Our vision for the Early Years and Foundation Stage (EYFS)
In the Foundation Stage we acknowledge the potential and hunger for learning in every activity and situation that children encounter. We offer a safe, secure and stimulating environment in which all children flourish, grow and learn to make sense of the real world. Our activities provide first hand experiences through play and discussion, children are encouraged to interact with others, to move about and explore a wide variety of learning situations. There are well-planned areas of provision in the wide range of activities, resources and materials available. Opportunities are provided for sustained activity and continuous provision, as well as spontaneous, self-chosen activities.
In the EYFS we work as a unit with one qualified teacher overseeing the learning of both nursery and reception classes, supported by a Nursery Nurse and teaching assistants. We are fortunate to have two classrooms meaning that nursery and reception have a distinct curriculum where particular lessons are taught at specific times during the day to each class. These include Communication, Language and Literacy, maths, Religious Education and Personal, Social Development. There are also many opportunities for self-directed and independent learning based on the 7 areas of learning (see below for more information).
We recognise that nursery and reception children need different elements in their taught curriculum. However, nursery and reception children also come together at points during the day where we operate a ‘Free Flow’ system allowing children to explore both classrooms as well as outside. We really value the time our EYFS children have together but also the time they have apart with learning tailored to their specific age and stage of development.
Children feel valued and our setting gives them a sense of belonging. We develop their confidence so that they become active learners that can be resilient, capable and self-assured. It is important to us that children experience success, have fun and enjoy themselves whilst learning.
St. Mary’s EYFS ensures a smooth transition from home to school and offers stability for the younger child through building strong partnerships with families. In each class, children are provided with an environment in which they are given opportunities to express themselves using a variety of mediums and suitable material to stimulate and extend imagination and understanding. With adult support and through, planned play and talking, young children learn about themselves and the world around them, they are given opportunities to socialise, make friends and therefore develop personal, social and emotional skills and develop confidence. We are committed to all children securing their prime and specific areas of learning – see below.
As part of our commitment to all children we plan ‘Cultural Capital’ experiences to ensure that they have access to enriching activities. We see our role is to help the children experience the awe and wonder of the world in which they live, through the seven areas of learning. This takes different forms, e.g. being a classroom monitor, learning a range of nursery rhymes, taking part in local trips or being exposed to quality texts.
Learning and development requirements in the EYFS
These are taught through play, with a mix of adult led and child initiated activities.
Characteristics of Effective teaching and Learning
At St Mary’s activities will be planned to allow children to develop through:
At St Mary’s we understand that children come with different experiences, learn at different paces and develop in their own unique ways. Developmentally children achieve at different rates and the difference in stage for example between a child born in September and one born in August can in the short term, mean that there are different expectations and outcomes. We believe that nursery provides the building blocks for preparing children for reception and in order for them to be ready we have devised 9 goals for them to achieve (in any order) by the end of their time in nursery.
By the end of their time in nursery pupils will:
Reception (end of EYFS) Goals
By the end of Reception the goal is that all children achieve all of the statements within each of the Early Learning Goals split between the seven areas of learning and development. See below.
Assessment and observation
At St Mary’s, in line with the EYFS Reforms of 2020 we see assessment as an important way of understanding and recognising children’s progress. However, we also aim maximise quality time spent between children and practitioners engaging in meaningful tasks and do not see the benefit of lengthy observations and photographs to prove this.
We use formative assessment (on-going) as it best captures the children’s individual progress. Our experienced EYFS team identify children who have gaps in knowledge and may need additional input to make expected progress and this is carefully monitored however, we do not produce excessive paperwork or written observations regarding this, instead focusing on the specific input that an individual child may need. Parents and carers have the opportunity to discuss their child’s progress at parent consultation evenings and at other times if required.
At St Mary’s we see the partnership between parents, carers and school staff as crucial to enable the best outcomes for the children. With this in mind we invite you in every Friday to join reading morning. Please come into class with your child when you drop them off and stay for 10 minutes of shared reading time. We look forward to seeing you.
We also want your input into your child’s development so have a look at the government produced document which explains more about EYFS. The link below will take you to ‘What to Expect in EYFS for Parents.’ Please come and speak to one of the school staff if you have any queries.