Curriculum aims and principles

 

 “Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their full potential. A child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future chances”, (Statutory framework for the EYFS, DfES 2007).

 

The Foundation Stage applies to children from birth to five years. In our school, all children join us at the beginning of the school year in which they are five. (Compulsory schooling begins at the start of the term after a child’s fifth birthday.) Key Stage 1 begins for our children at the beginning of Year

1. The Foundation Stage is important in its own right, and in preparing children for later schooling. The Early Learning Goals set out what is expected of most children by the end of the Foundation Stage. From September 2012, our school has been following the guidance set out in the new EYFS framework. As such, our provision reflects the principles of the EYFS framework and its overarching themes and principles:

•  A Unique child – every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

•  Positive relationships – children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents or key person.

•  Enabling environments – The environment plays a key role in extending  and supporting children’s development and learning.

•  Learning and Development – children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of learning and development are equally important and inter-connected.

Aims

 

•  To provide a happy, caring and safe environment

•  To build positive social relationships with adults and peers

•  To facilitate quality learning experiences through planned provision

•  To provide a broad and balanced curriculum which stimulates children and follows their own interests and cultural backgrounds

•  To provide regular opportunities for parents and carers to actively participate  in their child’s development both in and out of school

•  To secure a consistent approach in provision across the Foundation Stage

•  To ensure children progress toward and beyond the Early Learning Goals

•  To ensure children leave as confident, independent and enthusiastic learners

Principles

 

•  Children should be treated as individuals, acknowledging that they develop at different rates

•  The most effective learning takes place when children are actively involved in the process

•  The environment should facilitate situations where the social, physical, spiritual, emotional and moral needs of children can be developed.

•  Children are confident in their own abilities and can think and act independently.

•  Parents are the earliest influence on their children’s learning and need to be actively involved in the process.

Links with other policies

Inclusion

This policy builds on our school Inclusion policy and recognises the entitlement of all children to be given the skills they need to develop into confident learners. This particularly recognises the importance of supporting children for whom English is a second language.

Special Educational Needs

It is important that any special needs are identified as early as possible and that relevant steps are taken to provide the correct support while working alongside parents, the SENCO and external agencies.

Organisation – Induction Arrangements

 

Nursery

When children are allocated a Nursery place, parents are invited to visit the Nursery with their child during the summer term where staff and parents can discuss any particular needs of the child. We also offer Home visits to ensure the transition into Nursery. Parents are also invited to attend an induction meeting in July. The intake is staggered over a short period in September to ensure children settle in well. Children may also start Nursery at other times during the year as places arise. In December, we hold induction meetings, visits and home visits to prepare the children who begin Nursery in January.

Staff will also visit children who are joining us from other nurseries at their own setting.

 

Reception

Similarly, there is an induction meeting for parents in July where parents have the opportunity to meet the Head Teacher and the Reception staff and will receive information on uniform, routines, etc. This includes the parents of children joining our school from other nurseries. In addition to this, children will have the opportunity to visit their Reception classes during the Summer Term. Intake is staggered over the first week of school to ensure children settle in well.

There is also a ‘Curriculum Evening’ in September.

Times

 

The Nursery sessions are currently running from 8.30-11.30am and 12.30-3.30pm in line with the fifteen hour entitlement. Children should be dropped off and collected at the Nursery door.

The Reception day runs from 8.50am-3.30pm. Children should be dropped off and collected from the Reception gate by an adult.

Location

 

The Nursery and Reception settings are now next door to each other in  our new school build. They have a sliding wall between the settings, but each setting runs independently. There is an outdoor area which is shared between both Nursery and Reception and accessible from both areas.

Indoor and Outdoor Provision

 

In line with the statutory requirements set out in the EYFS framework, all children now have daily continuous access to the indoor and outdoor environments. Staff continue to develop the Outdoor environments and provision.

Transition into Year One

 

This is an area planned for development in preparation for the summer of 2013. Children will receive a more smooth transition to facilitate a more positive experience for all of our children to continue their learning journey into Key Stage One. This will be achieved by visits, induction meetings and booklets for the children.

Planning and organising the curriculum

 

The Foundation Stage curriculum is based upon the seven areas of learning as set out in the EYFS Framework from September 2012. Through play, our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. They practice and build up ideas, and learn 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. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems.

The curriculum itself covers seven areas of learning which are set out as follows:

Prime areas

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Communication and Language

Physical Development

Specific areas

Literacy

Mathematics

Understanding the World

Expressive art and design

“It is crucial to their future successes that children’s earliest experiences help to build a secure foundation for learning throughout their school years and beyond”, (Statutory framework for the EYFS, DfES 2007).

The curriculum has been organised into a programme of themes covering significant events over the year. Staff also work very closely following children’s interests and relevant work can be planned to challenge and extend their thinking in line with this.

Planning

 

Foundation Stage staff currently use a different system of planning to the rest of the school which tightly links into assessment procedures. Long term plans are linked to continuous provision and matched to the Early Learning goals. Medium Term plans show enhancements for continuous provision and match this carefully to Early Learning goals across the spaces for play in the setting. In the short term, staff carefully differentiate focus activities that are carefully planned to support and enhance children’s interests and development.

Assessment and record keeping

 

Assessment forms a large part of our practice in Foundation Stage and is carried out daily by all staff in the settings. We observe children at play and collect evidence of their learning and development in a range of ways including photographs, annotations, learning stories, children’s work and quotes. This evidence is used to inform daily planning, themes for interest topics and added to individual progress summaries each term which plot the next steps for each child. These are shared with parents through our half-termly meetings.

Learning journals

 

From September 2011, we have updated and refined our individual learning journals. Each child has had their own individual ‘learning journal’ which will document their own individual learning journey throughout Foundation Stage. They will show the learning stories, annotations, photos and any other work collected from each child and show individual tracking sheets and progress summaries. These will be used at home and school, with all parties involved in the child’s development contributing to these.

Tracking

 

The progress of each child in Foundation Stage is currently monitored on a tracking system from Nursery through to Reception. It uses information from the EYFSP Baseline sheets which is represented in developmental ages to show if the child is on track. The data from this is used by staff to identify children needing extra support or children who need to be challenged more and helps staff to ensure children are making the expected individual progress.

Target setting

 

Each child will be set targets through their termly progress summaries for the areas appropriate to them. The targets will be shared with all staff and parents to help support the child.  These targets will be built into planning where appropriate and support through the spaces for play by all adults.

Staffing and resources

 

The Foundation Stage Team currently consists of:

Nursery; One teacher and one full time nursery nurse

Reception; One teacher and one full time nursery nurse

Staff are fully involved in whole school staff meetings and developments and also hold their own team/planning meeting on a weekly basis.

The Role of the Key Worker

 

Every member of staff in EYFS has the role of key person. The key person role within our school involves interacting with a designated group of children during a daily key person session. Deeper relationships are forged between the children and the member of staff and this detailed knowledge is passed on to parents/carers.

Resources

 

These are audited on a regular basis by each setting and compared against recommendations for provision for each of the spaces for play. We also look at resources to cater for children’s interests and related topics as they arise. Resources are shared between the settings where needed. Ideas for provision and enhancements are discussed at our weekly meeting.

Budget

 

Any budgets allocated to Foundation Stage are spent carefully on areas identified as needed by the whole team.

 

Staff development and support

 

Staff are given the opportunity to express preference for any training or development needs they may have and efforts are made to address these. Information from training is passed on to the rest of the team where appropriate.

Newly Qualified teachers are given opportunities to attend the relevant training provided by the local authority to support their induction.

Partnership with parents

 

We believe that all parents have an important role in the education of their child and understand the future part they will play. To acknowledge this we aim to:

•  Arranging for visits to the school in the summer term for children to spend time with their teacher in the setting that they will enter in September;

•  Inviting all parents to an Induction meeting in the summer term

•  Offering parents regular opportunities for formal and informal discussion of their child’s progress with the teacher and by a convenient time arranged with staff (half-termly at least)

•  Collaboration between home and school to update Learning Journals and share this with children regularly

•  Liase carefully with parents of children who have special educational needs and those with English as a second language

•  Communicate end of year progress through an individual written report and personalised targets

Parents are invited into school to speak to staff and observe their children in the setting once every half term.

Links with the community

 

St Joseph’s Parish

Children have a strong link with our parish church and attend services throughout the year. Father Michael also visits school to lead acts of worship in school.

Speech and language/SEN support services

When children are identified, with the consent of parents, to any of these agencies, information is passed on and updated regularly to ensure children receive the support they need as often as possible.

Local EYFS Support

The school also receives regular support from Early Years Support teachers through cluster meetings and planned training/drop-in sessions, to support with a variety of areas of provision.