The Early Years Foundation Stage
The early years foundation stage sets standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five. At Little Stoke Primary School, children entering the school in the Reception class will aim to complete the early years foundation stage within this year. As with all schools, we follow the Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage, laid out by the Department for Education.
At Little Stoke Primary School we aim to secure a firm foundation of learning for all pupils, where children learn well and are happy, healthy and safe. Through achieving this, pupils will develop a broad range of skills, enabling them to confidently access future learning.
It is our belief that a child’s early experiences impact their future, in terms of how they approach new opportunities, their resilience and their self-esteem. At Little Stoke Primary, we therefore recognise the Reception year as an important phase of their learning, where children’s previous learning experiences, as well as new opportunities, will link with their acquisition of key skills for the future. We believe that each child is an individual, with their own interests, experiences, needs and ways of learning. We also understand that the support, care and opportunities that children receive is essential to their development. This includes the people around them and the environment that is open to them. We firmly support the overarching principles of the framework for the early years foundation stage, which are:
- A unique child
- Positive relationships
- Enabling environment
- Learning and Development
Principles in practise
Your Unique Child
Inclusion, Special Educational Needs, Progress
All children and their families are valued at Little Stoke Primary School. As individuals, we understand that children will start their school life at Little Stoke with a wide and varied range of previous experiences, interests, and will already have strong relationships with people in their lives who care for them. Getting to know these things is the first step in enabling us to meet each child’s individual learning needs. We will do this by:
- Making links with parents and adults within their previous setting to find out about each pupil, through induction meetings for parents, induction sessions for pupils, meetings with pre-school settings and home visits;
- Ensuring there are always enough adults within the setting to give care and attention to every child;
- Having an open door policy, throughout the year, where parents can talk to staff informally, making the classroom an open environment where parents and carers feel welcome;
- Providing a play-based curriculum with a wide range of opportunities for pupils to explore new skills through their own interests and the interests of others;
- Encouraging pupils to talk about their interests, share their ideas with others and show an interest in the opinions of others.
We are ambitious for each pupil, and we encourage children to achieve their personal best. We value motivation and praise pupils for showing this. Regular informal and formal assessments, taken from a range of perspectives are used to monitor the progress of each child, and we will identify any potential special needs as early as possible. Concerns will always be discussed with parents at an early stage. Meeting the individual needs of pupils will be addressed by:
- Tailoring the curriculum to ensure each child’s learning stage is being met;
- Providing a challenging curriculum that will ensure each pupil is working to their best ability;
- Having a reflective and flexible approach to planning opportunities for pupils to make best progress;
- Using interventions with a child that may need additional support to achieve in a particular area of learning, this may be individual or small group support;
- Closely monitoring progress in a specific area where a pupil may need support;
- Working with parents to further support pupils at home.
The learning journey
Throughout the year we assess pupils to track their progress. We also want to broaden their interests through providing a wide range of opportunities and experiences, so that each child is able to increase their understanding of the world, find and develop new interests and learn from the people around them. We are keen for pupils to develop a reflective approach to their own learning. Each child has their own individual profile, in the format of an electronic journal, which is begun as they join the Reception class. Over the year, a range of adults, including parents, and pupils will record their achievements and experiences. Pupils are encouraged to look at their own journal and reflect on their achievements and what they have enjoyed. In addition, the learning journal is used to gather evidence of the learning and development of each child, and so is used as a tool to monitor and moderate progress and achievements with other settings.
It is important to us that all children in the school are ‘safe’. We aim to educate children on boundaries, rules and limits and to help them understand how they can support others. We provide children with choices to help them develop this important life skill. Children should be allowed to take risks, but need to be taught how to recognise and avoid hazards.
We aim to protect the physical and psychological well-being of all children. Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them. At Little Stoke Primary School we understand that we are legally required to comply with certain welfare requirements as stated in the Statutory Framework for Early Years Foundation Stage 2012. We understand that we are required to:
- promote the welfare of children.
- promote good health, preventing the spread of infection and taking appropriate action when children are ill.
- manage behaviour effectively in a manner appropriate for the children’s stage of development and individual needs.
- ensure all adults who look after the children or who have unsupervised access to them are suitable to do so.
- ensure that the premises, furniture and equipment is safe and suitable for purpose ensure that every child receives enjoyable and challenging learning and development experiences tailored to meet their needs.
- maintain records, policies and procedures required for safe, efficient management of the setting and to meet the needs of the children.
We endeavour to meet all these requirements.
We believe that for pupils to be strong and independent they need to have confidence in the people around them. At Little Stoke Primary School we recognise that relationships built on trust and respect are vital to a child’s achievements.
We recognise that parents are children’s first and most enduring educators, and therefore recognise the role parents have played, and their future role, in educating their children. We also understand that relationships between parents and staff at the school play an important role in each child’s future, including their being part of a school community. We commit to this through:
- Asking parents to complete an admissions and medical information form, and to inform us at any time if there are any changes to the information they have provided;
- Asking parents to sign any permission slips regarding their authorisation of taking photographs in school, use of the internet and any school excursions involving their child;
- Having an open-door policy that allows parents to feel welcomed into the classroom and which allows regular opportunities for parents to talk to members of staff about their child;
- Encouraging parents to talk to the child’s teacher if there are any concerns. There is a formal meeting for parents twice a year at which the teacher and the parent discuss the child’s progress. Parents receive a report on their child’s attainment and progress mid-year, and at the end of each school year;
- Making parents /carers aware of the curriculum through a termly newsletter and curriculum sheet detailing what the children will be learning and tasks parents can do with their children to support this learning;
- Asking parents to contribute to the online Learning Journal. Training is provided for all parents on how to access this site. Parents without internet access at home will be able to come in to school on a regular basis and see the information stored in the online data base;
- Providing regular opportunities for parents to collaborate with their child and the school, in the form of open-class sessions and workshops, celebrations and performances;
- Asking parents to support their child by listening to them read and working with them on any other homework tasks;
- Encouraging parents to volunteer within the school community, for example listening to pupils read in school, supporting school excursions or other events.
Equal opportunities, tolerance
We consider the relationships between pupils to be of equal importance to their relationships with adults in the setting, and that as the children learn from each other, they develop respectful and caring relationships, where they understand differing opinions and interests, cultures and experiences. We believe in equal opportunities for all pupils. All members of the school are treated as individuals. We aim to meet the needs of all, taking account of gender, ability, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, sexual orientation, age, special educational needs, disability, and social circumstances. All staff are aware of the need for the curriculum to reflect cultural diversity and the need to prepare pupils for life in a diverse and multi-faith society. Pupils are offered opportunities to talk about their own life experiences, draw comparisons and ask questions. Pupils are encouraged to share their thoughts and learn about their community and the people in it.
We recognise that an attractive, clean and stimulating space plays a vital role in the development of children’s learning. An environment that reflects pupil interests, offers new experiences and provides opportunities for pupils to extend their learning, is essential to the early years classroom. We are advocates of play-based learning, as we believe this to be crucial to their development, allowing pupils to explore, consolidate, understand and create. Our early years environment reflects our belief that through play pupils will learn, develop independence and confidence, solve problems and learn about self- control and the need for rules. We want our pupils to be able to lead their own learning, using what they know and enjoy to learn and develop new skills. We believe that encouraging pupils to use their imagination will allow them to develop socially and emotionally, as well as increasing their language skills.
The environment plays a big part in developing skills across the entire early years curriculum. Regular observation and analysis of all areas of the environment take place, to ensure that each space provides the maximum opportunities to children. Relevant research, theories and practice, for example the ECERS-R and Elizabeth Jarman’s Communication Friendly Spaces tm will be consulted to best promote pupil’s experiences.
We ensure that displays and play areas are changed regularly, and reflect current learning. Displays will be visual, tactile and auditory, and there will be a range of objects, materials and opportunities introduced to the children throughout the year. We know that some pupils prefer to be indoors when some prefer to be outdoors. It is our policy to ensure that whatever is offered indoors, there is an alternative equivalent available outdoors, so that pupils are able to access all areas of the curriculum wherever they are within the environment. Learning experiences are designed to be free-flow, so that pupils may use several areas of the space within their imaginative ideas.
We understand that how pupils access the resources they need and their ownership of the space is integral to how safe and comfortable they feel, and allows pupils to extend their learning independently. We also believe that with ownership comes responsibility, pride and confidence to self-challenge, without any barriers. We show our commitment to this by:
- Providing furnishings, fixtures and tools that are size and age appropriate, easy to access and of good quality. Regular audits will ensure that all furniture is safe and anything that is deemed unsafe will be removed and replaced, and the space will be updated to ensure a clean, fresh and modern feel;
- Stocking the environment with high quality materials and resources that pupils need to access throughout the day, and regularly replenishing these to prevent barriers to the flow of learning;
- Making all resources easy to access for the children, as a way of promoting independence and freedom within the environment;
- Providing a space for pupils to display their own work;
- Making sure that all those using the space, both indoors and outdoors, are responsible for ensuring it is tidied every day so that resources remain organised and pupils are able to find what they need.