‘Inspiring, nurturing and enabling lifelong learners’
Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. (‘The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.’ DfE March 2014).
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of the Reception year. In our school, children join nursery in the September before they turn 4 and join Reception on a phased introduction at the beginning of the school year in which they are five.
The EYFS is based upon four principles:
• every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
• children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
• 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, parents and carers;
• children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
A Unique Child
At Summercroft Primary School, we recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We know that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates. Children’s attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by their school and home environments and from the start we nurture positive relationships and links with families. We observe how each child learns to gain an understanding of the characteristics they develop to become effective learners. We use questioning, praise and encouragement to develop a positive attitude to learning and high self-esteem. During their first year at school, the children are introduced to the Summercroft Learning Powers.
They are taught the skills of:
- Problem solving
- Risk Taking
- Connection Making
They are taught that they can ‘grow their brains’ so that they understand that everyone can learn with practice and effort. The children are taught how to learn and how to become successful learners.
All children and their families are valued within our school. We value the diversity of individuals within the school and all children at Summercroft Primary School are treated fairly regardless of race, religion or stage of learning. We do not group children based on notions of fixed ability. We teach the children that practice and effort lead to learning and improvement. In the early years the children begin to learn to take responsibility for their learning and begin to understand the concept of challenge.
We give our children every opportunity to achieve their best by taking account of our children’s range of life experiences and interests when planning for their learning.
In the EYFS we have realistic and challenging expectations and meet the needs of all our children through:
- planning opportunities that build upon and extend children’s knowledge, experience and interests and develop their self-esteem and confidence through a creative curriculum and stimulating learning environment
- using a wide range of teaching strategies based on children’s learning needs
- providing a wide range of opportunities and environments to motivate and support children and to help them to learn effectively
- providing a safe and supportive learning environment in which each child’s contribution is valued
- monitoring children’s progress and taking action to provide support as necessary
It is vital that all children in the school are safe. We provide children with opportunities to help them develop the skills they need to keep themselves safe. Children should be allowed to take risks, but need to be taught how to recognise and avoid hazards both in the real and virtual world.
At Summercroft Primary School we recognise that children learn to be confident and independent through the development of secure relationships. We develop caring, respectful, professional relationships with the children and their families.
Parents as Partners
We recognise the important role parents play in educating the children. We do this by:
- carrying out home visits where we talk to parents before their child starts at our school;
- sending home welcome packs with key information about the school and year group
- inviting the children to ‘Stay and Play’ sessions, with their teacher in the classroom before starting at Nursery and Reception
- inviting all parents to an induction meeting during the term before their child starts school
- encouraging parents to attend consultation meetings in the first two terms to discuss their child’s progress using the unique child summary.
- providing parents with a written report on their child’s attainment and progress at the end of Reception
- encouraging parents to contribute to their child’s learning through observations using tapestry (online learning journal)
- sharing our approach to phonics, reading and maths through workshops
- inviting parents to a ‘Meet the teacher meeting’ where the year ahead is explained
- offering parents regular opportunities to talk about their child’s progress and allowing free access to their child’s learning journey book
- offering an open door policy for parents to discuss any concerns with their child’s class teacher
- regular newsletters and curriculum information about the school and their child’s year group
- inviting parents to play sessions, Forest School afternoons, Maths workshops, Parent and Child trips and end of topic presentations throughout the year
Staff quickly develop good relationships with all children, interacting positively with them and taking time to listen to them. We have good links with local preschools and visits are undertaken before the children begin school. The EYFS teachers meet with staff to discuss the new intake of children and their developments so far in line with the Early Years Outcomes.
At Summercroft Primary School we recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending the children’s development. The role of both the indoor and outdoor environment in learning/organisation of learning provides opportunities for child initiated activities reflecting the topic where they can across the seven areas of learning. We provide stimulating resources which are accessible and open-ended so they can be used, moved and combined in a variety of ways.
Observation, Assessment and Planning
Planning within the EYFS is geared towards the children’s interests. We plan first hand experiences and provide opportunities for challenges appropriate to the age and stage of each child.
In the EYFS assessment of attainment and progress is primarily based on observation, discussion, questioning and evidence of children’s independent learning alongside adult led activities. Valuable evidence of children’s learning is obtained through observation of independent and adult led learning. These observations are undertaken by teachers, Early Years practitioners and teaching assistants. During observations the adults in early years carry out in the moment teach to move children on in the seven areas of learning. Observations are recorded in a variety of forms, photographic, video and annotations, which are uploaded onto the child’s Tapestry account. Learning journals also contain information provided by parents about their child’s achievements and experiences outside of school. Each child’s progress is recorded against the ‘Development Matters Ages and Stages’ documentation and using this information next steps are planned for using objective led planning.
Learning and Development
At Summercroft Primary School we recognise that children learn and develop in different ways and at different rates. We value all areas of learning and development equally and understand that they are interconnected. The children have time and freedom to become fully engaged and involved (Leuven Scales) in the activities and their learning.
Areas of Learning
The EYFS is made up of seven areas of learning:
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
• Physical Development
• Communication & Language SPECIFIC AREAS
• Understanding the World
• Expressive Arts and Design
These areas are delivered throughout the topic and linked closely together. They are equally important and depend on each other. All areas are delivered through a balance of adult led and child initiated activities.
The EYFS classes have their own outdoor area, which is used all year round in all weathers. Being outdoors encourages learning in different ways. It offers the children more opportunities to be creative and explore on a larger scale as well as to be physically active linking the indoors and outdoors together.
Children’s play reflects their wide ranging and varied interests and preoccupations. In their play, children can be inquisitive, creative, questioning and experimental and will learn at their highest level. Playing with their peers is important for children’s personal, social and emotional development.
Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. The adults model play and play sensitively with the children fitting in with their plans, extending their ideas and thinking. The children are encouraged to try new activities and judge risks for themselves. We talk to them about how we get better at things through effort and practice and that we can all learn when things go wrong. They practice and build up ideas learning how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own.
The vast majority of children look forward to moving on in learning and in life, but for some children, transitions can be challenging. When transitions work well, children are assisted to develop confidence and acquire skills needed to manage future changes in their lives. Support from parents and staff at school can help transitions to be more successful.
Transitions between starting in Nursery, Nursery to Reception and Reception to Year 1 are recognised as an important time in the child’s life. Therefore time is designated for sharing information about each child with their new receiving teacher. Each child’s Learning Journey book is passed on to the new teacher so as to ensure continuity.
Transition books are made for each child, which contain pictures of their new teacher and teaching assistants, as well as pictures of their new classroom environment. Vulnerable children are identified and additional transition work takes place to ensure their move is successful.
Summercroft has adopted the Herts Smooth Transitions Toolkit which identifies any barriers to children as they transition into EYFS. The information gathered from this is used to provide a suitably supportive transition package when starting Nursery and Reception.
Any reference to a statute, statutory guidance and any other document shall be construed as a reference to that statute as amended or re-enacted and to the current edition or replacement of that statutory guidance or other document.