“Our curriculum promotes social mobility;
we give our children the roots to grow and the wings to fly.”
Early Years at St George’s
We aim to provide motivating, first-hand experiences whilst encouraging children to build resilience, ambition and a lifelong love of learning. We recognise that all children are unique, celebrating and welcoming differences within our school community and we reflect this within the experiences we provide. Our Foundation Stage Unit provides all children with learning at the correct stage for their development, with all practitioners showing understanding of how to support with the next steps of learning and identify those children who may need extra help quickly and effectively.
With our school drivers of Reach for the Stars, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind and The Natural World firmly rooted in all we do, we aim to:
* Provide an ambitious, bespoke curriculum that offers children a wide range of opportunities, ensuring that it is carefully sequenced to help children to build their learning over time. We will work on broadening their experiences, providing opportunities to try new things and encouraging them to relish a new challenge. Our curriculum recognises the needs of the children within our community, from when they join us in Nursery, to reaching the end of Reception, and it is based firmly in ensuring that our key areas of language and communication are rooted in all that we do.
*Provide high expectations, encouraging them to develop perseverance and self-belief so that they can problem solve and achieve far more than they expected.
*Provide a learning environment (indoors and outdoors) that helps children achieve their potential, and support those who need additional help, in order to maximise their chances of achieving the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception. Our curriculum allows children to achieve depth in their learning and gives them a strong framework for future learning beyond Early Years.
*Provide children with opportunities to develop their sense of wellbeing and ability to regulate their feelings so that they feel confident in our community and are equipped with all the tools they need to transition into Reception, and then Year 1, effectively.
*Use effective, accurate assessment to influence next steps of learning based on the interests and needs of the children.
*Work closely with parents to give them clear information about their child’s progress and strategies to support learning at home.
*Develop the skills and expertise of staff working in EYFS through regular and comprehensive professional development either run by the EYFS Lead or attending courses run by other providers.
Our curriculum follows the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (September 2021). This is made up of four overriding principles which our early year’s education is based upon:
Unique Child – Every child is unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
Positive Relationships – Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
Enabling Environments – Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
Learning and Development – Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early year’s provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
This document specifies the requirements for learning and development in Early Years and provides the prime and specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. These areas are; Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. We use Development Matters, which is non-statutory guidance, to support our curriculum with emphasis upon the seven features of effective practice within the document. At the end of Reception, the staff in Early Years form a judgement about whether a child is at the expected level of development, using the Early Learning Goals to support this.
Through our knowledge of each child (observations, individual, group and whole class work), and formative assessments, the Early Years team plan exciting and engaging activities that will meet the needs of the children and move their learning forward. This may involve following a class theme where we take advantage of cross curricular links in order to combine transferable skills and develop a wide-ranging vocabulary which underpins the children’s learning. This may also include following individual children’s interests and making the most of those focused moments where the teaching and learning can be maximised in a one to one way with teacher and child. Each year creates its own unique blend of whole class, guided, adult directed play and child-initiated play activities dependant on the nature and needs of the class of individuals.
Children in Early Years 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, vegetable garden, digging patch and woodland area are open all year round and in all but the most challenging weather conditions. Children make their own decisions about where they learn best and teachers ensure that there are opportunities for all areas of learning both inside and outside.
The school follows the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. Every child, in both Nursery and Reception, has access to a phonics session every day with intervention opportunities for those who need more support in this area. We provide a daily session to develop children’s expertise in handwriting, as well as supplementing this with gross and fine motor activities within the provision, and we use the Squiggle Whilst you Wiggle programme from Nursery onwards to focus core strength, hand eye co-ordination and pencil grip and control.
We provide effective and focused intervention for those children who are finding learning challenging and are not on track to meet expectations at the end of the year. This is provided in an inclusive way and support from parents is also enlisted at an early stage to ensure that the children have every chance to achieve the Early Learning Goals.
We use White Rose Maths to implement our Maths work, alongside the Numberblocks programme and a range of manipulatives to support understanding, such as loose parts, Numicon and number frames. The sessions are 4 times a week and children are grouped matched to the depth of their understanding.
All children take part in Topic sessions, based upon areas of the Early Years Framework, which cover a wide range of activities and experiences within the Educational Programmes. Our 2 year rolling programme of learning is progressive and prepares the children for the National Curriculum subjects when they move to Key Stage 1.
The development of gross motor skills is prevalent in our curriculum and healthy eating is explored through our regular Taste Education sessions and the learning our vegetable garden work provides. Both Nursery and Reception children have sessions with the school Sports Coach throughout the year. We recognise the importance of oral hygiene and we work closely with our families to develop their understanding of how to support their child in this area.
Our Reception children follow the Lincolnshire Agreed Syllabus 2018 for Religious Education, developing an understanding of the key values of Christianity and recognising that there are different beliefs, customs and traditions across a wide range of communities in our country. The Nursery children explore different festivals from a range of religions across the school year.
The Early Years team collect evidence of children’s learning through work completed in the class Shared Book, individual writing books and Phonics books (Reception only), observations, photos and videos which are shared with parents using the Tapestry online system. This means that parents can engage with children regularly about their learning and can contribute to the knowledge we have of the child in school.
We love to provide children with opportunities that lots of them have not experienced before or that enhance their learning in school, either through visitors into the school or on a trip.
The team in the Foundation Stage Unit work tirelessly to ensure that children are surrounded by a kind, caring and happy environment which helps them develop the same skills in their journey through school. It is a positive place to be, where resilience, perseverance and successes are celebrated and every child feels valued and respected.
The impact of the EYFS curriculum is reflected in having well rounded, happy and confident children transitioning between Nursery, Reception and into Year 1. Effective communication and collaboration ensure the children leave the EYFS with a solid foundation of learning of which to build upon. Our children are often amazing role models for others in school, both within school and also on the trips we have in the wider community.
We measure progress and children’s learning through formative and summative assessments which are based on the teacher’s knowledge of the child, their books, photographs and videos on Tapestry. As a team, we carry out regular internal moderation sessions through the reflections area on Tapestry and daily discussions in a brief meeting before school. Assessment starts with careful observations which are then used to inform planning. Learning and teaching is thus effective when children feel a sense of belonging, curiosity and competence showing resilience and tenacity. By monitoring assessment procedures regularly, we can effectively demonstrate what learning is taking place and how each child is progressing in all seven areas of the Early Years curriculum. Our progress is very strong across the Foundation Stage, from very low starting points. Data is taken at 3 points of the year; December, March and July, to monitor which children are on track and those which are not on track. The Early Years Lead then looks for ways to support key groups, areas of provision and children, whether it be through discussions, looking for extra expertise of finding additional resources, interventions or specialist support. We are constantly reviewing our provision to ensure that the children at St George’s have the best possible start that we can give them.