Early Years Foundation Stage
Our Early Years Curriculum has numeracy and literacy as its heart. It is led by creative staff who help the children grow both cognitively and socially.
In EYFS at Eastcourt Independent School, the curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning from previous settings and their experiences at home, provide first hand learning experiences, whilst allowing the children to build resilience, ambition and integrity. We intend to inspire children’s curiosity and offer rich and new experiences. Our children will have opportunities to play and explore, having the confidence to take risks and not be worried about attempting something new. The children are at the centre of our ambitious curriculum. Their learning journey is tailored to the questions that they ask and reflects their interests. In order to secure their knowledge, careful observation and assessment will ensure every child reaches their full potential and develops a love for learning.
It is extremely important that the children feel excited, engaged, and encouraged throughout their learning journey. We work with our parents and carers to foster a strong relationship and our ‘open door’ policy invites and always encourages parents and carers to engage with us and foster strong links between ourselves and our families.
Every child is recognised as a unique individual and we celebrate and welcome differences within our school community. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. We provide enhancement opportunities to engage learners and believe that our first experiences of school should be happy and positive, enabling us to develop a lifelong love of learning.
Community involvement is an essential part of our curriculum as we celebrate local traditions, learning new skills to enable the children to take an active role in the events throughout the year.
Throughout their time in EYFS, the children develop a sense of belonging to our school community, ready to move on to Year 1 the following academic year. They have the confidence and skills to make decisions and self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners.
To support our curriculum, we provide opportunities for parents and carers to come into school, share their work and celebrate successes. We keep parents informed and meet regularly with them to ensure children’s transition into school and through the EYFS is happy and allows them to reach their potential with the support needed. This includes parent workshops, teddy bears picnic, reports and parent consultations as well as more frequent informal communication to suit individual families.
We prepare children for Year 1 with visits to their new class, meeting the teacher regularly during the year and ensuring the environments are familiar at the start of Year 1. Parents have the opportunity to meet with new teachers and visit their child’s new learning environment. They also complete ‘moving on’ activities with their teacher during the summer term. These aim to support the transition for all.
Our implementation ensures full coverage of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. Our curriculum intent drives the rationale for our approach, resource choices and selection of content. Our curriculum is carefully planned but also allows us to follow the children’s interests. It is structured for depth and clear progression of skills, knowledge and concepts. We build in opportunities for children to return to aspects of learning in order to build on prior knowledge and deepen their understanding. Our curriculum is based on sequenced and progressive long, medium and short term planning. The framework sets out the requirement for learning and development within the EYFS and focuses on prime and specific areas.
These are broken down into seven areas of the EYFS Curriculum –
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
These areas are used in our planning for the children’s learning and their activities. Planning is flexible to meet the needs and interests of our children. Ultimately our curriculum and topics are centred on the children. We always encourage active learning and aim to develop the learning characteristics that will support lifelong learning.
We have a topic based approach but have flexibility to go with the children’s interests. We make careful observational assessments of children in their independent play and this contributes to their personal learning journey which tracks individual progression through Development Matters statements. We deliver high quality learning opportunities indoors and outdoors. Our knowledge of the children’s interests and needs is the basis for our planning.
We want our children to –
• Learn actively – Where children try their best and persevere even when they face challenges.
• Play and explore – Children investigate and experience things and are willing to ‘have a go’.
• Create and think critically – Children develop their own ideas both independently and in collaboration with others.
The children engage in independent learning opportunities, as well as adult guided group work. We use questioning to encourage the children to query the world around them and through their own exploration they develop their independence, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Throughout their day the children have a mix of opportunities to work collaboratively, independently and with members of staff.
As a result of our Early Years Curriculum we want our children to:
• Be independent in their actions and thinking, confident in their own ability and show resilience.
• Be able to make friends and get on with others, understand and talk about feelings, learn about right and wrong and ultimately feel good about themselves.
• Be empowered to take ownership of their learning.
• Have the skills to communicate effectively.
• Be able to use and control their bodies effectively.
• Be able to concentrate with focused attention.
• Develop a love for reading through a book rich curriculum.
• Have a good foundation in maths to ensure essential life skills.
• Be successful readers, spellers and writers through systematic and sequential phonics teaching.
• Be given the opportunity to explore the local area, the jobs that people do there and how this contributes to the local and wider community.
• Be intrinsically motivated in order to promote their aspirations.
• Have an understanding and respect for other people’s faiths and beliefs and the difference it makes to their lives, deepening their understanding of the world and their own experience within it.
• To develop a deeper understanding of our core values of truthfulness, thankfulness, forgiveness, compassion, justice and courage.
We work hard to ensure that all our children’s progress across the EYFS curriculum is good, based on their various starting points. Evidence and observations of the children’s progress is recorded. We use our observations of the children to make formative assessments of their attainment and to inform future planning and build upon the children’s current knowledge. Our summative assessments look at children’s attainment in relation to age related expectations, taken from Development Matters.
The impact of our curriculum can be measured by the way in which our children are inspired and excited about their learning. We work to ensure our children develop into confident and positive learners, who are excited by new challenges and not put off by difficulty. We endeavour to ensure that our children leave the EYFS ready to move with confidence into KS1 and their lifelong learning journey.
We monitor the impact of our curriculum through:
Close observations of independent play in all areas of learning leading to identification of individual next steps.
Subject leadership: The Early Years lead routinely monitors the effectiveness of the curriculum through deep dives, listening to pupils, work scrutiny and teaching and learning observations.
Pupil Progress discussions take place termly to ensure no child is left behind, intervention being put in place as necessary.