Early Years Foundation Stage
Here at Tushingham Primary School, we provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to play and learn together. We build positive, secure and trusting relationships which allow our children to flourish. We strive to celebrate children’s unique personalities, talents and abilities, always keeping their wellbeing at the heart of everything that we do.
Our aim is to provide a welcoming and stimulating play-based learning environment, which develops a broad range knowledge and skills, and provides the right foundation for good future progress through school and life. We will work on broadening children’s experiences, providing opportunities to try new things and encouraging them to persevere with new challenges. We aim to develop the children’s ability to express and regulate their own feelings so that they feel confident, respected and valued.
We appreciate the support of parents and families at our school and we understand that good communication between school and home helps us to meet the full needs of our little learners. Ultimately, we want all children at Tushingham Primary School to start their school life both happily and confidently, in order to make good progress across the EYFS curriculum, in preparation for the transition into year 1.
Play–based approach to learning
At Tushingham School, we value play. We believe that play-based learning provides children opportunities to actively and imaginatively engage with people, objects and the environment. Through our consistent and effective continuous provision, children access a wide range of experiences and learning opportunities and this also provides them with familiarity and security within their classroom. We encourage children to return to activities and areas, exploring in more depth and growing in independence and confidence each time. Carefully-planned enhancements to the areas then create points of interest, excitement and extra challenge.
Teachers and Teaching Assistants model play and introduce the children to the endless possibilities of our open-ended resources. They know how and when to interact with children in their play in order to support, challenge or extend their learning. This then leads to high-level engagement and independent exploration during future continuous provision sessions.
New concepts are taught through focussed adult-inputs. These include a wide range of learning opportunities to learn new skills, challenge thinking and embed learning. Direct teaching time is short, well-organised and multi-sensory, with learning becoming embedded over time. Children have opportunities to practise new skills in adult-directed activities, and following these, we then look for children to independently use and extend their new knowledge and skills within their play. This supports ‘sticky learning’.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
Weaved through our practice in the EYFS are the characteristics of effective learning.
We help children to explore independently and we encourage and support them to fully believe in themselves and their abilities. Children are encouraged to play with what they know and to develop the confidence to “have a go.” They are nurtured to develop resilience by being gently supported to keep trying in order to achieve what they set out to do.
Meaningful learning opportunities are planned so that children are able to use what they have learned and apply this to new situations. As children become more independent with activities, they will begin to actively think about the meaning of what they are doing. Children will then make links between experiences, which will help them generate new ideas and solve problems.
Areas of Learning and Development
There are seven areas of learning and development in EYFS and these help to build the foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.
The three prime areas are:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
The four specific areas of:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
During the first few weeks of Nursery and Reception, we develop relationships with the children and we model and establish consistent routines, so that they feel happy and settled at school. We then complete our Nursery and Reception baseline assessments, alongside the statutory DfE Baseline Assessment for Reception children. As well as finding out about children’s strengths and areas for development, we also like to find out about their interests, and all of this information is then used to help us develop our learning environment and plan our learning experiences.
Each child has their own profile on our electronic ‘Learning Journal’ programme. Here we keep evidence of their learning through observations, work samples, photographs and videos. We ask for parents to also contribute to children’s learning journals using our ‘Wow Moment’ sheets or through our ‘Parent Postcard’ app. This information informs our next steps in teaching and learning, and it also allows us to show progress and make judgements as to whether children are on track to achieve their targets. Children that are not on track to meet their targets are identified early and support is put in place to bridge any gaps in knowledge and understanding.
At the end of Reception, teachers make a holistic, best-fit judgement about whether children are at the expected level of development and their readiness for year 1. Teachers draw on their own knowledge of the child, their observations taken throughout the year and their own professional judgement to make assessments against the Early Learning Goals (ELGs). These end of year assessments will be shared with children’s parents.
The impact of our EYFS curriculum is seen through our wonderful children. They are happy, well-rounded and confident children, who are enthusiastic and excited about learning. Following adult-inputs, children often independently repeat and enhance learning experiences during continuous provision sessions, which demonstrates that they are motivated, engaged and stimulated by the learning experiences.
Professional dialogue and monitoring of the teaching and pedagogy in our EYFS are reviewed and evaluated regularly and staff in our nursery and reception class complete regular CPD in order to enhance their practice. New knowledge from the research and courses is positively reflected in subsequent teaching and the classroom environment. Our EYFS provision and practice is always a high priority on our rigorous School Development Plan, which means our practice is ever-changing and improving, and this has a positive impact on the children’s learning.
Our assessment procedures allow us to evaluate how and what the children are learning in detail and plan for their specific next steps. Our children arrive at our school with skills broadly in line with national averages. During their time in our EYFS, they make good levels of development: last year 93% of children achieved a Good Level of Development. Achievement at the end of reception is consistently well above Local Authority and national averages. Ultimately, our children leave our EYFS with the key knowledge and personal skills that will help them have a successful transition into year 1.
The end of year expectations are in the attached documents.