We regularly assess where the children are, using target tracker, Development matter statements and the ELG’s, then ensure our planning, adult interaction and learning environment; including continuous provision, support children to reach their next steps. We will include interventions for groups or individuals if and when necessary.
Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. Our outdoor areas are used all year round and in most weather conditions. We ensure activities support the Characteristics of Effective Learning to ensure learning takes place. These are:
- Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things, and have a go;
- Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements;
- Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.
We share a range of healthy snacks and learn about the importance of a healthy balanced lifestyle to maintain our own wellbeing. All of children perform in a Nativity, receive certificates in assembly, and participate in trips throughout the year. They are visited by a vast range of People Who Help Us, such community members including the police, fire service, postal workers, vets, doctors, nurses, their animals and vehicles. They participate in whole class assemblies. They plant bulbs and seeds, watch them grow and observe changes in nature through our regular forest school sessions.
To support our wider curriculum, we provide regular opportunities for parents and carers to come into school and carry out activities with their child, share their work and celebrate successes. We keep parents informed and we meet regularly with them to ensure children’s transition into school and through the EYFS is happy and allows them to reach their potential with the support needed. This includes transition days, nursery or home visits, stay and play sessions, parent workshops, show and tell, learning journeys, assemblies, ‘wow’ moments, reports and parent consultations as well as more frequent informal communication to suit individual families.
We also support the transition into Key Stage 1 for both child and parents. We prepare children for Year 1 with visits to their new class, meeting the teacher and ensuring the environments are similar at the end of EYFS and the start of Year 1. Parents have the opportunity to meet with new teachers and visit their child’s new learning environment. They also complete ‘moving on’ activities with their child throughout the summer term. These aim to support the transition for all.
We strive to ensure that our children’s progress across the EYFS curriculum is good from their varied starting points. We also strive for children to reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception and to be at least in line with National Expectations.
Evidence in children’s learning journeys support all areas of the EYFS curriculum and all staff who work within EYFS contribute to this and other significant people to the children’
The impact of our curriculum is measured by assessment procedures which allow us to measure outcomes against all schools nationally. We measure the percentage of pupils achieving age related expectations throughout the academic year, put supportive 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 compares children attainment to age related expectations using month bands in Development Matters. This is tracked using Target Tracker to ensure rates of progress are at least good for all children, including vulnerable groups such as those with SEND, disadvantaged or summer born children. Our assessment judgements have been moderated both in school and externally with local schools and others in our trust. We also partake in local authority moderation which has validated our school judgements.
The impact of our curriculum will also be measured by how effectively it helps our pupils develop into well rounded individuals who embody our values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable future citizens. We endeavour for pupils to be Key Stage 1 ready and have our school values embedded by the time they leave reception, preparing them for their future.