EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage)
‘The quality of pupils’ academic and other achievements is excellent’. ISI inspection report 2019
At St Christopher’s we believe that children deserve the best possible start to their education. Our Early Years team strive to provide an environment where children feel safe, happy, supported and secure. We consider each child’s interests, wants and needs so that they are ready to learn and achieve well. We are committed to providing a quality Early Years education that is; creative, challenging, active and broad in order to develop a thirst and excitement for learning.
We believe that the Early Years are critical in children’s development and that the EYFS builds a firm basis for future learning, development and independence. Therefore we educate the whole child and promote independence, curiosity, respect and resilience.
WE AIM TO:
- Identify and value children’s strengths, interests and learning styles so that they develop confidence, respect, independence and high self-esteem.
- Develop and build solid relationships with our children and their families.
- Cultivate children’s attitudes to learning, self-motivation, inquisitiveness, self-confidence and
- Nurture and encourage children’s curiosity, reflectiveness, creativity and
- Develop children’s responsive thoughts and ideas, and value their work, conversations and feelings.
- Provide the highest quality learning experiences for all children. Learning that is exciting, creative, real, challenging; encouraging risk-taking and fun.
- Provide the highest quality teaching and learning that takes into account the interests of the children, their developmental and relating needs and allows them to make progress.
- Support children’s learning by providing them with first-hand learning experiences that are rooted in purposeful, resilient
- Support the children in making the transition from their first stage of education to the next with confidence.‘
‘Children in the EYFS make excellent progress from their starting points and typically leave the Reception year having fulfilled at least age-related expectations, with the minority of children exceeding these due to the effective teaching that they receive.’ ISI inspection report 2019
Foundation Stage Curriculum
In the Foundation Stage, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS). We support our children to become independent and collaborative learners by providing a range of activities and experiences. Through these experiences, we encourage children to take risks, discover and make links between their explorations. We also introduce and begin to embed our school values: Friendship, Kindness, Trust, Honesty, Happiness and Courage.
Within the EYFS there are seven areas of learning and development with all areas of learning and development important and inter-connected. The areas are split into prime and specific. The prime areas of learning are fundamental to children’s successful learning in specific areas and are vital as they lay the foundations for children’s success in all other areas of learning and life:
Prime areas of learning
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Personal, Social and Emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups, and to have confidence in their own abilities.
‘Principles and values are actively promoted which facilitate the personal development of pupils as responsible, tolerant, law-abiding citizens’ ISI inspection report 2019
Physical Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Communication and Language
Communication and Language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves, and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
The specific areas provide a range of experiences and opportunities for children to broaden their knowledge and skills:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Specific Areas of Learning
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Within the classroom, we encourage this with the use of Talk for Writing and daily stories. This is where the children are able to tell their own stories, which are scribed by an adult, and then perform them to the class.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures. We follow the CPA (Concrete, Practical and Abstract) approach in math’s, it is a highly effective approach to teaching that develops a deep and sustainable understanding of math’s in pupils. This is approach is continued throughout the school.
Understanding of the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. ‘Outdoor Learning’ occurs every day which helps the children learn through what they do, through what they encounter and through what they discover.
Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
Children’s learning is recorded in a learning journal. This journal shows examples of photographs, written observation, examples of mark-making, the child and parent’s voice and next steps for learning.
We encourage parents to add their own ’magical’ moment comments and observations of their children at home too. We regularly share them with other professionals during internal and external moderation.
In the Early Years, Foundation Stage children learn through play, exploration and practical activities which help them to make sense of their world. The Learning Journey documents your child’s learning and development throughout their Nursery and Reception year at school and is made up of the information, observations and photographs that we gather for each child. All of this information helps us to assess the children’s learning and development and plan appropriately for each child as they work towards achieving the Early Learning Goals by the end of Reception. We also warmly welcome contributions from parents and other family members, as this really helps to build a picture of the whole child from more than one perspective. Traditionally, these individual records have been collected in scrapbooks or binders, building up into a memoir that children can take with them when they leave for the next stages of their journey through life.
At St Christopher’s we are always assessing our practice and looking at how we can improve. We have reviewed the learning journeys that were used in the past and have decided to collect children’s work in a ‘lever arch file’. These files shall be stored in your child’s classroom, where children will take ownership of their file and use it daily to look through their learning, file their own work and show their achievements to their friends and other staff. You too shall have an opportunity to come along and see your child’s learning journey during timetabled slots each half term.
We love to hear about learning and ‘magical moments’ from home to share with your child in school. Please do click below to download your own copies, fill them in and send them into school. We would be delighted to read all the magical things your child can do!
NOTE: Parents are only able to view their own child’s journal. However, because children play in close proximity with their friends it does not reflect a true picture of their time at school if photographs are only of a single child. Therefore, photographs of your child may appear on their friends learning journeys.
Special visits, family and friends
We enjoy welcoming guests and visitors from the local community into our classroom to make our learning more exciting and real. We love them to help us with creative projects, school trips, to watch our infant nativity, parent learning sessions and parent teaching assemblies, to listen to us read or to just play games with us.
We work closely with parents and this is encouraged from before our children start at St Christopher’s Nursery. We have many transition events open to families which enable us to get to know our families really well.
We encourage parents to come into school through transition meetings, school lunches, teddy bears picnic and open afternoons. Parents are always welcome to make individual appointments with the class teachers after school. Also, we welcome parents to come into class and share their skills and time with us.
At St Christopher’s we strive to cater to the individual needs and interests of our children. Children may choose from a wide and varied selection of activities:
- Creating imaginative games in the role play
- Sharing stories and books together in the book camp.
- Using a variety of construction toys to create interesting models and structures both inside and outside
- Choose their own mark-making tools and media to develop early writing and drawing skills
- Get messy with sensory play such as snow, gloop and shaving foam
- Making delicious creations in our mud kitchen
- Paint, print and explore colour, shape, pattern and texture
- Get creative with dough, collage materials and junk modelling.
- Interactive learning on the whiteboard, iPads and laptops
- Explore and investigate sand and water
- Build dens and structures with loose parts outside
- Make roads and ride the trikes and scooters on the infant’s playground
- Climb the frame, walk across the bridge and slide down the fireman’s pole
We have large outdoor grounds and children are encouraged to learn through investigating their environment, building confidence, resilience and independence. We provide children with waterproof clothing so that they can get active and dirty and encourage children to bring in their own wellies so that we can use the outside space all year round.
Additionally, we teach our children about the importance of a healthy diet, keeping fit and being clean. We have a snack during the day and children are welcome to have a piece of fruit in the morning. Children bring in their own water bottles which are kept in the classroom and are accessible throughout the day.
Academic year 2020-2021
Children in Nursery and Reception are provided with a stimulating learning environment, which encourages learning through play – a fundamental part of early learning. The school uses the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum to plan learning opportunities in all the 7 areas of learning and development. Below is our curriculum for the new academic year.
Throughout the year we hold Open Days for parents. Parents visit the classrooms and find out more about the learning which takes place.
Here is some of the valuable feedback we have received:
“Very positive – good to see the children being engaged and involved in carpet time”
“It was a useful insight into my son’s routine at school. It was really nice to be able to look at his workbooks and see how he has been progressing in class.”
“Overall I found it to be a very positive and enjoyable experience, which helped me to put my son’s learning into context.”
“I really appreciated the invitation to observe what my daughter has been learning.”
“It gives me perspective of what she is learning and allows me to continue the learning process at home.”
“We especially appreciate that the teachers challenge my daughter in her literacy and numeracy skills.”
“Nice to see all the children interested and participating in all activities”
“Today I found the open morning very eye-opening and helpful, was great to see how far she has come since September”