Early Years Foundation Stage
At St Mark’s CE Primary School, our school motto, ‘Together in God’s love, we will shine.’ flows through everything that we do and is underpinned by our values of: Understanding, honesty, perseverance, kindness, respect and love.
When our youngest children become part of our school community, our curriculum is designed to recognise that the children's prior learning from previous settings and from home, provide first hand learning experiences. Every child is recognised as a unique individual, and we celebrate and welcome diversity within our school community.
The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. We provide enhancement opportunities to engage learning and believe that our first experiences of school should be happy and positive, enabling us to develop a lifelong love of learning.
Throughout their time in EYFS, the children develop a sense of belonging to our school community, ready for transition into year 1 the following academic year. They have the confidence and skills to make decisions and self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners.
- To work in partnership with parents and carers to encourage independent, happy learners who thrive in school and reach their full potential from their various starting points.
- To understand and follow children’s interests and provide opportunities throughout our EYFS curriculum to support learning, consolidate and deepen knowledge and ensure children meet their next steps.
- To create an indoor and outdoor environment which supports and extends learning.
- To prepare children to achieve a Good Level of Development (GLD) and the Early Learning goals at the end of the Foundation Stage and ensure children make at least good progress from their starting points.
- To support transition into KS1.
Throughout EYFS at St Mark's, we follow the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. This framework specifies the requirement for learning and development in the Early Years and provides prime and specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. We have a curriculum that is child-centred and that is based on projects which engage the children and are key foundations to be built on in the future. We encourage active learning to ensure the children are motivated and interested. We take time to get to know children’s interests and their likes to support learning. All areas of the EYFS curriculum are followed and planned for to ensure there is a broad, balanced and progressive learning environment and curriculum. The children will learn new skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate understanding through the seven areas of the EYFS curriculum.
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
- Communication and Language
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
These 7 areas are used to plan children’s learning and activities. Planning for this curriculum is designed to be flexible so that children’s unique interests are supported. During each week, the children will work with an adult to complete 1:1 reading sessions and group guided reading sessions, as well as an adult led literacy task, an adult led maths task and a range of child initiated tasks through both the indoor and outdoor provision. As the children move through Reception, there are also planned weekly ‘Challenges’, which the children are encouraged to engage in during their Continuous Provision. A vital aspect in the development of essential knowledge and skills is the use of Continuous Provision. This means that children are using and developing taught skills throughout the year on a daily basis. During the school day, children will have an opportunity to work independently, work collaboratively with their friends and with members of staff. Daily guided activities are also planned to cover different areas of the EYFS curriculum and allow children to develop their next steps in learning. Through observation and discussion, areas of need and next steps are identified for all children to ensure good progress is made.
There are also a range of stimulating and engaging activities which the children can access independently and a variety of opportunities for child-initiated play. In planning and guiding children’s activities we reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in our practise. Staff in the EYFS are skilled at making observations that are then discussed and fed into planning, adult interaction and the learning environment. We will include interventions for groups or individuals if and when necessary. Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. Our outdoor areas are used all year round and in all weather conditions. We ensure activities support the Characteristics of Effective Learning to ensure learning takes place.
- Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things, and have a go;
- Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements;
- Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.
Our Reception children are very much a part of our whole school community: playing in the playground; attending church and assemblies; performing in a Nativity with KS1 and participating in trips when possible. They also enjoy visits from a range of different people to support our wider curriculum. We provide regular opportunities for parents and carers to come into school and share their work and celebrate successes.
We keep parents informed and we operate an ‘open door’ policy to ensure children’s transition into school and throughout their Reception year is happy and allows them to reach their potential with the support needed. This includes transition days, home visits, stay and play sessions, parent workshops, Learning Journals, reports and parent consultations as well as more frequent informal communication to suit individual families. We also support the transition into Key Stage 1 for both child and parents. We prepare children for Year 1 with visits to their new class, meeting the teacher and ensuring the environments are similar at the end of EYFS and the start of Year 1.
We strive to ensure that our children’s progress across the EYFS curriculum is good from their varied starting points. We also strive for children to achieve a Good Level of Development and many of the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception, and to be as close as possible to National Expectations. Evidence in children’s Learning Journals and staff knowledge of the children support all areas of the EYFS curriculum. The impact of our curriculum is measured by assessment procedures which allow us to measure outcomes against all schools nationally. We measure the percentage of pupils achieving age related expectations and that are on track for GLD throughout the academic year and put supportive interventions in place if and when needed. Class teachers use observations to make formative assessments which inform future planning and ensure that all children build on their current knowledge and skills at a good pace. This is regularly tracked to ensure rates of progress are at least good for all children, including vulnerable groups such as those with SEND, EAL, disadvantaged or summer born children. Our assessment judgements have been moderated both in school and externally with local schools and others in our trust. We also partake in local authority moderation which has validated our judgments.