The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children in Nursery and Reception. At Barwic Parade, children can start Nursery the term after their 3rd birthday and Reception at the start of the school year in which they are 5 years old. The EYFS is crucial in every child’s development and during those years basic skills and attitudes to learning and socialising are established.
"Children in the Early Years make good progress because teaching is good and the activities provided are engaging. Children behave well and parents are encouraged to be part of their child’s learning’.
Ofsted Report May 2014
At Barwic Parade our children's wellbeing is at the heart of our Early Years ethos. We recognise and embrace that every child is individual and unique, striving to ensure that children settle in to school life as rapidly and smoothly as possible. The enabling indoor and outdoor environments within our setting are continually reviewed, adapted and enhanced to suit our children's interests and next steps. Embracing children's naturally inquisitive natures, we encourage positive attitudes to maximise learning potential, through a balance of of adult-led and child-initiated play opportunities, based on prior experiences and interests of our children. We value independent learning and creative thinking, while at the same time setting ambitious attainment targets and making behavioural expectations clear and consistent. We aim to support children with special educational needs and to develop a working partnership between home and school for all to enable every child to develop in confidence and increasing independence.
Learning takes place from the minute we come through the door. Every interaction is a learning opportunity and every moment counts. We have lots of fun and magical learning through meaningful play and experiences. Recognising the importance of children’s mental health, wellbeing and physical development, we dedicate as much time as possible outdoors and learning through play. These blocked magic time (freeflow) sessions every morning and afternoon ensure that our children have ample opportunity to engage and immerse themselves fully in their exploratory play, using and applying their new knowledge in order for learning to stick. We enhance our provision and plan activities on offer in line with current learning, as well as children's own interests.
In Reception our curriculum is bespoke and unique to each cohort in our diverse local community. We offer a broad and balanced, yet ambitious curriculum that meets the specific needs of our children through a holistic, child-centred approach. All the experiences and opportunities that we offer are specifically designed to provide our children with the knowledge and skills they will need by the end of their year in Reception and to best prepare them for the transition into Key Stage 1. This is done through systematic whole class interactive key skills sessions; small group interactive activities and child-led sessions. We recognise that children of Reception age need as much fresh air and movement as possible to support their learning and retention. At Barwic Parade Reception Class we embrace nature; the ever- changing weather; seasons; natural resources and show respect for all living things. We are proud to be an authentic, all-weather setting with our own beautiful forest area right on the doorstep!
We carefully design our curriculum each year so that it offers exciting and inspiring hands-on opportunities for our current cohort of children to learn the knowledge they need in Reception across all 17 areas of learming; opportunities to revisit these over the year and make important connections and links and develop key skills. Although we have overarching themes, these are not rigid and we will follow children's interests as and when they arise, making learning fluid and having connections wherever possible. We make sure that include personal cultures, celebrations and geographical links within our cohort, in addition to the festivals, historical events and celebrations that happen every year.
We aim to:
Our broad and balanced curriculum follows the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. This document specifies the requirements for learning and development in the EYFS and provides the prime and specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. Through our knowledge of each child and formative assessments, the EYFS team plan exciting and engaging activities that will move the children’s learning forward. This may involve following a class theme where we take advantage of cross curricular links in order to combine transferable skills and develop a wide-ranging vocabulary which underpins the children’s learning. This may sometimes be a national theme or whole school theme and also may include following individual children’s interests, making the most of those focused moments where the teaching and learning can be maximised in a one to one way with teacher and child. Each cohort of children every year creates its own unique blend of whole class, guided, adult directed play and child-initiated play activities dependant on the nature and needs of the class of individuals, whilst providing knowledge and skills from the framework.
Characteristics of effective learning are how children become engaged: by playing and exploring, being active and thinking critically and creatively and this takes place both indoors and in our outdoor area. Our outdoor area is open all year round and in all but the most challenging weather conditions. Children make their own decisions about where they learn best and teachers ensure that there are opportunities for all areas of learning both inside and outside.
Our school follows our own bespoke phonics programme based around the Letter and Sounds phonic programme. Every child has access to a phonics session every day with intervention opportunities for those who find this area of learning more difficult. We use the phonics session to also develop children’s reading and writing.
We provide effective and focused intervention for those children who are finding learning challenging and are not on track to meet expectations at the end of the year. This will be provided in an inclusive way and support from parents is also enlisted at an early stage to ensure that the children have every chance to achieve the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Reception year.
The EYFS team collect evidence of children’s learning through work completed in their learning journey book, observations, photos and videos which are shared with parents daily using our private Facebook class group, our Marvellous Me online app and our reading planners, as well as face to face every day at drop off and pick up. This means that parents can engage with children regularly about their learning and can contribute to the knowledge we have of the child in school. Parents are very responsive to being informed and able to observe their children’s learning through this medium.
We love to provide children with opportunities that lots of them have not experienced before or that enhance their learning in school. We bake together; sample different food together; explore other cultures through song, dance, books and research online. We have visits from the fire service and offer hands on experiences like Salsa dance workshops; a parent coming to talk about their job in the army, Living Eggs, observing frogspawn change into tadpoles then froglets; hatching butterflies, have educational trips eg to Harlow Carr and Tropical World. We invite people to bring in their pets or other items of interest eg artefacts, photos etc. We ensure that all of our visits and experiential learning opportunities are learning related and will provide the spark for further immersion in a theme or project.
By the end of the year we provide opportunities for children to increase their independence in recording their work as appropriate to ensure they are well prepared for the move to Year 1. We also ensure that the pedagogy in Year 1 reflects the independent learning skills children have gained in Reception working together as teams to develop expertise and confidence in all teaching staff.
Our Reception team are passionate about ensuring that children are immersed in a kind, caring, nurturing, enabling, happy and safe environment which helps them develop the same skills in their journey through school. It is a positive place to be where resilience, perseverance and successes are celebrated and every child feels valued and respected.