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.
Taking elements from outstanding Early Years leaders and practitioners, such as Anna Ephgrave, Alistair Bryce-Clegg and Greg Bottrill, our classroom and outside area have been developed to allow our children to develop into curious, active learners. Following a slightly different timetable to the rest of the school allows free flow play and lots of outside learning opportunities.
We focus on developing the Characteristics of Effective Learning (Revised EYFS) which are:
Playing and Exploring – investigate and explore, and ‘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
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 development. Inside is the ideal place for the children to engage in calm, quieter activities using resources that would not survive the outdoor elements. We have developed an outdoor environment that does not simply mirror the inside setting, but allows different opportunities for play.
In EYFS 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 at all times. Areas are clear, well stocked, tidy and often enhanced at the start of each day. 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. This means the children are able to choose from varied, high quality, open ended resources that they can combine to follow their own interests.
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 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.
Throughout their first year we encourage writing for a purpose. By having fluid areas and mark making resources available in all areas, writing opportunities are combined into many aspects 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, or make a card and write a message.
The children experience maths in almost all areas of the classroom and we ensure there is appropriate equipment in all areas to facilitate this and resources are freely available to the children.
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. Adults in Owl class teach through observing and interacting with the children. They know the children very well and have a good understanding of child development; they are trained to spot the teachable moments, when children are engaged. They observe the children carefully, join them in activities when appropriate and engage in quality interactions (teaching) to move their learning on. 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 follow a cycle of observation, assessment and planning using Development Matters, The National Strategy document and Learning, Playing and Interacting. We use topics to spark interests, in the moment planning and skills based planning responding to children’s interests.