Early Years Foundation Stage
At The Stoke Poges School, we aim to provide a solid foundation for learning that gives pupils the best possible start to their educational journey with us. Our curriculum aims to build on our pupils’ personal experiences, heritage and culture. This is used as a starting point in their learning journey and then as a vehicle for delivering our EYFS curriculum. We ensure that pupils develop solid foundational knowledge and skills that are progressive and developed over the Reception year. As children then move through each year group in our school, their knowledge and skills learnt in Reception are further built upon and applied each year during their time at The Stoke Poges School. We ensure that we use our bridging documents to provide a seamless ‘bridge’ between the EYFS Curriculum and the National Curriculum so that pupils secure the prior learning ready to succeed in KS1, KS2 and beyond.
Link to EYFS Policy
Our early years curriculum follows the standards outlined in the latest version of the EYFS statutory framework that applies from September 2021. The EYFS framework includes 7 areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected. However, 3 areas known as the prime areas are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
The prime areas are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
The prime areas are strengthened and applied through 4 specific areas:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
For each area of learning, there are a set of early learning goals which summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that all young children should have gained by the end of the reception year.
At The Stoke Poges School, the standards in the EYFS framework have supported us to design our own bespoke Reception curriculum. Our curriculum is based on developing key knowledge and skills. We consider the experiences that our pupils have had prior to joining us and we also take account of the locality and heritage of our school. We then base new learning on building upon what our pupils already know and can do. Their knowledge and skills are developed each half term to ensure that they develop a solid foundation for learning.
Our Early Years curriculum is the foundation of knowledge, skills and understanding our children need to be successful as they move forward into Key Stage 1. It is based upon the progression within the non-statutory Birth to 5 Matters guidance and outworked through emerging themes and children's interests arising from key chosen texts. This ensures that developing a love of reading is at the centre of our early years curriculum.
Link to Statutory Framework Information
Our Curriculum Goals
In Reception we have created 8 curriculum goals linked to the areas of learning which we aim for all our children to achieve by the end of the year. The goals are ambitious and provide an overview of many of the different things we would like the children to know and be able to do by the end of the year.
- To become a MAGICAL MATHEMATICIAN who has a deep understanding of number and applies this to solve problems.
- To become a FANTASTIC FRIEND who is a confident learner and cares for others.
- To become a HEALTHY HERO who has the essential skills to be ready for the next step in their journey.
- To become an AMAZING ARTIST who expresses and shares creativity in different ways.
- To become an EAGER EXPLORER who can talk confidently about their experiences of the world around them.
- To become a CONFIDENT COMMUNICATOR who listens carefully and can hold a conversation with another person.
- To become a ROARING READER who can confidently read and discuss a familiar text.
- To become a RICH WRITER who can independently write sentences to communicate their ideas.
Topics and Themes
In order for children to achieve our curriculum goals and also the expectations in the EYFS Framework, we aim to engage pupils in a number of exciting and interesting topics over the year. All topics have been carefully planned to consider the heritage, culture and locality of our school community and pupils.
Each topic title is a question which we aim for our children to answer by the end of the half term:
- Autumn 1 – What makes us all special?
- Autumn 2 – How do we celebrate special occasions?
- Spring 1 – How can we travel?
- Spring 2 – How are all animals different?
- Summer 1 – How do plants grow?
- Summer 2 – How do minibeasts help our garden?
Links to Medium Term Plans:
Teaching and Learning
How do our children learn?
Our approach to teaching and learning involves an appropriate balance of both adult-led and child-led learning that focuses on developing core skills and knowledge. All activities are specific to children’s needs and provide appropriate challenge. All children complete a number of focus activities weekly with an adult. These are often linked to Literacy and Maths and are planned, guided learning activities where an individual or group work with a member of staff towards achieving specific targets.
In addition to this, pupils are able to access child-led activities through continuous provision daily. Staff are trained to observe, join in, extend and develop children’s play and learning through high quality interactions and effective questioning during this time. Our curriculum is balanced with learning that stems from the children’s interests. Continuous provision plans are flexible and follow children’s fascinations within the topic. Children learn a huge amount through the play they choose. We will help maximise this learning by making sure we provide a high-quality learning environment.
Each half term, there are a set of core and enhancement texts for each topic. As we introduce these texts, the classroom areas will be enhanced with resources, provocations or activities to spark the children’s curiosity, develop their exploration and play, extend/challenge their learning and practise key skills. Enhancements will often be themed and linked to the core text. They are added and changed as and when needed. Enhancements add breadth and increase opportunities for the children to develop knowledge and skills across the curriculum.
Our staff help children to learn through continuous provision in many encouraging, thoughtful and gently challenging ways. These include:
- creating a rich and stimulating environment, indoors and outside, so that children can choose their own play and activities
- joining in with children’s play when appropriate, and sensitively introducing challenges and new ideas
- setting challenges for children in a sensitive way and allowing them to find their own solutions to problems
- showing children how to do things (modelling) and explaining how to do things
- scaffolding learning so that pupils can tackle new problems
- encouraging children to collaborate and learn from each other
- guiding children’s learning in a playful way
- discussing ideas with children, using skilful questioning and challenging their thinking to help them clarify their understanding of ideas
- commenting on what children are doing
- directly teaching children a new skill, concept or an important piece of information
- using ICT to support children’s learning
Characteristics of Effective Learning
In planning and guiding children's activities, our early years staff reflect on the different ways that children learn, and then promote these in their practice. The Characteristics of Effective Learning describe how children learn. These learning dispositions, behaviours and habits of mind are particularly important because they build the foundations needed to support children to become strong lifelong learners and independent thinkers.
Three Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning identified by the EYFS are:
- Playing and exploring - Children are finding out and exploring, playing with what they know and are willing to have a go at new things.
- Active learning - Children are involved in what they are doing and concentrating, they keep trying and enjoy achieving what they set out to do.
- Creating and thinking critically - Children have their own ideas, make links and choose ways to do things.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning and the Prime and Specific Areas of Learning and Development are all inter-connected. Different elements of learning are identified in the EYFS, to make the complex picture of learning clearer. But children’s learning is not compartmentalised and many or all of these elements are in action at the same time as children interact with people and things.