CURRICULUM – EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage)
“The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.” Maria Montessori
At Garden Fields, the aim of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is to provide each child with the best possible start to their school journey, to ensure that they build excellent learning behaviours and develop the skills they need to succeed. We believe every child should grow with a sense of respect, responsibility, compassion, cooperation, inclusivity, and integrity.
Our staff take time to get to know each individual child, building positive relationships to best understand their needs. We create a nurturing atmosphere where each child and their individual needs and achievements, are recognised, valued and praised.
You can find out more in our 3 Is; Intent, Implementation and Impact.
At Garden Fields, 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 their learning journey. Emphasis is placed on the children developing as kind, independent and resilient individuals that have the confidence and ability to communicate effectively, problem solve, develop ideas and think creatively. Moreover, our intention is for our children to have been guided by the core school values of Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Cooperation, Inclusivity, and Integrity, and implement these into their daily life.
Every child is recognised as a unique individual. We consider children’s prior learning and various starting points to develop a holistic, engaging curriculum, that connects across all areas of the EYFS.
By the end of the Reception year, our intention is to ensure that all children make good progress from their starting points, and are equipped with the skills and knowledge to have a smooth transition into Year 1.
Our EYFS curriculum follows the statutory guidance EYFS Framework and is supported by the Development Matters guidance. The Characteristics of effective teaching and learning are also central to all planned learning experiences in our EYFS curriculum.
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 every day. These sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff 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 verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning. Adult led tasks are differentiated to meet the needs of all learners.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of additional intervention and support for children who may not be reaching their potential and need further support. This includes, for example, sessions for developing social skills, fine motor skills, phonics, and mathematics.
Assessment is ongoing throughout the year. Pupil progress meetings every half term ensure consistency in assessment and planning for all children, identifying those in need of further intervention to accelerate progress.
Formal assessments in the Early Years Foundation stage include…
Baseline: Prior to children starting, staff spend time speaking to the child’s parents, previous settings and read previous learning journey’s to gain an understanding of the whole child and where they are at. During the first half term in Reception, all staff use ongoing assessments, observations and conversations with the child to develop a baseline assessment. This identifies each individual’s starting points in all areas so we can plan experiences to ensure progress.
The RBA (Statutory Reception Baseline Assessment) This assessment focuses on ‘Language, Communication and Literacy,’ and ‘Mathematics.’ The purpose of this is to show the progress children make from Reception until the end of KS2. This is completed within the first 6 weeks of beginning the Reception year.
Ongoing Observation and quality interactions: All ongoing observations are used to inform weekly planning and identify children’s next steps. This formative assessment does not involve prolonged periods of time away from the children and excessive paper work. Staff draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgements through discussions with other practitioners, photographs and physical examples such as a child’s drawing / making. ’Wow’ moments are recorded in learning journals and shared with parents and carers.
Communication and Language
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Our curriculum is based around the selected high-quality texts which promote an interest in books and a love of reading. We have a well-stocked library with a diverse selection of books as well as book corners in both Reception classes based on the children’s’ interests, containing books to support reading and learning. It is our intention to ensure that all children are taught early reading through systematic, synthetic phonics, learning to read words and simple sentences accurately by the end of Reception. Children follow the rigorous and highly successful Read, Write Inc program faithfully so that all pupils make progress. Although Read Write Inc sessions provide children with daily opportunities to read and write, we feel strongly that it is important to have distinct Literacy sessions to further promote the necessary literacy skills to become successful readers, writers, and lifelong learners. We therefore teach literacy lessons 4x per week in addition to daily phonics sessions to encourage the children to express their own ideas.
Our Mathematics is guided by White Rose Maths, the educational programme which supports the delivery of a curriculum that embeds mathematical thinking and talk. It supports the ethos of the Early Years Foundation Stage whilst at the same time enabling and helping us to create a mathematically rich curriculum. Additionally, it allows for key mathematical concepts to be revisited and developed further across the year. It has been divided into 10 phases and provides a variety of opportunities to develop the understanding of number shape measure and spatial thinking.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Our PSED/PSHE sessions are delivered with the support of Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, which brings together Personal, Social, Health Education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development in a comprehensive scheme of learning. A lesson a week, helps us to focus on tailoring the lessons to our children’s needs and to enjoy building the relationship with our children, getting to know them better as unique individuals.
Our indoor and outdoor environments are planned to ensure children have plenty of opportunity to develop both their fine and gross motor skills. Throughout Physical Education lessons, pupils will learn key skills and life lessons including resilience, sportsmanship, and perseverance. Our curriculum is designed to introduce students to a range of fundamental movement skills and techniques that they can transfer into the sports and activities that they will experience in their learning journey. PE Passport is used to support our PE planning, and units of work are progressive. Pupils will be taught to master basic movements including running, jumping, throwing, and catching, as well as developing balance, agility, and co-ordination, and begin to apply these in a range of activities.
Our wider curriculum is taught through the specific learning areas; ‘Understanding of the World’ and ‘Expressive Arts and Design.’
Understanding the World
Our pupils are encouraged to talk about and communicate things of personal significance in their lives, beliefs and culture. There are plenty of opportunities for pupils to explore concepts such as life cycles, plant growth, animal characteristics and materials through sharing their experiences during play. Pupils are encouraged to question, observe and be curious in relation to the Characteristics of Effective Learning.
Expressive Art and Design
Expressive Art and Design is part of the daily provision. Pupils have independent access to a range of quality materials and tools. We introduce new media and techniques during adult-led sessions which are then made available for the children to explore further during child initiated learning. Children are introduced to primary colours and colour mixing. They begin to explore how to manipulate dough to create shapes, learning techniques such as rolling. They use their drawing and mark making skills to explore line and shape. Children explore how to cut, tear, fold and stick paper and fabric to create collage artwork. Children explore environmental art and use natural resources to create artwork. Children develop painting techniques, such as creating patterns, and explore traditional works of art to inspire their artwork.
Our enabling environments and opportunities for small world play and role play, encourages the children to practise their communication, language, and social skills, to ensure our children can enter imaginative worlds, be creative and engage in playful thinking.
The children’s experiences at Garden Fields provide the necessary foundations for the rest of their learning journey. Adults facilitate the development of communication and social interaction through the curriculum, supporting children to achieve and effectively transition onto the next step in their education. The children are headed for the ultimate Garden Fields aim which is to build their confidence, ignite a love of learning, and create wonderful memories.
Miss Gurney, (EYFS Class Teacher & EYFS Year Group Leader) & Mrs Welton, (EYFS Class Teacher)
The Learning Journey below illustrates the curriculum for children in EYFS.