At Greengates Primary Academy, we provide a secure and stimulating environment, where our children are nurtured into becoming happy and confident members of our academy. Children in Nursery and Reception access the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. They engage in learning through first-hand experiences that foster investigation and enquiry. The Early Years curriculum is made up of 7 areas of learning: 3 prime and 4 specific.
The prime areas of the EYFS are: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
PSED is vital in the Foundation Stage. Through everyday learning, we support the children in making strong relationships with their peers and familiar adults and encourage them to become confident and independent young people. At all times, adults support and model appropriate behaviour to promote positive relationships within the classroom; this is reinforced during circle times and small group activities. The children are encouraged to recognise and celebrate personal achievements, however small, and those of their peers. Children also have weekly Jigsaw sessions. Jigsaw brings together PSHE Education, compulsory Relationships and Health Education, emotional literacy, mindfulness, social skills and spiritual development. There are six Puzzles (half-term units of work) and all lessons are delivered in an age- and stage-appropriate way so that they meet children’s needs.
Communication and Language (C&L)
We provide a language rich environment, which gives opportunities for children to experience new and imaginative vocabulary. We plan specific activities to upscale the children’s vocabulary which is illustrated through our Talk for Writing, book sharing, role-play, childinitiated activities and when using the outdoor area. To further deepen the understanding of children’s learning, staff in the Foundation Stage are encouraged to use questioning to allow children to talk about their experiences. The use of questioning also encourages children to use a wider range of vocabulary to form longer, more complex sentences.
Physical Development (PD)
Physical Development is a fundamentally important skill which underpins all aspects of children’s early experiences. If children learn to move with control and coordination; to balance and climb; to move with agility and self-expression they are likely to be more successful learners throughout their school lives. Children in Reception have a weekly PE session in the hall and opportunities to work with our Dance teachers throughout the year.
The specific areas of the EYFS are: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
As soon as children join Nursery, we begin to develop their prephonics skills using the Launchpad for Literacy approach. This approach develops the skills that children need to be successful in phonics and reading. For example, auditory and visual discrimination are key skills that children will need to be able to hear and read letters and sounds as they progress through school. Children are introduced to letters from Summer 2.
In Reception we have daily phonics sessions using the ELS programme. We use a revisit, learn, practise, and apply new learning structure to embed learning. We also use daily 1:1 intervention to support children who need further support.
Mark making is the first step towards successful early writing. Children are encouraged to use a variety of different writing materials on a variety of scales. This can range from writing on post-it notes to using brushes and water to create gigantic marks on the playground. The importance of this mark making practise is to embed fluent movement which will eventually lead to forming recognisable letters. In addition to this daily practise, the children participate in Talk for Writing and purposeful writing in each learning environment.
By the end of the Foundation Stage, many children can write short, simple sentences independently and read simple words and sentences.
Early maths is taught through games, songs, and exploration. In Nursery we concentrate on the language of maths through childinitiated play, simple challenges, questioning and stories. In addition, we deliver a daily maths session to consolidate and extend learning concepts.
In Reception, we build on the children’s early experiences through a mastery approach to maths, which encourages children to use manipulative resources, like cubes and counters, to solve a range of problems. We ensure that children are fluent with counting, ordering, adding and subtracting, doubling, halving and sharing. Children explore 2D and 3D shapes, measuring equipment and start to use the language for a range of mathematical concepts like time and money. We also challenge children to use their reasoning and problem-solving skills.
Understanding the World (UtW)
Children are encouraged to be curious, explore natural materials, learn about living things and compare different places. Our topics are chosen carefully to exploit the children’s own experiences which are vast and varied. Children also learn about people and communities; how they are different, or similar, to their friends and they learn about and celebrate other cultures.
Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)
EAD is a fundamental area to develop in Early Years as it gives the children the foundations to underpin their own identity and enables them to develop self-expression and self-confidence. Children are given the opportunity to use their skills imaginatively in Expressive Arts and Design. They are given the opportunity to explore and use media and materials such as paint, clay and construction equipment. Children are also encouraged to be imaginative in areas such as role play, art and dance.
Children in the Foundation Stage engage in high quality learning experiences both indoors and outdoors. Nursery and Reception run as a Foundation Unit meaning that children have the opportunity to engage in activities across both classrooms, but do have separate teaching sessions. As we work together very closely, this provides fantastic transition for our Nursery children when they join Reception in September.
Assessment in EYFS
Establishing warm, trusting and responsive relationships with young children is at the heart of our early years practice. The main role of the adult is to develop children’s learning through high-quality interactions. During the first 3 weeks of the Autumn Term, teachers will make a baseline assessment to record the skills of each child on entry to school. After this, teachers will use individual and group assessments, in order to develop and implement necessary provisions. The statutory Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is also carried out for Reception children within the first 6 weeks.
Children’s WOW moments are shared via Tapestry, our online learning journey. We strongly encourage families to add their own images/observations from home in order to build a holistic view of children’s learning and development. Throughout school we also use Class Dojo as a method of communication.
Transition to Year 1
Transition to Year 1 from EYFS is an important phase of education. We have planned our curriculum to ensure that we have linked the learning and there is progression between the phases.