Our Early Years setting consists of two classrooms, Penguins and Turtles. The children have free flow access to this and each classroom throughout the day. The children also use the school hall, music room, ICT suite, 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 and learning and develop our school’s values of LIGHT.
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 Curriculum which falls into three parts.
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.
Prime Areas of Learning: This is concerned with developing the children’s physical development, listening and speaking, and PSHE.
Specific Areas of Learning: This is concerned with Understanding the World, Being Creative, English and Maths.
Reading and writing are taught through phonics. We use Jolly phonics to introduce the phonemes and graphemes to the children, but teach phonics by following the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document. 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. 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 in a cross curricular manner and then the children 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 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.