Early Years Foundation Stage
Welcome to Early Years Foundation Stage at Randwick Primary School. Owl class has a smaller number of pupils than the other classes and is taught as a single year group giving pupils the best start possible, providing a personalised curriculum with a balance of structured play activities, both indoors and out, alongside the development of a strong grounding in reading, writing and maths. Experiential learning is a priority for us and there are many opportunities for the children to discover and follow their own interests and develop their strengths.
In the EYFS at Randwick we strive to:
Promote a love for learning through the provision of motivating, rich first-hand experiences indoors and outdoors, exploiting the wonderful natural environment on our doorstep.
Provide a vibrant learning environment with continuous indoor and outdoor provision that feeds children’s thirst for new experiences and knowledge, that engages their inquisitive minds and that supports the development of the three characteristics of effective learning:
playing and exploring -investigate and explore, ‘have a go’
active learning – concentrate and keep trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
creating and thinking critically -having and developing their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop their own strategies.
Provide high expectations encouraging children to develop perseverance and self-belief so that they can relish challenge, problem solve and communicate with others
Provide learning experiences that help children achieve their potential and support those who need additional help in order to maximise their chances of achieving the Early Learning Goals.
Provide opportunities for children to develop their sense of wellbeing and ability to regulate their emotions so that they feel confident in our community and are equipped with all the tools they need to continue their learning journey.
Create a holistic curriculum that evolves with the children’s interests and provides children with the essential skills, knowledge and learning behaviours that they need to transition to Year 1 effectively
Develop the skills and expertise of staff working in EYFS through regular and comprehensive professional development.
Our curriculum follows the Statutory Framework for the Early years Foundation Stage. We outline here the requirements for learning and development in the EYFS and provide the prime and specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. Through our knowledge of each child and formative assessments, the EYFS team plan exciting and engaging activities that move the children’s learning forward and ensure provision that leads to depth of learning across all areas of the curriculum. Our environment has been designed to support our children to be fully engaged in purposeful play of their own choice and interest, allowing for learning in all areas of the curriculum. The curriculum design centres around the children’s interests and enhancements are made to the environment to stimulate progression in skills, knowledge and understanding of the world. Each year creates its own unique blend of whole class, guided, adult directed play and child-initiated play activities dependant on the nature and needs of the cohort. Development is guided through warm, positive interactions coupled with secure routines. We look forward at the start of a year to see where the class will lead us.
We recognise the wealth of knowledge and skills children already have when they arrive. We have developed strong relationships with our feeder settings and work in close partnership with our parents and carers throughout the year to build upon this prior learning.
We provide a setting that is welcoming, safe and stimulating, where children are able to enjoy learning and grow in confidence. Children display the highest levels of involvement when they are pursuing their own interests in an environment that allows them to take risks and challenge themselves, supported by skilful staff. As the children initiate their own learning and the adults join them to support, scaffold and move their learning on. We provide free flow between inside and outside; all resources are available and accessible to the children and our outdoor area is open every day, all year round and in all weather conditions! The tables and carpet are free of equipment but the resources are available next to these areas; this allows the children to be in control of their learning and to choose from varied, high quality, open-ended resources that they can combine to follow their own interests. Adults in Reception class then teach through observing and interacting with the children. They know the children very well and have a good understanding of child development; knowing how to spot the teachable moments. We teach through modelling, suggesting, providing vocabulary or resources, explaining or encouraging. Each time an adult interacts with a child they are observing, assessing, planning for and responding to that individual child. We review and reflect on the learning environment and resources regularly to ensure deep learning is able to take place, that areas are proving productive resources and that we are meeting the changing needs of our children. If an area or resource is not engaging the children in purposeful play then we enhance the area or adapt the classroom.
The weekly timetables are carefully structured to allow time for children to follow their own ideas and interests but also to ensure that children have rigorous direct teaching in Phonics, Literacy and Mathematics every day. Both focused adult led group work and opportunities to engage with children in their play, enables teachers to 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.
Throughout their first year, we encourage writing for a purpose. By having mark making resources easily accessible and transferable to all areas, writing opportunities becomes part of the children’s play – when using the workshop outside they might draw what they would like to make and write a list of extra items they will use. In the construction area they might make a robot and label the controls. Shopping lists and cards are a staple in the role play area where food orders taken and birthdays celebrated. In order to stimulate enthusiasm for writing and to ensure good progression, this is coupled with our daily Drawing Club sessions which allows us to share the joy of drawing and writing, building on the children’s imagination and layers in ambitious vocabulary.
We follow the ‘White Rose Maths Mastery’ approach in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. We supplement this with whole class fluency sessions supported by ‘NCETM Mastering Number’. Pupils learn through regular opportunities to play with and explore maths resources in independent learning, through games and through teacher led whole class and small group activities using concrete manipulatives. These collaborative and practical mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts. Teaching mathematics in such a practical way supports our children to become logical problem solvers that can demonstrate resilience and justification when learning. This approach to teaching Maths ensures children gain progressive mathematical knowledge and skills as they continue their journey through KS1.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together. However, we also provide effective and focused intervention to support, enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential, to move on children who are having difficulties making progress or who are not on track to meet expectations at the end of the year. We work closely with our parents from an early stage to ensure that the children have every chance to achieve the Early Learning Goals.
Ongoing formative assessment is an integral part of our learning and helps us to shape teaching and learning experiences that engage children’s interests, inform next steps and support their development. We place significant value on time spent interacting and engaging with the children in our class and draw on our knowledge of each individual child alongside our professional expertise to help shape our judgements. Formal assessments are recorded using our whole school tracking system which allows us to assess the impact of our teaching and decide if intervention measures are needed to help specific children. This is reported to members of the SLT during pupil progress meetings. Ongoing dialogue between EYFS staff and Year 1 teachers regarding each child’s learning and development supports a smooth and successful transition to Key Stage 1.
As a school, we regularly monitor teaching and learning through lesson observations, learning walks, team teaching, constructive feedback and peer support. The Early Years lead receives and shares relevant training and keeps up to date with important Government/Ofsted focuses and initiatives and takes ideas from outstanding Early Years leaders and practitioners, such as Anna Ephgrave, Alistair Bryce-Clegg and Greg Bottrill. The EYFS lead is part of an EYFS cluster support network with other similar sized schools where a team of very strong EYFS teachers work together regularly to support and moderate. This focus on frequently moderating outcomes enables staff to feel confident in making accurate judgements about where individual pupils are and what their next steps should be.
Photos and regular communications are shared with parents using the online platform ‘Tapestry’ and in our termly parent Knowledge Organisers. This allows parents to engage with children regularly about their learning and to further support and enhance this at home.
The Reception team work with great passion to ensure that children are immersed in a kind, caring and happy environment which helps them develop the skills and knowledge needed in their journey through school and later life. It is a positive place to be where resilience, perseverance and successes are celebrated and every child feels valued and respected.
The impact of the EYFS curriculum is reflected in having well rounded, happy and confident children transitioning into Year 1.
We measure progress and children’s learning across the year through formative and summative assessment. We aim to exceed the National and Local Authority data for children achieving the expected level of development. The judgements of our school are moderated with other schools. This means judgements are secure and consistent with government guidelines.
The Early Years provision features in our School Development Plan and is rigorously reviewed each year. This is monitored and evaluated by the EYFS Lead, the Head Teacher and designated EYFS Link Governor.