At St Mary’s C of E School, we believe that the Early Years Foundation Stage is crucial in securing solid foundations for lifelong learning. It is our intent that the children who enter our EYFS develop physically, cognitively, emotionally and spiritually whilst flourishing under our sunrise curriculum underpinned by a strong Christian ethos. We believe that all children deserve to be valued as an individual and we are passionate in allowing all children to achieve their full, unique potential.
In the Foundation Stage we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS). We support our children to become independent and collaborative learners by providing a range of activities and experiences. Our curriculum is co-designed by teachers and children where an enquiry based approach enables children to lead learning suitable for their unique needs and stage of development resulting in high engagement levels. Through these experiences we encourage children to take risks, discover and make links between their explorations.
Within the EYFS there are seven areas of learning and development with all areas of learning and development important and inter-connected. The areas are split into prime and specific. The prime areas of learning are fundamental to children’s successful learning in the specific areas and are vital as they lay the foundations for children’s success in all other areas of learning and life:
The Prime Areas:-
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
The Specific Areas:-
Understanding the World
The teaching of these areas of learning is practical and playful with support and challenge from adults in class sessions, small group sessions and working with individuals. There is a combination of adult-led, teacher taught sessions as well as a wealth of stimulating continuous provision opportunities. Throughout all of these areas of learning and at the heart of the EYFS Curriculum are the “Characteristics of Effective Learning”. At St Mary’s C of E School, we strive to develop these key characteristics of “Playing and Learning”, “Active Learning” and “Thinking Critically” in order to give the children the skills that they will continue to draw upon throughout their development.
We place huge importance on the development of children’s vocabulary and ensure that staff are skilled in assessing early speech and language development and have the expertise to support children in being able to communicate their thoughts and ideas and explore the meaning of new words.
Our learning environments, both inside and outside are also adapted regularly to meet the different and developing needs of the children in our care. We aim to ensure that these areas are always stimulating and exciting and that, importantly, they are accessible to all children, regardless of where they are on their learning journey. The environments are developed to promote independence within our children and allow them to access the curriculum independently and confidently with the necessary level of support and challenge.
Effective interactions between staff and children and regular home/school communication ensures that our curriculum planning and provision is flexible and continuously adapted to meet the needs of all learners and to reflect children’s needs and interests as they continue to develop and grow. We use paper learning journals to celebrate children’s achievements, record observations, assess and track children’s progress and to identify their next steps ensuring all children continue to make outstanding progress within our EYFS setting. Parents are encouraged to share their child’s achievements through ‘WOW’ moments and these are celebrated within school.
We enjoy welcoming guests and visitors from the local community into our classroom to make our learning more exciting and real. We love them to help us with creative projects, school trips, to watch our infant nativity, church services and assemblies, to listen to us read or to just play games with us.
At. St. Mary’s we strive to ensure that all children make good progress from their various starting points and are equipped with the essential knowledge, skills and vocabulary for their next steps. Strong communication skills will ensure they are confident in their own abilities and always strive to do their best. Children are kind, honest and companionate and believe that even at the beginning of their educational journey they truly are never too young to make a difference.
We value conversations and input from parents and carers regarding their child’s progress and evidence in Learning Journeys from both in and outside of school show progress across all areas. Effective communication between FS and KS1 staff is therefore crucial to achieve an effective transition for children and to plan accordingly for the next stage of their learning journey.