Early Years Curriculum
Nurture, Aspire, Achieve
Pupils in Nursery and Reception work within the framework of The Early Years Foundation Stage.
The curriculum is organised in the 7 overlapping and integrated areas of learning:
See a curriculum development documentation here: Development Matters
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical development
- Communication and Language
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
The Early Years classroom is a very busy place where pupils pursue their learning in groups, as a class or individually. We plan our broad and balanced curriculum around Key Questions with additional activities planned to match the children’s interests. Please see long term plan below. Play is a very important part of children’s learning and this is reflected in the inside and outside learning environments.
All of the areas of learning and development are interconnected to the characteristics of effective teaching and learning, which are ‘playing and exploring’, ‘active learning’ and ‘creating and critical thinking’.
Intent, Implementation and Impact
Intent: Why do we teach what we teach?
At Gildersome Primary School we believe that our Early Years Foundation Stage is crucial to developing firm foundations to be built upon throughout our school journey and beyond. It is our intent that the children who enter our EYFS develop physically, verbally, emotionally, creatively, intellectually and spiritually whilst embedding a positive attitude to school and learning in order for each child to achieve their full potential. This matches our believe of Nurture, Aspire and Achieve. We set high expectations throughout all areas of school life and beyond. We believe that all children deserve to be valued as an individual and we are passionate in supporting all children to achieve their full, unique potential and high aspirations for themselves.
Our curriculum is designed to provide our pupils with what they need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. We embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking.
Many of our pupils arrive in line with national expectations for their age, although we are seeing a growing number of children who require support with independence and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. As such, we prioritise Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language in the Nursery curriculum. Our enabling environment and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. As the pupils move into Reception, we invest time and energy into supporting pupils’ independence and extending children’s learning with our targeted Mini Me challenges. We aim to develop a love of reading, writing and number. This is delivered through a mixture of whole class, small group and 1:1 support with opportunities to practice and apply within provision. We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and curiosity in learning through a vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips and visits.
In Reception we feel it is important to prepare the children for their next steps in learning, we aim that all children leave Reception Year 1 ready. This includes having acquired the necessary skills to access the Key Stage 1 curriculum but also to have developed the independence skills and resilience that they will need to flourish in Year 1.
Implementation: How do we teach what we teach?
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities.
The timetable is carefully structured so that children have high quality directed teaching in English, Maths and Phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED. In Reception English sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff to practice their skills. This focused group time means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. This is further extended by our Mini Me challenges, which focus the children in areas that they may not explore and differentiates the activity to match their needs. The curriculum is planned to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow the systematic synthetic phonics program Essential Letters and Sounds. This enables our children to develop the key skills they need to read well quickly. This is a whole class teaching scheme but additional time and resources are used to ensure that all children keep up not catch up. Carefully planned English teaching using talk for writing strategies ensure that children are exposed to a range of high-quality texts. A love of reading is embedded through enticing reading areas and regular story sessions, all adults are aware of the value reading brings to children’s development. As a school we firmly believe that oracy skills underpin all learning. Therefore, we have a high focus on the acquisition of vocabulary. This is developed through our phonics teaching and our discrete vocabulary lessons, which is then supported within our staff child interactions. Children are provided lots of opportunities to talk including their Chatterbox time within Reception and Nursery.
We follow the Maths Mastery approach in EYFS with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape and pattern so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. Pupils learn through practical tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. Nursery pupils begin to develop these key skills during regular Maths sessions where they explore sorting, quantities, shape, number and counting awareness. These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional intervention and support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or moving on children who are doing very well. This includes daily phonics interventions within and outside the phonics lesson, additional support for gross and fine motor to support handwriting, and targeted maths intervention. As well as 1:1 support for children who may need it.
We tailor our staff PD to be early years specific and are focused on moderating outcomes across the phase so that every member of our team feels confident in making accurate judgements about where individual pupils are and their next steps for learning.
Impact: How do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
Our curriculum needs to meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, so we spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning. This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences. We use this information on a weekly basis to plan learning experiences and next steps so that knowledge and skills are built cumulatively. We use Tapestry as an online Learning Journey tool which keeps parents updated and allows them the opportunity to contribute to their child’s Learning Journey.
Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress. We believe that our children make good progress due to the safe, stimulating environment that allows children to discover, be challenged, consolidate and achieve their very best whilst developing their resilience and independence.