At St Leonard’s Primary School, every child in our EYFS is recognised as a unique individual. We acknowledge and promote children’s interests to provide them with the opportunities to follow their imagination and creativity. In Reception, we invest time in helping children to self-regulate and understand their emotions, as we believe that children who are resilient and independent learners are more likely to succeed on their school journey and throughout their lives. We want the children to have the confidence and skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners. Opportunities are provided throughout the Reception year, through indoor and outdoor provision and wider curriculum enrichment experiences. Throughout their time in EYFS, the children develop a sense of belonging to our school family by building strong relationships that help them to feel safe and happy. We celebrate diversity through units of work and stories we tell about a variety of faiths and cultures from around the world. We create a stimulating, welcoming environment where speaking and listening skills are prioritised and vocabulary and communication are paramount.
‘The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.’
Each half term, the children are introduced to a new theme to provide inspiration for learning, whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas. Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching during the day. This means that the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning. Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the indoor and outdoor provision. The curriculum is planned for inside and outside learning opportunities and equal importance is given to learning in both areas.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start. In EYFS we have books each half term that link to our themes and we teach this texts using ‘Talk for Writing’ techniques. We expose children to a range of books that not only develop a love of reading, but have been chosen specifically to develop their oracy, vocabulary and comprehension. These books are embedded in our provision through activities, story sessions and on display for children to access independently. Through this, children begin to internalise new vocabulary, language patterns and begin to retell stories. With the acquisition of this language, children begin to write independently using the phonic sounds that they have been taught.
We follow the ‘Read, Write Inc’ programme to ensure consistency across the school. In Reception, Set 1 sounds and Set 2 sounds are introduced throughout the year, with a strong focus on segmenting and blending skills to decode words for reading a spelling. Children are encouraged to read at home and are listened to regularly in school. They are given books that match their phonic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers.
In Reception, we use ‘Maths – No Problem.’ High quality learning environments and meaningful interactions with adults, support children in developing mathematical thinking and discussion. Pupils learn through tasks using concrete manipulatives and pictorial structures and representations which are then rehearsed applied and recorded within their own child-led exploration. Children develop a love of maths through this process. There is a focus on the following counting principles; one to one correspondence, stable order and cardinal principle. Children’s fine manipulative skills are a focus to develop 1-1 correspondence so children count each object only once.
Our wider curriculum is taught through the learning areas; ‘Understanding of the World’ and ‘Expressive Arts and Design.’
Subject leaders are aware of the ELG’s that link to each foundation subject and the corresponding progression. Exciting, purposeful and contextual activities are planned to build on children’s natural curiosity. For example, building a boat for their favourite toy enables them to think like a ‘scientist’ and ‘engineer’ as they explore a range of materials and test out their own ideas. Building further on our oracy focus, children will be encouraged to employ subject specific language and terminology in foundation subjects and such vocabulary will be modelled.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of additional interventions and support for children who may not be reaching age related expectations, or for those who are showing a greater depth of understanding and need further challenge. This includes, sessions for developing speech and language, social skills, fine motor skills, phonics, and mathematics. Regular monitoring of teaching and learning by SLT and the EYFS leader, ensures staff develop good subject knowledge. The EYFS leader ensures staff receive CPD specific to Early Years to develop their practice. This includes how to collect effective observations, in order to understand where pupils are and their next steps for learning.