Our Early Years Intent is
- To provide a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment which supports the growth of confidence, an enthusiasm for learning and respect for themselves and others.
- To provide an excellent and enjoyable education where each child is valued and enabled to achieve their personal best.
- To value and develop a close partnership with families to facilitate close links in children’s learning and wellbeing between home and school.
At Silverdale Primary Academy we aim to provide the highest quality care and education for all our children, thereby giving them a strong foundation for their future learning. We create a safe, stimulating, challenging and happy environment with motivating and enjoyable learning experiences that enable children to become confident and independent learners. We value the individual child and work alongside parents and others to meet their needs and help every child to reach their full potential.
As outlined in the EYFS ‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child's experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances.’
We adhere to the Statutory Framework of the EYFS and the four guiding principles that shape practice within Early Years settings.
- Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
- Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers
- Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates
Principles into practice
As part of our practice we:
- Provide a balanced curriculum, based on the EYFS, across the seven areas of learning, using play and interaction as the vehicle for learning.
- Promote equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice. We provide early intervention for those children who require additional support.
- Work in partnership with parents/carers and other professionals within the wider context.
- Plan challenging learning experiences, based on the individual child, informed by observation and assessment.
- Provide opportunities for children to engage in activities that are adult-initiated and child-initiated, supported by the adult.
- Provide a secure and safe learning environment indoors and out.
Foundation Stage Curriculum
We plan an exciting and challenging curriculum based on our observation of children’s needs, interests, and stages of development across the seven areas of learning to enable the children to achieve and exceed the early learning goals.
All the seven areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.
Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
These three areas are the prime areas:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Children are also supported through the four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
The specific areas are:
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
We create a stimulating environment to encourage children to free-flow between inside and out.
Children are provided with a range of rich, meaningful first-hand experiences in which children explore, think creatively and are active. We aim to develop and foster positive attitudes towards learning, confidence, communication and physical development.
Our long-term plans ensure curriculum coverage through a series of exciting and engaging topics that interest and motivate our children. Our topics in Nursery and Reception offers experiences in all seven areas and build upon a progression of knowledge and skills. Together with age-related expectations we tailor our curriculum to our children’s needs and interests. These plans then inform our short-term weekly planning, alongside our observations, which remains flexible for unplanned circumstances or children’s responses.
Practitioners working with the Foxfield 1 learners focus primarily on the three prime areas, which support successful learning in the other four specific areas. The three prime areas reflect the key skills and capacities all children need to develop and learn effectively and become ready for school.
The curriculum is delivered using a play-based approach as outlined by the EYFS. Each area of learning and development must be implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities.
We plan a balance between children having time and space to engage in their own child-initiated activities and those that are planned by the adults.
Our definition of child initiated learning follows:
“Learners access continuous provision independently to lead their own learning, developing their own interests. As practitioners we follow children’s interests, enhancing provision following our observations of their learning and use timely intervention to develop knowledge, skills and critical thinking, allowing children to master key skills and become autonomous learners.”
During children’s play, early years practitioners interact sensitively to stretch and challenge children’s thinking and development further. Children have whole group and small group times which increase as they progress through the EYFS with times for a daily phonics session using ‘Read Write Inc’, teaching aspects of Mathematics and Literacy, including shared writing and early guided reading.
In planning and guiding children's activities, we reflect as practitioners on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in our practice.
Observation and Assessment
As part of our daily practice, we observe and assess children’s development and learning to inform our future. We record our observations on iPads and use Class Dojo to create online profiles for each child. We also collect creative evidence and record any writing/mark making in learning journeys. All Early Years staff are encouraged to contribute to observations for all children and discussions take place about learning that takes place. Profiles are shared with parents and parents are encouraged to make comments and add their own observations from home. Parents are invited to consultation meetings during the year and a formal report is given detailing whether age-related expectations have been met. As an Early Years team, we meet regularly to discuss each child’s progress and target group or individual intervention to support their needs.
Within the final term of the Reception, we provide the parents with a report based on their child's development against each of the Early Learning Goals and the characteristics of their learning. The parents are then given the opportunity to discuss these judgements with the Reception and Year 1 teachers in preparation for Year 1.
Children’s safety and welfare is paramount. We create a safe and secure environment and provide a curriculum which teaches children how to be safe, make choices and assess risks. We have stringent policies, procedures and documents in place to ensure children’s safety. We perform daily risk assessments of all environments. We promote the good health of the children in our care in numerous ways, including regular hand washing, the provision of nutritious food, following set procedures when children become ill or have an accident.
We value all our children as individuals at Silverdale Primary Academy, irrespective of their ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, background, ability or gender. We plan a curriculum that meet the needs of the individual child and support them at their own pace so that most of our children achieve and even exceed the Early Learning Goals. We strongly believe that early identification of children with additional needs is crucial in enabling us to give the child the support that they need and in doing so, work closely with parents and outside agencies.
Parents as Partners and the Wider context
We strive to create and maintain partnership with parents and carers as we recognise that together, we can have a significant impact on a child’s learning. We welcome and actively encourage parents to participate confidently in their child’s education and care in numerous ways: contributing to their child’s profile, completing weekly challenges at home that reflect learning in our classroom, coming in for various EY performances, parent workshops including phonics and parents’ consultations. Working with outside agencies is integral to our practice in order to meet the needs of our children. At times we may need to share information with other professionals to provide the best support possible. We draw on our links with the community to enrich children’s experiences by taking them on outings and inviting members of the community into our setting.
Induction and Transition
Transitions are carefully planned for and time given to ensure continuity of learning. At any transition, we acknowledge the child’s needs and establish effective partnerships with those involved with the child and other settings, including other nurseries. Children attend introductory sessions to Nursery and transition sessions to Reception to develop familiarity with the setting and practitioners. We have bespoke transitions for children with additional needs and work closely with all previous settings/professionals. They receive a booklet containing photos and complete an ‘All about me’ book. Parents and carers receive welcome packs which contain all relevant forms and policies for induction. They attend a meet and greet session where they get to meet staff and see out stimulating environments. We use a staggered start model when children begin school so that they can be given individual attention so that they feel safe and happy in their new environment. In the final term in Reception, the Year 1 teacher will meet with the Early Years staff to moderate and discuss each child's development against the Early Learning Goals, in order to support a smooth transition to Year 1. This discussion helps the Year 1 teacher to plan an effective, responsive and appropriate curriculum that will meet the needs of all children.
The impact of the EYFS curriculum is reflected in having well rounded, happy and confident children transitioning into Year One.
We measure progress and children’s learning across the year through formative and summative assessments which are based on the teacher’s knowledge of the child, their learning journeys, photographs and videos. We aim to match the National and Local Authority data for children achieving a Good Level of Development.
The judgments of our school are moderated with other schools in our United Learning trust. The EY leads from our Trust schools work together across the year to support collaboration and best practice.
When children leave Reception, not only are they Year One ready, but well-rounded individuals with positive attitudes towards learning and future life.