Our Early Years setting consists of two classrooms, Penguins and Turtles, and a dedicated outside area. The children have free flow access to this and each classroom throughout the day. The children also use the school hall, music room, the Environmental area and allotment.
The Early Years environment, both inside and outside, provides opportunities for high quality learning and is planned and developed specifically to stimulate independence, creativity, social skills, physical development, learning and develop our school’s LIGHT values.
The children’s learning and development are moved forward by a mix of adult led sessions and carefully supported child initiated activities- these are underpinned by the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. Our curriculum is designed to engage the children's learning, follow their interests and meet their individual needs to ensure they develop a love of learning and become resilient and independent learners.
The Early Years framework is made up of 17 Early learning goals, which fall into 1 of 7 curriculum areas, and the Characteristics of Effective Learning, which describes a child's approach to learning.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
This is concerned with the learning attitude and style of the children. We develop this by encouraging the children to take responsibility and pride in their learning; to develop their confidence, to take chances and try new things and give them opportunities to be creative and independent. All of this is achieved in a safe and supportive environment.
The 7 areas of learning
Communication and Language
Our curriculum is designed to develop the children's listening and speaking skills. We have a rich language environment which enables vocabulary and understanding development.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Through teacher modelling, providing opportunities for children to work together to overcome challenges and our school values we help to develop children's self-regulation and co-operation and negotiation skills.
We ensure that there are a wide range of opportunities for the children to develop their gross and fine motor skills. This is aided by our wonderful outside area which is tailored to meet the needs of all our children in the widest possible way. We have opportunities to run, climb, balance, dig, play imaginative games, build and play team games as well as being creative.
Understanding the World
We encourage the children to be curious about the world around them, looking at how things change over time, how life in our community is similar and different to those around the world and the natural world. This is supported by topics, stories, school trips, ICT and our school grounds, for example the allotment and the environmental area.
Expressive Arts and Design
Being creative is at the heart of our curriculum. We encourage the children to follow their interests, whether this be in arts or performance. We support them in learning and experimenting with new creative skills.
The initial focus for teaching reading and writing is the through phonics, where the children are introduced to the concept of phonemes and graphemes. The children learn to use their understanding of phonics to correctly sound out words and then blend the sounds together. This develops their reading and spelling skills. We have a literacy rich environment which encourages children to read and write to support their learning and to incorporate it in their play.
Our main reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree, but is supplemented with other schemes. These books build on the children's phonic and key word knowledge to help them become confident readers. The children also have access to the library so they can take books home on loan. Children’s reading is also supported by both parents and children participating in our home/school shared reading scheme and phonics homework.
To aid writing, we initially concentrate on supporting the children’s physical development to ensure that they have sufficient gross and fine motor control to enable them to be competent writers. We then encourage children to write in their play and to mark make.
Children are taught specific writing skills and genres in adult led sessions and then they are encouraged to use these skills to write in their play.
We teach the children to form their letters in cursive script.
In our Early Years classes we develop our children’s understanding of maths via practical investigations and problem solving. Children are given time to practise and improve their skills in counting and recognising quantities and numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, and to describe shapes, space, and measures, in both teacher directed or child initiated activities. Throughout the year the children develop their understanding of more precise mathematical vocabulary and more complex concepts in order to solve a wider range of problems.