Early Years Foundation Stage
Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage at Ottershaw CofE Infant School.
At Ottershaw Infants we believe our role as an Early Years Team is to:
- support each child to settle happily into nursery and school.
- provide stimulating and engaging learning environments where each child feels comfortable, valued and safe enough to enjoy the challenges of the learning process.
- have high expectations of each child as a whole person, including their behaviour.
- enjoy getting to know each child well – enabling us to respond to their individual needs and interests.
- be enthusiastic, open and approachable.
- work in close partnership with parents, to ensure each child’s first experiences of nursery and school are as positive, exciting and stimulating as we can make them.
Our Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum is underpinned by the Dept. for Education statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE Sept 2021) supported by the Development Matters Guidance (DfE July 2021). The curriculum is designed around half-termly topics, which draws all areas of learning together to ensure children learn through meaningful experiences and are able to make connections in their learning.
The 3 Prime Areas of Learning are:
- Communication and Language
We believe the development of a child’s spoken language is important and to this end CL is threaded across our curriculum. Learning to articulate thoughts and ideas, learning new vocabulary and listen attentively are key learning behaviours which underpin all future learning. We ensure a wide range of opportunities to develop language through whole class/small group/1;1 discussions, role-play both imaginative and through structured retelling of stories, all of which develop children’s confidence and language skills. We have developed a language rich environment, both orally and visually.
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Developing self-confidence and self-awareness, learning to express feeling appropriately, learning acceptable behaviour boundaries. Understanding how to work as part of a group – taking turns and sharing fairly. As well as developing positive friendships and relationships, by developing sensitivity towards the needs and feeling of others.
- Physical Development
Children have opportunities to develop fine motor skills to use pencils, scissors and tools effectively. They will also have a wide range of opportunities to develop gross motor skills to move with coordination and control.
The 4 specific areas of learning are:
- Literacy - Reading and writing.
We use Jolly Phonics synthetic phonics programme to teach phonics through songs, images, stories and games. In Nursery this is taught as a ‘sound of the week’. In Reception, phonics is taught daily in short fast-paced sessions – with lots of opportunity throughout the day to revisit and embed taught skills. As part of these phonics sessions children are taught to segment and blend decodable high frequency words. Non-decodable words are systematically, explicitly taught. Children are heard read in class by the class teacher and teaching assistant. We very much encourage our parents support their child’s learning and in order to offer a consistent approach we run parent workshops at the beginning of Reception to support this. Whilst children are learning the ‘phonic code’ they take home two reading books; a book matched to the phonics they are learning in class – which is changed twice a week, to ensure children have an opportunity to build fluency through consolidate phonics and blending/segmenting skills and build fluency and pace in reading. Alongside this we have a wide range of books to provide a breadth of text styles and genres. The books are levelled by colour bands; and each child is able to select the book of his/her choice within his/her reading level band, to support reading for pleasure and encourage children to have ownership of their learning and the wider reading skills of choosing a book to read, discussing your choice etc. There are a number of levels within each colour band to ensure children are challenged. In EYFS children are encouraged to use a range of tools and materials to mark make with many activities across the curriculum designed to develop the fine motor skills/control necessary for holding a pencil and forming letters accurately. In Nursery children are encouraged to write their name. In Reception children’s writing is encouraged through a wide range of meaningful writing opportunities. We teach children to verbalise what they intend to write, and count the words within their sentence to support writing independently. We use the ‘Gradual Release model – ‘I do/we do together/you do’, to teach, scaffold developing writing.
We use White Rose Maths Scheme to ensure children develop their knowledge of number and use this to solve simple problems. Children also learn mathematical concepts and begin to recognise simple patterns in number, shape and spatial awareness.
Mathematical concepts are taught in a practical way and developed further through independent play based activities or when working with an adult.
- Expressive Arts and Design
Children have a wide range of opportunities to use a range of media and materials, tools and techniques to experiment with colour, texture form and function.
The children are encouraged and supported to be imaginative in their play and their artistic explorations. They begin to represent their thoughts and feelings through art and design, music, dance, role-play and drama.
- Understanding the World
Children are supported to make sense of the world through exploring the natural environment and wider world, conducting simple scientific enquiries, finding out more about different cultures and religions; as well as people in the past.
In addition we teach our children the Guildford Diocese RE syllabus and use a holistic approach to embed spirituality and cultural links across all areas of learning.
All our children will complete the statutory baseline assessment and our own baseline assessment within their first half term in school. We will continue to assess the children’s individual progress, to inform the planning of the next steps in their learning.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage play is a fundamental part of children’s learning. ‘Hands-on’ experiences are how young children learn. Our carefully planned activities enable children to develop a wide range of social, language, mathematical, problem solving and investigative skills. We really want the children to go home and say “We’ve played all day!”
A typical day will be based around a range of well planned play-based activities, both inside the classroom and in our outdoor learning environment. Many of the activities will be ‘child-led’, although a proportion of the day will be spent working on focussed tasks either individually, or in small groups, with the teacher and/or teaching assistant.
As the year progresses the Literacy and Mathematics areas of the curriculum, in particular, will become slightly more structured, as we prepare the children for transition to Key Stage 1.
Some of the children’s work will be recorded in books, but please do not expect to see reams of paper! As explained, much of the learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage is through practical activities and we, as practitioners, will make informed judgements and assessments of each child’s learning through observations and discussion, as well as marking recorded work.
Curriculum Long Term Overview
Curriculum Medium Term Plans