Early Years Foundation Stage
At Grayswood CE Primary School, we strive to ensure that our children’s first experience of education is a positive, meaningful and enjoyable one. We place great value on the unique child, providing our children with an environment that is carefully organised and arranged to meet the children’s particular interests and developmental needs. We offer an environment which is nurturing, sparks curiosity, and that offers sufficient opportunities for independence and challenge. Using the Characteristics of Effective Learning, we support the children to reflect on their successes and failures and how to deal with these, promoting skills of perseverance and resilience. Our aim in Early Years is to build strong foundations so that our pupils are equipped with the necessary skills to become lifelong passionate learners. Our school values are embedded in our curriculum and children are taught to "Love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12).
We value the importance of the child at the centre of our curriculum, considering individual needs, interests and stages of development and use this information to plan a challenging, progressive and motivating curriculum in all of the areas of learning. Our pupils learn through a careful balance of child-initiated and adult-directed tasks and are encouraged to think for themselves and follow their own lines of enquiry. Teaching takes place both inside the classroom and outside, utilising the Early Years playground, school grounds and forest school provision.
In Reception, we plan using weekly themes, which are often based around events in the calendar and the children’s own ideas and interests.
Through our carefully resourced continuous provision, children are supported in becoming active learners; being given the freedom to explore and become independent in making choices. Our adults help facilitate and extend learning in the Prime and Specific areas through careful use of questioning and modelling.
At Grayswood CE Primary School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. Phonics is taught daily in Reception and children make a strong start, with phonics teaching beginning in week 3 of the Autumn term. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress and build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
In Reception, children are encouraged to talk and wonder about Mathematics. We follow the ‘White Rose’ Maths Mastery approach placing emphasis on key mathematical concepts, such as: the counting principles, subitising, pattern, mathematical talk and developing reasoning. Through discrete teaching, games, concrete manipulative resources and use of BBC Numberblocks children gain the necessary skills and knowledge needed for the rest of the primary curriculum.
We believe that a strong partnership with parents and carers is essential to support the development of each child in our care. Therefore, we actively encourage communication between home and school and parents are invited to attend workshops, parent’s evenings, performances and open-classrooms throughout the year.
Prior to children starting, staff spend time speaking to the child’s parents, previous settings and read previous learning journey’s to gain an understanding of the whole child and where they are at. During the first half-term in Reception, all staff use ongoing assessments, observations and conversations with the child to develop a baseline assessment. This identifies each individual’s starting points in all areas so we can plan experiences to ensure progress. Within the first six weeks of starting Reception, children will participate in the statutory Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) this assessment focuses on ‘Language, Communication and Literacy,’ and ‘Mathematics.’ The purpose of this is to show the progress children make from Reception until the end of KS2.
Ongoing observations are used to inform weekly planning and identify children’s next steps.
Practitioners draw on their knowledge of the child and their own professional judgements through discussions with other practitioners, photographs and physical examples, such as, a child’s drawing/ mark making. Some observations are uploaded using Seesaw and shared with the supporting parents and carers and examples of work are kept in individual learning journals.
Phonic assessments are carried out using the Little Wandle assessment tool every six weeks to quickly identify pupils that are not making expected progress. Our aim is for children to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’ where possible.
In the second half of the Summer Term, the EYFS profile is completed where teachers judge whether the child has met each of the seventeen Early Learning Goal’s. They are assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected.’
Impact is also evident through our children’s successful transition into Year 1. Our children in Reception are exposed to a rich, broad and balanced curriculum and our staff have a good understanding of how the ELG’s link to the National Curriculum. Therefore, our children leave reception confident, articulate and excited about their learning.
Please see Policies and Documents for our EYFS policy