The Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to 5 years.
At Launton CE Primary we place great value on the development of children as individuals and providing them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage One and beyond. Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations rooted in academic success as well as moral and spiritual development, so that ultimately our pupils can be successful, go on to be active citizens of society and happy, curious life-long learners.
Our curriculum is therefore the cultural capital we know our pupils need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. They can only do that if we embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking.
In Nursery and Reception we teach them how to listen, speak and meet the high expectations for behaviour by working together and being kind. As such, we prioritise personal, social and emotional development and communication and language in the Nursery and Reception curriculum. Our enabling environment and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. As the pupils move into Reception, we invest time and energy into helping pupils set and reflect on their own goals by aiming high and developing a love of reading, writing and number. This is delivered through a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking following children’s interests and ideas. We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through continuous indoor and outdoor provision.
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, maths and phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED. These sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff or individually to develop their individual targets. This focused group time means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning. Intellectual preparation and co-planning is led by the phase leader every week with short 15 minute ‘child-led’ planning sessions happening three times a week. During these sessions the teachers reflect on three questions: “What do our focus individuals need to learn or are curious about? What embedded learning have we observed in this area? What can be changed to exploit the learning and interests of the children/individuals in this area?” In this way, we ensure that the children have agency over their environment and that the provision leads to depth of learning across the curriculum.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow the rigorous and highly successful phonic program faithfully so that they meet good outcomes for reading with almost all children passing the Year One phonics screening All children in reception take home a phonic reading book that is closely matched to their developing phonic level and a shared reader which can be shared with an adult at home to develop comprehension and vocabulary.
We follow the Maths Mastery approach in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. Nursery pupils begin to develop these key skills during daily maths meetings where they explore sorting, quantities, shape, number and counting awareness. These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts.
Our curriculum needs to meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, so we spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning. This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences and analysing data and progress by year group, class, groups and individuals. Every member of staff uses ongoing observational assessment to identify children’s starting points and plan experiences which ensure progress.
Children in our early years, on average, arrive with much lower starting points than national especially in speaking and listening. During their time in our Nursery and Reception classes, children make rapid progress so that we meet the national expectation for GLD at the end of the year.