Within the Early Years, our curriculum is designed to provide all children with the opportunities and experiences that they need in order to develop positive dispositions and attitudes to be able to succeed as learners and in life. We consider the challenging backgrounds that many of our pupils come from and, as a result, within FS1 planned learning opportunities are heavily weighted around Personal, Social and Emotional Development and upon developing pupils’ ability to acquire a wide vocabulary, communicate effectively and interact positively. Once these foundations to learning are embedded then other areas will be focused upon. We aim to foster excellent attitudes to learning by providing effective and timely adult interactions to ensure that learning is instantly captured and enhanced. All staff have high expectations and the enhancement of skills for learning is achieved through a well-resourced, stimulating environment that allows children to repeat and consolidate their own learning. Children are encouraged to take an active part in their learning journeys and become independent learners. We foster a love of learning by ensuring that we capture and learn through the children’s interests as much as possible. Every opportunity is a learning opportunity! The aim within FS2 is to ensure that children are ready for the next phase of school life and we focus in particular in ensuring that all have developed a sound base of early reading skills and phonics.
We have a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give our children, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge, self-belief and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. It is coherently planned and sequenced, building on what children know and can do, towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for their future learning. There is a sharp focus on ensuring that children acquire a wide vocabulary, communicate effectively and, in Reception, secure a knowledge of phonics, which gives them the foundations for future learning, especially in preparation for them to become confident and fluent readers. Our approach to teaching early reading and synthetic phonics is systematic and ensures that all children learn to read words and simple sentences accurately by the end of Reception.
High quality teaching and learning is based on a team planning approach centred around common interests and adapted according to children’s individual needs. Staff are knowledgeable about the areas of learning they teach and are expert in the teaching of phonics (RWI Programme) as a result of our whole school focus and commitment to the fidelity to the programme and extensive training programme that all teachers in Y1 and EYFS have access to. Staff generate an enthusiasm for reading and a love of books whilst effectively teaching new ideas, concepts and vocabulary. Parents are involved and engaged in supporting their child to learn to read through parent workshops, information leaflets and sessions where parents are invited to come in and read with their child. A comprehensive mathematics curriculum is taught and then embedded through the wider curriculum. Children have access to a high-quality learning environment covering all the required areas of learning. All children, including those who are at the early stages of learning English as an additional language are able to participate equally. Staff are skilled at asking questions that encourage children to think more deeply about their learning, to extend their use of language across the curriculum and to make connections in order to embed new learning. Regular opportunities are planned to reinforce new learning and for staff to check understanding. Assessments are relevant and purposeful, leading to improved outcomes for children. All pupils’ basic needs are met through the provision of a safe, stimulating and secure environment and staff regularly reinforce messages about how to stay safe and healthy and to ensure that their friends do too. Currently, in the planning of our EYFS curriculum, we are exploring further the effective use of all outside areas and have invested in outdoor resources in order to implement this effectively. We hope this will enable our children to learn how to take managed risks and challenges and to develop their levels of activity.
By the end of the Foundation Stage, the vast majority of children read accurately and are starting to develop fluency in their reading. Their vocabulary and understanding of language are good. Children enjoy their learning and the majority participate eagerly and enthusiastically. They are beginning to manage their own feelings and behaviour, and understand how these have an impact on others. As a result of the creative, stimulating environment we provide, by the end of the Foundation Stage children flourish and develop into confident, motivated and independent learners, who understand right from wrong and are ready for the next stage of their education.