Welcome to the Foundation Stage at StChad’s CE Primary School!
At St Chad’s we provide a safe, welcoming and exciting learning environment where children love to learn through play. Our Foundation Stage is built on close relationships between our staff and children, and with our families too. We aim to get to know your child really well, finding out about their previous knowledge from other settings and from the wealth of experiences that happen at home. We then plan carefully thought out learning experiences to help them reach their individual next steps. We understand that if children feel safe and happy, they will learn, and their safety and wellbeing underpins everything we do. We aim to create a magical environment, full of wonder for our children to explore and learn.
All children are unique, and we celebrate their uniqueness with a quality curriculum based upon their interests and fascinations, as well as one designed to give them a wide range of skills and knowledge so they are fully ready to meet future challenges with an open and positive attitude. We have very high expectations of all our children and a committed staff team who believe it is a real privilege to work with the youngest children in school. We understand that we all have talents to share and next steps to learn, regardless of our starting points. It is very important to us that all children progress to the best of their ability in our Foundation Stage, in an environment where all children feel valued, included, and supported.
The Nursery and Reception classes operate as the Foundation Stage with separate classroom bases and a shared outdoor classroom. Leaders and practitioners create an environment that supports the intent of an ambitious and coherently planned and sequenced curriculum, following a play-based approach. Staff use ‘in the moment’ planning to support children to make progress towards their individual targets and towards the Early Learning Goals. These goals are set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework.
The curriculum is split into seven areas of learning, which we cover throughout the year:
The Prime Areas of Learning:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development develops children’s understanding of and respect for themselves and others, their confidence in building relationships and managing their own feelings and behaviour. This underpins everything we do in the Foundation Stage and provides a strong platform for future successes at school and in later life.
Physical Development supports children to develop gross and fine motor skills as well as developing their independence and confidence with managing their health and self-care needs. This crucial area of learning allows children to develop their core strength, special awareness, balance and coordination, as well as developing the first steps towards the physicals skill of holding a pencil correctly.
Communication and Language develops children’s speaking, listening and understanding. Children’s spoken language runs throughout all seven areas of learning, both through their interactions with others, and their ability to develop vocabulary their verbal reasoning skills. St Chad’s puts great emphasis on developing oracy skills, and this starts in the foundation stage, where children learn to listen to one another as well as sharing their own ideas.
Specific Areas of Learning:
Literacy supports children to develop their reading and comprehension skills and their writing. We hope our children develop a real love of books and a lifelong love of reading during their time with us as well as learning the practical skills of decoding and comprehension. We aim to provide purposes and contexts for writing in all its forms, from early mark making to forming letters learnt correctly, using taught phonics skills to produce pieces of writing.
Mathematics introduces children to numbers, counting, calculating, shape and pattern. We aim to develop mathematical vocabulary to help children explain their mathematical thinking, as well as vital mathematical skills such as subitising and noticing connections and patterns in the world around them.
Understanding of the World introduces children to scientific, historical and geographical knowledge and skills and the development of their understanding of different cultures and places. It develops awareness of climate and of some of the challenges we may face in the future, developing their global awareness. It encourages talk about similarities and differences as well as developing their knowledge of the community they live in.
Expressive Arts and Design focuses on developing artistic, dramatic and musical skills. This helps children express their thoughts and ideas in creative ways, as well as developing their knowledge and experiences of different materials and media. It promotes talk, developing descriptive vocabulary, helps children make sense of their experiences through role-play, and develops physical skills.
Religious Education: As a Church of England school, we also teach a discrete religious education lesson each week, developing children’s awareness and knowledge about different world views as well as thinking about their own personal beliefs and that of their school community.
Outdoor Learning: Both Nursery and Reception share our outdoor classroom which allows our children to work at a larger scale. All areas of learning are planned for, both inside and outside and planned focus sessions teach specific skills, such as learning how to use a range of tools safely. The outdoors allows our children to experience the weather in all its extremes and to move freely as well as developing gross motor skills. It supports collaborative play as well as promoting vital skills such as sharing and taking turns when using equipment. It also allows children to take risks, assessing for themselves if the obstacle course they have built will take their weight, or if it is stable enough!
At St Chad’s, our practitioners understand the pedagogy of children's learning and provide effective support within the setting to scaffold and further children’s development, working alongside children in areas of provision to help children meet their next steps of learning. Staff are regularly trained to ensure they have up to date knowledge of the curriculum and safeguarding measures we have in place.
Although we follow a long-term plan, we have the flexibility to follow children’s interests, and adapt the timetable to ensure skills are embedded, or to explore an object brought from home. We believe this promotes powerful and meaningful learning experiences for our children.
Activities are carefully planned and organised to allow every child the opportunities to explore, investigate and work on activities together. We monitor children’s progress through a range of teaching and learning opportunities including observations to ensure that children are ‘on track’. For those children who are not yet on track, we implement suitable interventions to support them where necessary, working closely with them in the continuous provision or in small groups or one to one sessions.
Practitioners share information with parents about their child’s progress in relation to the EYFS using online journal ‘Tapestry’ where parents are encouraged to contribute towards their child’s learning by supporting and extending their children's interests. We try and achieve a balance of sharing information regularly, but prioritise working alongside the children in their play.
Baseline Assessment: During the first half term in Nursery or 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.
In Reception the RBA (Statutory Reception Baseline 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.
We record baseline assessments in all areas of learning and use this information to help inform future planning.
Ongoing Observation: All ongoing observations are used to inform weekly planning and identify children’s next steps. This formative assessment does not involve prolonged periods of time away from the children and excessive paperwork. Practitioners draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgements through discussions with other practitioners, photographs and physical examples such as a child’s drawing / making. Some observations are uploaded using Tapestry and shared with the supporting parents and carers and examples may be kept in individual files.
Curriculum: With the successful implementation of both an exciting and balanced curriculum and a well-structured, safe, active and challenging learning environment, both indoors and outdoors all children are able to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding that enables them to be successful learners.
Assessment: Summative assessments are completed three times per year on Arbor and are shared with parents at key points throughout the year. In the Summer term, the EYFSP is completed and the class teacher assesses whether the child has met each of the 17 ELGs. Children are assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected.’ End of year assessment data, along with other key information, is shared with children’s next teachers, and this results in successful transitions into Year 1. EYFS staff and subject leaders in school have a good understanding of how ELGs link to the National Curriculum, and through our robust planning and delivery across the areas of learning children leave the EYFS stage with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey. End of year attainment is typically in line with or above National data, with the vast majority achieving a good level of development.
Engagement: Children in EYFS are actively engaged in learning and their enjoyment of this learning should be apparent to all. All children will have experienced a curriculum that provides exciting and enriching learning experiences and opportunities for children to learn through educational visits, visitors to school, and hands on experiences. Children appreciate and understand the world around them, experiencing and learning about different cultures, music, dance, art and history. Children actively ask questions about the world around them, and their learning experiences and they will never fear making a mistake but instead see this as an opportunity to learn.
Making Links: Children will be able to make links in their learning, learn and develop new skills and knowledge and applying this to different contexts. Children will develop their skills at solving problems and they will develop their personal levels of resilience and independence. Children will be successful learners and fully prepared for the next stage of their education as they transition from Foundation Stage to Year One.
We help children to make sense of the world around them, to develop tolerance, compassion and an understanding of their rights and the rights of others in an ever-changing world. Children at the end of the Foundation Stage will have developed essential knowledge and skills required for everyday life and lifelong learning.