Welcome to Early Years at Trotts Hill. On this page you can find information about our curriculum, including an overview of the topics we cover in Nursery and Reception. The 'New to...' Powerpoints are available below for further information for parents.
This half term our learning has been all about different Nursery Rhymes (Nursery) and Fairytales (Reception). The children have made models and pictures of their favourite characters, carried out experiments using different materials (e.g. waterproofing a house, bridge building) and practised their fine motor skills, for example by cutting Rapunzel's hair and drawing maps.
Our topic in both Nursery and Reception has been growing this term. Both classes have planted seeds and watched them grow. Nursery class collected some tadpoles from our pond and have learnt about the lifecycle of a frog, while Reception have been watching some tiny caterpillars grow and turn into butterflies!
The children enjoyed celebrating Chinese New Year in many different ways this year. They read The Great Race and acted it out using masks and by having races in the playground. They also experimented with noodles and tasted prawn crackers. The children all practised their cutting skills by making Chinese lanterns.
Children in Nursery and Reception classes performed in their own nativity shows this year. Reception were excellent in their 'Wriggly Nativity' show and Nursery were super in 'We're Going on a Baby Hunt'. The children loved singing and dancing, and many children were confident to read their lines to a real life audience. Well done Early Years - all of your teachers are so proud!
Our local police officers visited us in school to explain how they help to keep the local community safe. They also showed us their police car! We had lots of fun learning about being a police officer.
Our classrooms have a bright and natural feel, with different areas for learning including role play, understanding of the world, small world, reading, performance and number.
Our Autumn term 'Celebration' displays, including fireworks, Remembrance Day, Divali and autumn.
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, and make a positive start to their learning. We aim to provide a safe and nurturing environment in which all children are able to start their journey towards becoming lifelong learners and members of the Trotts Hill community.
We aim for all children in our Early Years classes to be confident communicators, being able to take part in short adult directed activities and work with others during self-directed tasks. We aim for all children to be competent in managing their own personal needs, being confident to ask for support where needed. Most importantly, we aim for all children to enjoy their learning and be able to work alongside and collaboratively with their peers, showing tolerance and empathy towards one another.
The Early Years education we offer our children is based on the Prime (CLL, PSED and PD) and Specific (Literacy, Maths, Understanding of the World, Expressive Arts) areas of learning outlined in the EYFS statutory framework and the non-statutory 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 individual 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).
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. This curriculum matches the statutory EYFS Educational Programmes and closely follows the new (2021) Development Matters framework, ensuring that as many children as possible achieve a Good Level of Development at the end of their time in the EYFS. The structure of the day in Early Years allows plenty of time for children to consolidate their learning through play and child-initiated learning, as well as time for individual interventions on a 1:1 or group basis where needed to accelerate progress.
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 highly skilled, effective and sensitive staff who support children’s learning by building relationships right from the start of their Trotts Hill journey, via home visits for new starters and visits to other EYFS settings where appropriate. We also ensure that staffing is consistent throughout the week to build strong relationships and routines. Teachers provide well planned adult led activities for the whole class and / or key worker groups and all adult interactions are high quality during both 1:1 and small group during child-initiated learning time, including the correct modelling of spoken language and modelling of core skills.
Enabling Environments: We believe that the learning environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development. Routines are a crucial element of our practice and the day is clearly structured to support children’s communication and social skills. Behaviour expectations are high as children know what to expect at each point in the day. The timetable is structured to allow daily opportunities for Child Initiated Learning, group reading, singing and practise of core skills such as phonics, counting and handwriting. Daily group snack time encourages healthy eating, develops communication skills and shares responsibility for tidying up / helping to share out snacks.
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. All resources are easily accessible and children are encouraged to plan and develop their own activities, though staff will provide additional ideas and resources which closely match the needs of individuals and groups where appropriate and/ or necessary.
Learning and Development: Young children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. All areas of learning and development are 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 PSHE/RE and PE sessions, and other topic linked curriculum sessions where appropriate. Our curriculum has a high focus on reading and vocabulary building, with all weekly learning linked to a core text. Children also have access to Forest School learning throughout the year to support their holistic development.
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 interventions.
Formative assessments take place during every adult led session, for example using directed questions, practical tasks and group work.
During child-initiated learning, staff engage with children to provide high quality dialogue and support children to move their learning forward. Teachers make a note of individual next steps where needed and share these with the team, and next steps for all children in the Prime areas (Nursery) and Literacy / Maths (Reception) are displayed in the classroom for ongoing access. Summative assessments take place for baseline, including the RBA (September), December, March and June, and progress is closely monitored and supported by the EYFS leader and SLT.
The vast majority of children in the Early Years Foundation Stage at Trotts Hill will be working at or beyond the age related expectations. Where this is not the case, children 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 their 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 they 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 school team and other local schools. 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.