St Joseph’s and St Gregory’s Catholic Primary school teaches the statutory requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Staff at St Joseph’s and St Gregory’s Catholic Primary school are responsible for providing a curriculum that is broad, balanced, flexible, stimulating, relevant, inclusive and well planned. They endeavour to provide a curriculum matched to individual need, providing the context for in-depth learning. Our vision is that every child who leaves us knows they have a definite service to do; are not afraid to follow God’s call in their lives; through education discovers their unique vocation and, in discovering that, find fulfilment in life. Our curriculum is designed to reflect the rich cultural diversity of our community, enrich and broaden the experiences of our children and ensure access to a balance of high-quality knowledge and skills. Our curriculum is driven and underpinned by Our Catholic Faith and Virtue Teaching, Developing Autonomy in our Children, Enhancing Experiences for our children, Offering a Language Rich Environment and Inclusion for All.
Statement of Intent
At St Joseph’s and St Gregory’s Catholic Primary school, the EYFS curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning from previous settings and their experiences at home, provide rich and engaging first hand learning experiences, in which children are willing partners in their own learning. This allows the children to build resilience, ambition and integrity.
Every child is recognised as a unique individual and we celebrate and welcome differences within our school community. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. We have adopted the key concepts of the Curiosity approach to provide an environment with authentic resources and loose parts that inspire children with open-ended learning opportunities. We provide a nurturing approach, using the expertise of trained staff to support children to be settled, safe, valued and ready to learn; making sure their physical and emotional needs are met We provide enhancement opportunities to engage in learning through an enriched environment which stimulates our children’s curiosity. We believe that our first experiences of school should be happy and positive, enabling us to develop a lifelong love of learning.
The progress of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. Their communication and language development involves opportunities to experience a rich language environment through quality conversations with adults and peers; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
We aim to be fully inclusive and all children are expected to consider the needs of others. We respect all families and aim to develop a positive two-way relationship.
Throughout their time in EYFS, the children develop a sense of belonging to our school community and our wider Parish family, ready to transition to year 1 the following academic year. They have the confidence and skills to make decisions and self-evaluate, make connections, skilfully communicate and become lifelong learners.
Principles of Teaching and Learning at St Joseph’s and St Gregory’s
Our EYFS has been designed 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.
- 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.
- create an indoor and outdoor environment which supports learning.
- prepare children to reach the Early Learning goals at the end of the Foundation Stage and ensure children make at least good progress from their starting points.
- support transition into KS1.
Statement of Implementation
Throughout EYFS, 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.
Children enter our school with varied life experiences and our aim is to plan teaching and learning opportunities which are child-centred and based upon experiences and topics that engage the children. This supports our children to meet their full potential. 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 a child’s unique interests are supported.
During the school day, children will have opportunities to receive whole class teacher led learning, work independently through child led learning, work collaboratively with their friends and members of staff in adult initiated learning. In Foundation Stage 1 (FS1), this will include two teaching inputs a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. In Foundation Stage 2 (FS2), this will include three teaching inputs a day: phonics, maths and a RE or book based one. Daily guided activities are also planned to cover different areas of the EYFS curriculum and allow children to develop their next steps in learning.
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. Continuous provision practise and principles begin in EYFS and support children to develop key life skills such as independence, innovation, creativity, enquiry, analysis and problem solving. We realise the importance of the environment in enabling this continuous provision, therefore as the needs of children change, so does the environment. Children are encouraged to follow their own ideas with real, natural resources and loose parts. Skilled practitioners use a blend of teaching and scaffolding to encourage children to broaden, stretch and embed their learning. Children are supported to question, explore, experiment, develop hypotheses and test ideas, and reflect on their learning. We are passionate about inspiring our children to be the ‘thinkers and doers’ of the future. This brings curiosity, awe and wonder into early childhood.
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 embed these in our practise. Staff in the EYFS make regular observations of the children’s learning using Evidence Me to record WOW moments (these are moments when a child says or does something that demonstrates progress or skill in a particular area of learning).
We regularly assess where the children are, using ‘Development Matters’ and then ensure our planning, adult interaction and learning environment; including continuous provision, support children to reach their next steps. With a focus on speech and language we also assess our children’s communication and language development through NELI (Nuffield Early Language Intervention). We will include interventions for groups or individuals if and when necessary to accelerate progress.
Children who need adaptive provision will be assessed through the graduated response; assess, plan, do, review and may need adapted provision additional to and different from their peers. This could include support for your child in any of the following areas of the SEND Code of Practice:
- Communication and Interaction
- Cognition and Learning
- Social, Emotional and Mental Health
- Sensory and/or physical needs
External agencies may be involved as your child’s needs are assessed and better understood. You would be supported through this process by the staff and the school SENDCO.
Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outdoors. Our outdoor areas are used all year round and in most weather conditions.
We ensure activities support the Characteristics of Effective Learning so that learning takes place. These are:
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.
We have a dedicated time focusing on health and self-care. We share a range of healthy snacks and learn about the importance of a healthy balanced lifestyle to maintain our own wellbeing.
To support our wider curriculum, we provide regular opportunities for parents and carers to come into school and work with their child, share their work and celebrate successes. We keep parents informed and we meet regularly with them to ensure children’s transition into school and through the EYFS is happy and allows them to reach their potential with the support needed. This includes transition days, nursery or home visits (where requested), stay and play sessions, parent workshops, celebrations, 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.
Statement of Impact
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 reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception and to be at least in line with National Expectations. Evidence in FS2 children’s learning journals support all areas of the EYFS curriculum, while in FS1 all areas are recorded on Evidence Me.
The impact of our curriculum is measured by assessment procedures. We measure the percentage of pupils achieving age related expectations throughout the academic year, 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. Summative assessment compares children attainment to age related expectations using month bands in Development Matters. This is tracked using Insight to ensure progress is monitored, including vulnerable groups such as those with SEND, disadvantaged or summer born children. Our assessment judgements have been moderated both in school and externally with local schools and others in our trust.
The impact of our curriculum will also be measured by how effectively it helps our pupils develop into well rounded individuals who embody our values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable future citizens. We endeavour for pupils to be Key Stage 1 ready and have our school values embedded by the time they leave FS2, preparing them for their future.
Our School Pedagogy in the EYFS Setting
What this looks like in our EYFS Setting
Within direct teaching, children revisit previous learning through quick retrieval activities. In enhanced and continuous provision, children encounter previous learning and are encouraged by staff to use this learning during independent inquiry. More explicitly, ‘Pinny Time’ is used throughout the day to recall known sounds, words and number work.
New learning is challenging, our children rise to the occasion. When new learning is introduced, this is done in small manageable chunks through direct teaching and enhanced provision. Children are taught strategies to assist with retaining new information. New learning is revisited through planned daily, weekly and monthly review.
Questioning is planned for direct teaching and enhanced provision. There is a no opt out culture in classrooms. Questioning is used to deepen understanding, and address misconceptions. Children understand there is high challenge through questioning, however classrooms are low threat zones, where children are happy to ‘have-a-go’, knowing teachers are there to support their progress. In continuous provision, children are targeted with questions related to their next steps for learning and interests.
Teachers model use of academic and curriculum language throughout all learning opportunities. New vocabulary is introduced daily, with definitions, actions and rhymes to assist children’s understanding. Sentence stems are used throughout the setting, so children both hear and practice good language structures. No half answers are accepted, however this closely relates to the age and stage of individual children. Children communicate in full sentences where they can, and where this is more challenging, modelled language is shared with the children.
Every learning opportunity has an element of ‘Talk’. Talk enables children to practice and discuss their learning. By talking with a peer or practitioner, children can happily make mistakes and take risks, knowing support will be given when and if needed. All adults model this ‘Talk’, making clear steps to success, so children feel confident with their learning, and can then transfer skills to independent learning opportunities at a later stage.
A range of strategies are used to establish student understanding. This is done to make sure children make or exceed expected progress. Within learning opportunities children are questioned to clarify their understanding, misconceptions are picked up and addressed immediately through feedback or planned into the next sequence of provision.
New and challenging tasks are modelled, with clear scaffolds available to children. This enables independent learning, with high chance of success. Scaffolding is reduced as new learning becomes more familiar to children. Scaffolding is provided to give children understanding of how we learn- metacognition. Children with additional needs have learning appropriately scaffolded for them, learning is therefore inclusive.
The provision in our setting enables daily independent learning. Through independent enquiry, children will embed their understanding of the skills and knowledge taught. Independent learning is closely linked to guided-student practice. This gives children the confidence needed to happily work on their own and meet the high standards of challenge set.
Regular low stakes assessments are made of the children. These are planned, so that they are part of a sequence of learning and enable success. Spaced repetition of learning is part of review- this comes in the form of Maths Meetings (where previous learning is revisited) and similar activities across other curriculum areas.