EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE (EYFS)
At Atwood Primary Academy, we aim to provide a quality teaching and learning environment that is committed to raising standards and ensuring appropriate challenge for all children tailored to the uniqueness of every child. We have an ambitious curriculum because we aim for every child to achieve GLD
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, we realise that the way in which children engage with other people and their environment, underpins the learning and development across all areas. The characteristics of effective learning (playing and exploring – engagement; active Learning – motivation; creating and thinking critically – thinking) support the children to sustain their motivation and effectiveness as learners.
In EYFS, it is our aim to provide a rich learning environment with activities and experiences that offer all children the opportunities to develop as learners and enable exploration, investigation, interpretation, and curiosity. We recognise that children develop best with an Early Years experience that is play based, adult supported, child centred with developmentally appropriate learning.
We prioritise the prime areas (Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language) recognising the importance of these to be able to access the specific areas of learning fully and to be lifelong independent learners.
Our enabling environment and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. Our curriculum recognises the skill development for each child providing opportunities for the children to rehearse, consolidate, apply and extend their learning.
Our approach is committed to a healthy balance of child-initiated learning and adult-led activities, where we encourage children to develop as confident and capable learners, who enjoy exploring their own ideas and theories, whilst practitioners observe, support, discuss, challenge, extend and scaffold learning. Through carefully developmentally appropriate planned activities, enhanced provision and ‘in the moment’ learning led by children’s interests every child may grow to their fullest potential as an individual.
Play is the building block of a child’s intellectual, social, emotional, language and physical skill development. Most of the Early Years school day is dedicated to child-initiated learning (play) where staff respond to, extend, scaffold and engage in quality talk to support the children’s learning.
We recognise the importance of providing a meaningful language-rich environment; we want our children to be able to express themselves and engage in conversations with their friends and adults. We share stories, poems and sing songs throughout the day, as well as using language to support vocabulary and thinking-skills. We develop storytelling using helicopter stories to create a culture of curiosity, wonder and imagination both through the telling and acting out of their own stories. Our teaching of reading and writing is based on a systematic synthetic phonics approach supported by Letters and Sounds. Intertwined with this we use a ‘Talk for Writing’ approach, where children learn and internalise texts and then use these ideas to structure their own writing supported by the practitioners.
Mathematical ideas are explored through stories and focused around a child’s contextual understanding and real life experiences. Practitioners are interested and respect children’s ideas and value all contributions. Our enhanced provision supports maths learning and our adult focus sessions aim to deepen understanding and build the number sense of smaller numbers; children also have the opportunity to discuss and experiment with larger number so that they understand them in context. Our provision allows opportunity to explore and investigate and develop their understanding of shape, space and measure. In Reception we use the White Rose and NCTEM schemes to support our teaching and learning.
We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips, visits and regular forest school sessions.
The impact of the EYFS curriculum is reflected in having resilient, ambitious, independent, confident, happy and kind thoughtful children transitioning into Year 1.
We measure progress and children’s learning across the year through formative and summative assessments which are based on the practitioners knowledge of the child, their learning journeys, photographs and videos on recorded Tapestry. We aim for every child to make good progress from their starting points and achieve a Good Level of Development by the end of the EYFS. We support those who have additional needs to reach their full potential.
The judgements of our school are moderated with other schools and nurseries in our local area. This means judgements are secure and consistent with government guidelines.
We are a reflective team, who regularly evaluate and change our pedagogy and teaching styles based on new research, the cohort and their experiences. We reflect on our practice informally through planning meetings and formally through half termly team meetings. These have an agenda and actions which are then reviewed in the following meeting. We ensure that the areas we discuss and develop are reflected in changes and developments in our classroom practice.
The Early Years provision features in the School Development Plan and has a rigorous plan for development each year. This is monitored and evaluated by the EYFS Lead, the Head teacher and designated governor Mandy Lawrence.
Nursery and Reception
The Nursery and Reception classes form the last two years of the Early Years Foundation Stage, which has its own special curriculum. The EYFS is a statutory framework that sets the standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five.
The children work towards Early Learning Goals, building on specific developmental steps on their way to those goals. Children develop and learn in different ways and our Early Years practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development. They foster the characteristics of effective early learning:
- Playing and exploring
- Active learning
- Creating and thinking critically
There are three Prime Areas of learning and development in the Early Years Foundation Stage. These areas are fundamental, work together, and support development in all other areas.
There are four Specific Areas of learning and development in the Early Years Foundation Stage.