Early Years Foundation Stage
Why do we teach this? Why do we teach it in the way we do?
At Blenheim Park we aim to provide our children with a curriculum that is designed to be flexible, engaging and exciting, recognising and embracing the children’s unique needs and interests.
Our Early Years curriculum has a focus on four key elements:
- Emotionally supportive
We work in partnership with parents and carers and other professionals (as and when necessary) to provide the best possible start to school life.
Our aim is to build strong foundations for life-long learning so that children can be successful academically, reaching their full potential from their individual starting points, as well as making positive contributions as confident members of society.
Communication plays a huge part of our early years provision. We have to start by teaching many of the children how to listen and speak, how to play and how to engage and interact with others - in essence, helping the children reach a point where they are ready to learn.
Focus on the Characteristics of Effective Learning underpins our EYFS curriculum:
- Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’
- Active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, they enjoy their achievements
- Creativity and critical thinking – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.
The aim of this focus is to foster the establishment, growth and development of the children’s life-long behaviours for learning, their self-regulation and their metacognitive skills. This is supported by the use of the Thrive Approach from the very beginning of reception.
What do we teach? What does this look like?
We know that children learn best when they feel safe and secure and have positive relationships with the adults who care for and nurture them.
We aim to provide a stimulating, enabling environment where children are actively encouraged to explore and investigate in order to grow in confidence and independence and enjoy their learning.
We have a very well-equipped indoor and outdoor environments that are set up as continuous provision, maximising opportunities for open-ended, play-based meaningful learning.
Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-direct activities, with a greater emphasis upon adult-directed by the end of the reception year.
There is planned provision for daily maths, phonics, reading and writing taking a range of forms such as group circle times, 1:1 activities and continuous and enhanced provision.
We use Monster Phonics to teach the children to recognise the letters, identify the sounds they make and use this in their early reading and writing. Reading books are carefully selected to link with the children’s phonetic stage. The children have access to reading books they take home, as well as Monster Phonic e-books that match with the sounds they are learning.
Maths is taught daily through adult-directed activities. We use a range of strategies based on the White Rose. There are always mathematical resources in continuous and enhanced provision for the children to access and demonstrate their understanding.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of intervention strategies and support that are used to help those children who need it.
Parents and carers are informed about what their children are learning about and ways they can support them through regular Dojo messages. They also have a curriculum map every half term.
What will this look like? By the time children leave our school they will:
Children make at least good progress from their starting points across the EYFS throughout reception.
Children at the end of reception achieve a Good Level of Development and the Early Learning Goals, as close as possible in line with national expectations.
Carefully planned continuous and enhanced provision supports effective interactions and the scaffolding of children’s learning, enabling children to practice, apply and extend their learning within meaningful contexts.
Children have developed their own Characteristics of Effective Learning and are well-equipped to make their transitions from preschool into reception and from reception into Key Stage 1.
Prior to children joining reception, staff speak to and gather information from parents and carers and previous settings in order to build up a picture of each child. This ensures a smooth transition from home into school.
Interactions, observations and assessments during the first half term are used as a baseline assessment, as well as the statutory Reception Baseline Assessment, this takes place during the children’s first few weeks in reception. This ensures that staff are able to plan and differentiate effectively to address children’s next steps in order to progress their learning.
Regular, ongoing observations are used by the teacher to know where the children are and are used to help inform weekly planning and to identify children’s next steps. In addition to this formative assessment, termly summative assessments are used to measure children’s progress and attainment. Parents are sent observations via Dojo, and photographs and observations are stuck into the children’s learning journeys.
Termly Thrive assessments are used to measure children’s social and emotional wellbeing and development across the EYFS. In addition to this the Leuven Scales are used to monitor wellbeing and involvement in the nursery. All of this ensures that children’s social and emotional needs are recognised and supported with appropriate and timely interventions as and when necessary.
Meetings between staff and SLT are used to discuss children’s progress and review the tracking of particular groups such as those children with SEND or EAL.
Our assessment judgements are moderated in school and with the other schools across the Ad Meliora Trust.
Reception Baseline Assessment
Do you have a child starting reception class?
Your child will be participating in the reception baseline assessment (RBA) within the first 6 weeks of starting reception. The purpose of the assessment is to provide the starting point for a new measure that will help parents understand how well schools support their pupils to progress between reception and year 6 / the end of
key stage 2.
What is the RBA?
The RBA is a short, interactive and practical assessment of your child’s early literacy, communication, language and mathematics skills when they begin school, using materials that most children of your child’s age will be familiar with. It is statutory for all schools from September 2021.
Its main purpose is to create a starting point to measure the progress schools make with their pupils.