Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
In Reception, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, which covers all areas of children’s learning and development from birth to five years old. It divides teaching and learning into seven areas of learning and development: the prime areas (communication and language, physical development, and personal, social and emotional development) and the specific areas (literacy, mathematics, understanding the world, and expressive arts and design.) These lead to 17 Early Learning Goals, which summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that children should gain by the end of the reception year. The EYFS also sets out how children learn, with the characteristics of effective learning. So we encourage good attitudes to learning in everything we do, using the skills in our school Learning Charter.
We provide a balance between adult-led and child initiated experiences. Children are supported in their development through play and exploration opportunities, short teaching sessions, and adult-guided work. The curriculum remains very play based throughout the year, although the balance shifts slightly towards more activities led by adults at the end of the year.
Literacy (reading and writing) is taught through the phonics programme Letters and Sounds. This is a structured, systematic and comprehensive approach to teaching reading, writing and spelling, which continues into Key Stage 1.
We have a well-equipped outdoor learning area, with many exciting learning opportunities, including a construction zone, a sand pit and a garden for digging and growing. We love going out and about in our wonderful school grounds to observe changes and explore the natural environment. We also offer the children Forest School sessions at a woodland site a short walk away on the Nower. The environment and activities inside and outside are carefully planned to promote learning, so while it may look as though the children are ‘just playing,’ they are actually learning all the time.
The classrooms and outdoor space are organised so that children can access most resources by themselves, and they can extend their own learning independently. These are called enabling environments. Rather than having set topics we follow children’s interests and provide hands on experiences to engage the children. Our resources are open-ended and can be used flexibly so that the children are not restricted and can follow their interests and ideas creatively. Our timetable allows for long periods of free-flow independent play both inside and outside, which enables children to become deeply involved in their learning.
An important part of teaching in Reception is through interactions. Adults observe the children closely as they play, and join in sensitively to support them and move their learning on, extending their language and thinking, and helping to develop their skills. Our aim is that the children leave Reception as happy, confident, independent learners, who are settled into school and ready for the challenges of Year 1
We use Tapestry Online Learning Journals to track children’s learning and share it with parents and carers. Each child has their own login, where parents and carers can see what they’ve been doing in school and add their own comments or observations about their child’s learning at home.