Early Years Foundation Stage at Sandfield Close Primary School
At Sandfield Close Primary School our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a thriving learning area. We have a diverse range of children and our expert staff in the EYFS area (sometimes called Reception too) cater for their individual needs. Through regular monitoring and evaluation we ensure that our EYFS practice is consistent and we provide quality provision and care for the needs of our children.
At Sandfield Close Primary School we have a Reception class area with children that are 4 years old+ within the school building. We do not have nursery provision within school.
We use ‘Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)’ to support our planning, teaching, learning and assessment. This is a non-statutory guidance document which supports staff in implementing the statutory requirements of the EYFS. Based on this, our EYFS practice is built around the following three themes:
- developing the unique child
- building positive relationships
- creating enabling environments.
These three themes support the learning and development children make across the 17 strands within the EYFS.
At Sandfield Close Primary School we aim to:
- develop the whole child and support their growth emotionally, intellectually, socially, linguistically and physically so that they can develop educationally;
- foster a caring child that is able to show kindness, compassion and respect to fellow friends regardless of their gender, race, religion, social backgrounds or ability;
- encourage all children to reach their full potential and support others to do so too;
- create positive learners that want to learn and are curious to find out more.
- ensure learning is fun!
By the end of their time in Reception, we would like children to develop a range of skills and attitudes that will support them in their life-long learning as well their learning journey from Year 1 to Year 6. These are:
speaking, listening and communication skills;
developing independence by learning and managing their self-help skills;
social skills and caring for others and themselves;
problem solving skills;
outdoor skills: understanding of nature and the area in which they live;
creative thinking skills;
technological skills coupled with safety first;
cultural awareness attitudes about the world around us reflecting British values.
Ethos in the Early Years at Sandfield Close Primary School
We believe that play is crucial to learning. We know that children learn best when they are actively involved in their learning within the classroom and outdoors and we ensure this happens daily. We encourage children to learn through play by providing purposeful play opportunities to apply what they have learnt, to develop their curiosity and to apply their language skills. Learning through purposeful play enables children to attain a range of skills for example, in the role-play bakery area, children are encouraged to: speak to one another about measurements; talk about sizes; role play making bread having been taught by our school catering team; discuss loaves of bread they learnt the names for from their trip to the supermarket; pretend to purchase bread; learn how to label bread; draw bread and work together to make bread.
The Sandfield Close the Reception team ensure that the provision for children is based on their learning needs. We also ensure that learning is relevant, fun and exciting so that children love learning. We provide many rich and stimulating experiences to support the development of language and vocabulary. We use a ‘novel study’ approach in the EYFS, whereby children are immersed into a story and experience learning first hand i.e. going on a ‘bear hunt’ through the school or pulling an ‘enormous turnip’ from the garden.
This enables staff to support the progress of language further as well as providing opportunities for being creative and imaginative and developing writing, reading and mathematical understanding.
We encourage children to be as independent as they can and initiate learning too. Children are asked to speak in full sentences to develop the use of language wherever possible. Children’s own interests are valued with regular opportunities to share which can influence planning and provision.
The curriculum for EYFS
The curriculum for the EYFS is broad and balanced and child centred with every child having equal access. Staff continually plan, teach and assess children against the characteristics of effective learning and the 17 aspects of EYFS that are separated into 7 areas for learning and development under the headings of ‘prime areas’ and ‘specific areas’:
Classroom organisation and management of teaching, learning and assessment
The EYFS base is within a large open plan unit across two classroom areas, the red carpet room and the blue carpet room, and the enclosed outdoors area. Children in Reception are also seen using other areas in school to practise physical education skills with Sports Coaches who link physical education to phonics, key word learning, speaking and listening and applying mathematical understanding.
The classrooms have two areas for wet/sand play, paint or cooking. There is a reading area within the unit to develop a love of books, a role play area that is supported by a member of staff to develop language, an investigation area, a writing area, a mathematical area and a creative area. All the resources are clearly labelled to encourage independence, giving children access throughout the day.
Staff use a range of strategies to encourage learning and the growth of skills, attitudes, knowledge and understanding. Children are given many opportunities to practise, repeat, rehearse, consolidate and apply learning on a daily basis.
Staff teach whole class maths, handwriting and immersion for writing. They also work in differentiated groups for phonics (taught daily through Letters and Sounds) and smaller differentiated groups for reading. Staff also teach intervention sessions when children have not fully understood a concept, idea or new knowledge to ensure that they develop their understanding. Staff ensure each child has a reading book to take home in the book bags we provide so that children practise their reading at home. Staff also ask children to choose a book to take home from a differentiated range that we encourage parents to read to them.
There are two teachers and one teaching assistant that are in the EYFS team and they work very closely with the Year 1 teacher and the EYFS Lead, collaborating, evaluating, planning and assessing together. The team also works very closely with the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Lead if they are concerned about the learning needs of any child as part of our early identification of learning needs.
Staff in the EYFS are continually observing and assessing the needs of all children of all abilities and this is recorded on a daily basis through Target Tracker, the school’s data system. These observations of children form the basis of their learning journeys which are emailed to parents half termly using Target Tracker.
Parents are also asked to complete WOW forms to let staff know about any learning and experiences children may have had at home that parents feel will contribute to an holistic understanding of their child. These are placed on display to celebrate children’s achievements.
At the end of the year in Reception, staff are required to make a statutory assessment of children’s learning by assessing their attainment in relation to the 17 Early Learning Goals (ELG) descriptors and a description of the 3 characteristics of effective learning within the 17 learning aspects. Staff send children’s attainment against the 17 ELG’s to parents at the end of the year together with an expanded learning journey detailing the characteristics of effective learning in relation to the 17 aspects of learning.
Throughout the year, in addition to the learning journey being emailed home to parents every half term, parents are sent an EYFS assessment summary for their child during the Autumn and Summer term and a more detailed report in the Spring.
Staff meet with parents three times a year in formal parent meetings: twice in the Autumn term and once in the Spring term. Parents are invited in on a daily basis into Reception to support their children’s learning in the morning, giving parents an opportunity to liaise with staff every day.
Transition to Year 1
Staff in Reception meet regularly with the Y1 team to discuss the emotional, physical and specific learning needs of children through the year and in more depth during the transition period in the Summer term.
In the Summer term staff in Y1 meet children that they will be teaching from Reception so that children can become familiar with their new teacher and the learning environment.
Parents and Carers
Parents and carers are welcome into Reception on a daily basis and are asked to support their children with learning in the morning. These activities range from children writing their first name, their second name and then towards independently writing it. Later in the term other activities will be used to support speaking and listening, developing curiosity and an opportunity to consolidate and apply prior learning.
Parents and carers are invited to regular workshops through the year to continue the support parents can provide with learning at home. We deliver workshops on speaking and listening, phonics, reading, writing and maths.
Parents and carers are regularly invited to complete WOW forms to let staff know about any learning and experiences children may have had at home that parents feel will contribute to an holistic understanding of their child. These are placed on display to celebrate children’s achievements.
Parents and carers are aware that we offer universal free meals for all children in our Reception and KS1. Parents and carers are invited to join children intermittently through the year to share a meal with their child. Sandfield Close also have a team of Grandmothers that work alongside children at lunchtime, supporting them with their cutlery skills and giving them the further confidence they need to eat independently.
Parents and carers are invited to assemblies that their children are in. At Christmas, children in Reception and Year 1 visit the church to perform the nativity play. We ensure all children speak during the assembly, either individually, in pairs or communally through song as we place a lot of emphasis on developing language, speaking and listening.
Parents and carers are also invited to meet with the SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Lead if they are concerned about the learning needs of their child.