All of our staff team in Sunflower and Beanstalk are experienced practitioners who really enjoy working with young children. Please do not hesitate to come and talk to any of us should you ever have any questions or concerns.
Nansy and Emma are also available to contact via Class Dojo.
Please remember to regularly engage with Class Dojo in order to stay up-to-date with our class news.
How do children learn in the Early Years?
Over the academic year we will be covering the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum – it is a distinct phase of education covering birth to the end of the Reception year.
Please follow the links below to find out more:
Children in our Early Years setting learn through a balance of adult-led and child-initiated experiences. We know that young children learn best when they explore and experience things first-hand, and our team are all extremely experienced in supporting children to make the most of any learning opportunities that may arise.
Intent, Implementation, Impact
At St Nicholas’ Primary School we are committed to providing a high quality early years’ education which gives children a positive start to their school life. The statutory Early Years Foundation Stage Framework forms the basis for our curriculum and our provision. In our unit we are committed to creating a learning environment where all the children feel secure, valued, listened to and understood. We focus on fostering positive and meaningful interactions and conversations between staff and children and between the children themselves. We will offer good role models and encourage the children to explore their emotions, learn to talk about their feelings and regulate their behaviour.
Throughout our provision we will share our own love of stories, books and reading by sharing stories, storytelling, role-play and story based play activities. Through this and through supporting and interacting with children in their play, we will offer a rich language environment, fostering children’s language and communication skills.
In our unit we plan and provide for rich and varied learning opportunities, both inside and outside, to foster curiosity and independent learning. We develop our provision in response to individual children’s interests, strengths and needs. This is particularly important following the disruptive effect of COVID on children’s development and social skills. Children will have opportunities to explore nature and the joy of the different seasons. They will experience and celebrate cultural diversity and develop a sense of community and belonging.
All the areas of learning in the EYFS are delivered through a balance of adult led and child initiated activities. The principle that young children learn best through play and active learning underpins our approach to teaching and learning in the foundation stage. In our continuous free-flow provision the children can choose activities throughout the entire unit, inside and outside. We observe children when they are involved in child-initiated experiences or adult-led activity in order to find out about their strengths and interests. We support their learning where they are at and observations and assessments feed into our further planning and resourcing. Throughout the foundation stage our plans ensure that each child has the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding in every area at the appropriate developmental level.
Our long term planning ensures coverage so that all children have opportunities to work towards and achieve the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) that define the expectations for most children to reach by the end of the EYFS. We develop half termly topic plans which include a core story, in accordance with the Talk For Writing approach.
In the Reception year our maths planning is guided by the White Rose Maths scheme, as in the rest of the school, however, we also use materials and ideas from a range of other sources. Also in Reception, for teaching phonics, reading and writing we follow the Read Write Inc scheme, which continues into KS1. Additionally, we offer a range of reading and writing opportunities in the wider curriculum, through adult and child initiated activity, indoors and outdoors.
As a unit we recognise the need for our curriculum to be flexible to meet the differing needs of each cohort. For example, at present, giving additional focus to supporting children’s social and language skills.
We are a values led school and have twelve core values, which were voted for by our whole school community. These are very much linked to the British Values which we embed into the whole of our curriculum. In EYFS we teach these values in our provision in an age appropriate way. We have a positive approach to managing children’s behaviour. We recognize that behaviour stems from emotions and that we cannot help children to behave well by making them feel bad about themselves. We talk about choices that children can make and help them to understand the consequences of their behaviour. We encourage children to develop empathy, tolerance and kindness towards their peers by helping them to understand that everyone has needs, thoughts and feelings, which may be different from their own.
We teach the children about Zones of Regulation and help them to identify how they are feeling. We co-regulate with children to enable them to learn to self regulate. We also follow ‘Emotion Coaching’ techniques when talking to children about their feelings and behaviour.
Throughout nursery and reception children’s knowledge, understanding, skills and achievements are assessed and tracked, guided by the statements set out in the document ‘Development Matters. Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage’.
We aim for all pupils to make good progress in all the areas of learning, in relation to their starting point. We focus on getting to know our children very well and to this end we gather information from a range of sources: a few key formal assessments (Reception Baseline, RWI phonics assessments) observations of the children in play, notes from adult-led activities, discussions with parents and carers and talking with the children.
Every child in nursery and reception has a physical ‘Learning Journal’ in which we record our observations as well as keeping samples of the children’s creative output, such as artwork, drawings, writing and some maths. In Reception class we complete the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, which summarises and describes children’s attainment at the end of the reception year.
We all work to ensure pupils develop the skills they need for the next step of their learning journey as they move from one year group to the next, and to foster a love of learning.