Early Years Foundation Stage
We have 5 clear aims which are inextricably intertwined with Physical and Mental Wellbeing and Building Learning Power. We want our children to be:
- Ready to learn: Children have a positive, confident attitude to learning. They are both physically and emotionally ready to learn.
- Resourceful: Children show initiative, ask well thought out questions and are prepared to use a variety of strategies to learn.
- Reflective: Children are curious, able and willing to learn from their mistakes and can describe their progress
- Resilient: Children are prepared to persevere and stay involved in their learning, even when the process is challenging.
- Reciprocal: Children are prepared to help each other and work as a team.
The curriculum in Early Years is designed to provide a broad and balanced education that meets the needs of all pupils. It facilitates them to gain the skills, knowledge and understanding, as they start out on their educational journey, supporting them to progress from their individual starting points and preparing them for the next stage of their education.
Our ethos in Early Years is to support children’s personal, social and emotional development so that they feel safe and secure and are ready to learn.
Through the seven areas of learning we provide topics that excite and engage children in their learning, building on own interests and developing their experiences of the world around them. We recognise that all children come into our setting with varied experiences and all staff ensure that the learning opportunities provided widen their knowledge and understanding of the world, setting ambitious expectations for all children.
The curriculum celebrates diversity and supports the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Those children with particular needs including SEND are supported appropriately allowing them to be successful.
At Forest Academy, we offer a curriculum which is broad and balanced and which builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children, whatever their starting points. We follow the Early Years curriculum using topic themes and enrichment opportunities.
The aim of our curriculum is to develop a thirst and love for learning by
- Carefully planning sequences of activities that provide meaningful learning experiences developing each child’s characteristics of effective teaching and learning.
- Providing high quality interactions with adults that demonstrate and impact on the progress of all children.
- Using high quality questioning and interactions to check children’s understanding and address misconceptions.
- Staff acting as role models to the children they teach in order for children to develop their own speaking and listening skills.
- Careful assessment through observations which are recorded on Tapestry and shared with parents. These are used to inform the next steps of learning and meeting individual needs.
- Developing an effective and engaging environment that is set up so that children can access all areas of learning both inside and outside at any one time.
- Providing activity starting points for child initiated activities that enhance activities linked to the children’s learning.
- Allowing children to be successful in their attempts at an activity and using effective feedback to help facilitate next steps in learning.
- Suggesting home learning opportunities with information about what has been taught and activities completed weekly to parents, allowing parents to build on their child’s school experiences, at home.
We recognise the changing needs and interests of our pupils and we are responsive to this, regularly developing existing topics.
The English curriculum is taught using Talk for Writing (T4W) in EYFS. Children develop their literacy skills by the imitation of stories that they learn using actions and story mapping techniques. They then move on to innovation of these well known stories by including their own ideas. Children also have the opportunities to show independence. In their writing by planning and writing their own stories. Literacy opportunities are also promoted in many of the continuous provision activities available to children during the week.
The Early years uses core texts as a basis for topic planning and usually start with an exciting hook to engage children in both the topic and the book. We have developed our own suggested text list for early years as part of the whole school, ‘Forest Fantastic Reads’. These texts are chosen for their level of challenge and quality language. They have also been chosen with a view to promoting reading for pleasure.
Phonics is taught daily through story time phonics and the love of real books. Through stories and activities associated with these phonic sounds are introduced to children each day in an engaging way. The phonics activities are revisited to embed over the year and supported in a range of ways including associating actions with these.
The mathematics curriculum is taught through daily dedicated sessions, following the White Rose Maths scheme and using Numberblocks as additional mathematics teaching material. These sessions are carefully planned using concrete resources and build on prior learning and real life experiences across the theme and year. This starts with mastering numbers 0-5 and then progresses through to 0-10 and 0-20. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences.
Weekly Forest school sessions are run for children in early years that support a range of skills and develop their social interactions. All seven areas of learning are encompassed within these sessions and allow all children to take risks in an unpredictable environment whilst developing leadership skills and promoting mental health and wellbeing. We have a dedicated space to run these sessions and the early years setting has trained ‘Forest Schools’ teachers.
Pupils have opportunities to share their learning with their parents and carers through Tapestry. Regular stay and play sessions for nursery allow parents to join in learning activities alongside their children and share the nursery experience. Parents are invited in to look at the children’s learning and leave positive comments on a golden orb. We have a Facebook page where children’s learning and successes are celebrated. The Building Learning Power values are promoted to children to develop their independence, motivation and perseverance.
Due to current COVID-19 restrictions unfortunately we are unable to have sessions where parents are able to join us. Once restrictions allow these will be restarted. The parental engagement with Tapestry is being promoted as this is a strong link for all children in EYFS while parental contact is reduced.
Children demonstrate high levels of engagement in activities developing their speaking and listening skills enabling them to access more areas of the learning and communicate to both adults and children. Children develop skills across all areas of the curriculum including literacy, mathematics and physical development using these in different ways.
Children have developed a wider sense of the world around them and can draw on these experiences during interactions with others and link this to new learning.
Children develop their characteristics of effective teaching and learning and are able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. Children are confident to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with adults drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing.
From their own starting points, children will make excellent progress academically and socially, developing a sense of themselves so that they are well prepared for key stage 1.