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Early Years

Intent

At The Wilfred Owen School, we recognise the fundamental role a child’s early years has in shaping the person and learner they become. Our EYFS curriculum is designed to lay strong foundations so that the children develop the characteristics of an effective learner as well as having the knowledge and skills to be ready for the Key Stage 1 curriculum. We provide pupils with a safe and stimulating environment that will allow them to thrive. We aim to develop curiosity and nurture children into becoming independent and resilient learners.

Our purposeful and engaging curriculum maps out progress, but also recognises that learning in the early years is not always neat and orderly and considers that pupils learn best in different ways. Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play, and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Practitioners respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction to move their learning forward. We believe all pupils can succeed and ensure that our teaching practise is adaptive and responsive to the needs of the pupils.

We aim to ensure that pupils thrive within our EYFS and develop transferable learning skills for their school life and beyond.

Implementation

Our curriculum follows the Early Years Foundation Framework and covers the 3 prime areas of learning and the 4 specific areas of learning.

Prime areas - communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development

Specific areas – literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design.

We strive to ensure a purposeful balance between child initiated and adult-led learning that prepares children

for the next stage of their education.

Continuous Provision.

We value the importance of positive and constructive play. Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking, both indoors and outside. We provide enabling environments that are safe and stimulating and allow pupils to thrive. There is a balance of open-ended resources and target activities linked to focus texts and themes. Our environments and curriculum encourage curiosity and develop Characteristics of Effective Learning to help pupils to become lifelong learners with staff sensitively supporting and extending the children’s learning through high-quality interaction.

Phonics.

Children participate in daily structured phonics sessions to develop their reading and writing skills. We use Essential Letters and Sounds. All sessions follow the structure review, teach, practice, apply and review. All children are given engaging decodable texts that match their phonic ability.

Reading.

Children are taught to read via the Essential Letters and Sounds systematic phonics programme.

Daily stories are shared for pleasure and enjoyment and children are encouraged to join in with repeating refrains.

Small group Guided Reading happens 4 times a week. Two groups focus on 1:1 reading with an adult, one group has a story for pleasure and one group has a guided reading session with the teacher. Children use VIPERS skills (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve, Sequence) to improve vocabulary and comprehension skills. We use a mix of fiction, non-fiction and poetry to expose pupils to a variety of genres and engaging reading areas are available in the classroom.

Writing.

Children develop their fine motor skills and are encouraged and praised for mark making and ascribing meaning to their marks. Children are then taught how to record the sounds they learn (Grapheme – phoneme correspondence) and are supported to use their sound fingers to record sounds in sequence before holding, building and recording sentences.

Children write for a variety of purposes both through child-initiated and activities that are set by adults.

Maths.       

Pupils in the Early Years are prepared for the National Curriculum by developing a solid conceptual understanding of Number, Shape, Space and Measure. The Early Years Foundation Framework is used to guide mathematical learning in the Nursery and Reception classes. As a school, we follow the White Rose maths scheme of work to teach new concepts and develop problem solving skills.

We place a strong focus on subitising skills and conservation of number using concrete objects, models and images. Children have the chance to explore and apply their understanding during Continuous Provision

Targeted Interventions.

Using frequent teacher assessments, staff identify pupils who need additional support. Targeted interventions are carefully planned and monitored to provide pupils with the support they need in order to consolidate their skills and apply them independently

Impact

The impact of our EYFS curriculum is shown through pupils’ engagement, progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. Children develop a wide variety of knowledge and skills and, as a result, achieve their potential and are ‘Year 1 ready’ by the end of Reception.

Observations 

Staff focus on quality interactions with children and record key moments that evidence progress and steps forward for the individual child. The observations form formative assessments that inform future planning and ensure pupils build on their current knowledge and skills.

Assessments.

Staff use termly assessments in Phonics, Reading, Writing and Maths to inform staff judgements and to adjust support as required. Children are assessed against the ELGs at the end of the year.

We are part of The Empower Trust
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