Intent, Implementation and Impact in our Early Years Department
At Whitleigh Primary School, the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum forms the underpinning and overarching framework for learning and development, for all of the children in our Early Years Department. We intend to enable our children to learn holistically, through play, experimentation and exploration whilst making friends, developing social skills and cultural capital.
The main aims of our curriculum are:
- Aspirations – We want our children and staff to have high expectations of learning. Children are encouraged to aim high and to be open to possibilities at school and beyond.
- Oracy – We want our children to speak with confidence and fluency in a range of situations. We believe that helping our children find their voice is important and will work to broaden their vocabulary and encourage talk in all areas of learning.
- Experiences – Children cannot aspire to things they have never encountered. We will work to broaden our children’s horizons, expanding their knowledge of the world by providing them with rich, first hand learning experiences to take the curriculum beyond the classroom and develop their love of learning, independence and critical thinking.
Our Curriculum is planned using children’s existing talents and interests. Two important elements of our ‘theme work’ are the ‘stunning starts’ which is how we plan to enthuse the children right from the very beginning and our ‘fantastic finish’ which is something very special which we build towards at the end of our theme. Throughout our curriculum we teach the children key skills which they can then develop and transfer to different situations. Pupils work towards the Early Learning Goals of the Foundation Stage Curriculum in Nursery and Reception. Throughout this period and beyond all children are still developing their phonic knowledge through the Letters and Sounds Programme and developing their reading and maths fluency through a more structured approach in the daily teaching of reading and maths. Within the Early Years, our story telling culture enables children to immerse themselves in language and develop excellent speaking and listening skills.
During our ‘Busy Bee’ time, our team plan ‘in the moment’ meaning each child receives a differentiated learning experience, and ‘next steps’ occur spontaneously. This ensures that all teachable moments are utilised. We use our observations and knowledge of the child to plan resourcefully for opportunities for communication, sustained shared thinking and physical challenge to build on the child’s existing skills in that area. That implementation could be anything from playing with the child, talking about their ideas, following their line of interest or stimulating investigation of something new, to develop new intellectual, emotional or physical skills. Observations, ‘wow moments’ and detailed tracking methods enable assessments to be made and regularly fed back to parents. We believe that our approach, in conjunction with the EYFS, provides an optimal environment that perfectly suits the way that young children learn, play and therefore thrive.
We ensure that our curriculum is able to support children with additional needs, those who are disadvantaged or in a minority group, ensuring inclusion for all. Staff value diversity and understand how to apply the EYFS to reflect this, we will work 1:1 or obtain additional support when needed.
We have created an environment that fosters personal, social and emotional development, reflects British Values, and the development of self-esteem and self-efficacy to take forward into school and beyond.
The outdoor environment and the local community are considered an opportunity for active learning for all our children. Our outdoor learning area has been developed so it can enrich different curriculum areas, and outdoor learning is actively promoted and planned for.
Our children have the opportunity to share their learning with each other, their parents and carers and other learners through school based exhibitions, Family Fridays and Parent Days. Developing their independence and motivation as learners and their sense of responsibility as future citizens is at the heart of all our teaching and learning.
An integral aspect of the curriculum is that children are prepared for the future – during their time in our Early Years Department, they become the very best version of themselves. Their individual identity is valued and our children are kind and caring while also aspiring to be the best that they can be in whatever area they choose to pursue. We believe that every child is unique – they all have the potential to achieve; and our broad, varied curriculum allows every child to excel based upon their own personal strengths, interests and core values.
From their different starting points, all children will make good progress academically, emotionally, creatively, socially and physically. Knowledge, understanding and skills will be secured and embedded so that children attain highly and are fully prepared for the rest of their school journey.
- They will have strong communication skills, and will listen respectfully and with tolerance to the views of others.
- They will take pride in all that they do, always striving to do their best.
- They will demonstrate emotional resilience and the ability to persevere when they encounter challenge.
- They will develop a sense of self-awareness and become confident in their own abilities.
- They will be kind, respectful and honest, demonstrate inclusive attitudes and have a sense of their role in our wider society
The Early Years Foundation Stage
What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?
Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which is how the Government and early years professionals describe the time in your child’s life between birth and age 5. This is a very important stage as it helps your child get ‘school ready’ as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. From when your child is born up until the age of 5, we strongly believe that their early years experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs. In order for children to acquire a deep level of learning, it is important to ensure they have opportunities to build memory prompts, enabling them to recall things which they have learnt, effectively continuing to build their knowledge as they progress throughout education.
What is the EYFS Framework?
Firstly, the framework sets out:
- The legal welfare requirements which we follow to keep your child safe and promote their welfare.
- The 7 areas of learning and development which define examples of your child’s play and activities as they learn new skills and knowledge.
- Each area of learning is broken down into small steps, called ‘Development Matters Statements’, we use these along with our own professional judgement, to assess the progress your child is making.
- Early Learning Goals are expected levels which your child should reach, usually by the end of their Reception year. It is important to remember that every child is an individual and will progress at different rates, some may exceed this goal, some may reach it, whilst some will still be working towards it into Year One.
How my child will be learning?
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework explains how and what your child will be learning to support their healthy development. They will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
There are three prime areas of learning which are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning.
As children grow, these prime areas of learning help them to develop skills in four specific areas. These are:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
The diagram below gives examples of the areas of learning and development and shows the links between the way in which your child learns and what they learn. Please bear in mind that all children develop at different rates, so these examples are for guidance only. They are taken from the Early Years Foundation Stage Development Matters document.
For more information about the Early Years Foundation Stage, please click the image below: