Our Aims (Intent)
Children joining our school may have already learnt a great deal, and our provision aims to build on each child’s individual starting points. We recognise that many children have already attended other settings, including nurseries and childminders, and a number have started their learning journey at home. We aim to ensure that all children make excellent progress right from the start of their time with us.
Our Early Years curriculum aims to provide a basic structure which can be used flexibly by teaching staff in order to meet the needs, and match the interests of, the children in their class or group. Our curriculum closely follows the Development Matters framework in a spiral nature, ensuring that as many children as possible achieve a Good Level of Development at the end of their time in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The structure of the day in Early Years aims to allow plenty of time for children to consolidate their learning through play and child initiated learning, while our assessment and communication processes ensure a strong home-school link and close monitoring of progress by the Senior Leadership Team.
Our Learning (Implementation)
The Early Years education we offer our children is based on the Prime (Communication and Language, Personal and Social, Physical) and Specific (Literacy, Maths, Understanding of the World, Expressive Arts) areas of learning outlined in the Development Matters Framework. It also aims to closely match the four themes of the EYFS as follows:
A Unique Child: We believe that every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We ensure that every child feels included in our school community and that they know how to stay healthy and safe, whilst also ensuring that their well-being needs are met by staff. Early Years are included in many whole school events, such as Christmas and Easter services, Sports Day and charity or faculty events (where appropriate). The Early Years have their own planned curriculum which closely follows the Development Matters Framework whilst also being fully flexible to adapt to the interests and needs of each cohort.
Positive Relationships: We believe that children learn to be strong and independent from a base of secure relationships with teachers and support staff. Our school ensures effective partnerships with parents through ongoing communication such as:
We have effective and sensitive staff who support children’s learning by building relationships right from the start of their Trotts Hill journey, using home visits in Nursery and visits to other EYFS providers where appropriate. We also ensure that staffing is consistent throughout our weekly sessions to build strong relationships.
Enabling Environments: We believe that the learning environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development. Our school ensures that regular and ongoing observations are made of individual children to inform assessment and planning using an online learning journal, Tapestry. Links are made to the Development Matters Statements, Characteristics of Effective Learning and Early Learning Goals in order to build up a unique summary of each child’s current attainment. Paper records and books are also kept (where appropriate) in Reception to minimise teacher workload.
In the Early Years we provide a stimulating and rich learning environment, with links evident to each area of the Early Years curriculum both inside and outside. Our provision is separate for Nursery and Reception aged children so that we can effectively provide age appropriate support and challenge for individuals and groups. Children are encouraged to plan and develop their own activities using all available resources, though staff can provide additional ideas and resources which closely match the needs of individuals and groups where appropriate.
Learning and Development: Young children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. All areas of learning and development are equally important and are inter-connected. Our school plans for at least 1 hour of child initiated learning per session (i.e. 2 hours per day in Reception), as well as daily whole class phonics and maths sessions in Reception in order to ensure a balance between adult-led and child-initiated activities. Other adult led activities include weekly PSE based sessions, PE lessons with specialist dance and games teachers as well as other topic linked curriculum sessions where appropriate.
Any children who are identified as requiring additional support or challenge will be provided with tailored intervention. Sometimes these will be in the form of additional support during adult led and child initiated learning, however where appropriate additional activities or smaller group support may be planned by the class teacher, EYFS leader or SENDCo. Some examples of this are daily speech/EAL support, differentiated phonic and maths groups where appropriate and use of Wellcomm.
Our Outcomes (Impact)
The vast majority of children in the Early Years Foundation Stage at Trotts Hill will be working at or beyond their chronological age band. Where this is not the case, they will be supported through interventions and close monitoring by the EYFS leader and SLT to maximise their progress. Children will enjoy and have ownership of their learning, and this will be evident during observations and learning walks. Many children will challenge themselves in the child initiated learning time, producing outcomes of a high quality which are displayed in the classroom and/or formally recorded by staff.
All children will have a learning journal which reflects their ongoing development across a range of areas. Teachers and other EYFS staff will also hold a wealth of knowledge about the children they work with and are able to communicate this with one another, SLT and parents. A high proportion of children will achieve a Good Level of Development by the end of their time in Reception, particularly those who have attended our Nursery, and judgements will be accurate and moderated within the locality. Children will leave the EYFS with excellent communication, reading and mathematical skills which prepare them well for their learning in Key Stage One and beyond. Effective record keeping and communication of class teachers supports transition into Year One, and close monitoring by SLT ensures a whole school awareness of the Early Years.