The Early Years Foundation Stage is crucial in securing solid foundations that our children will continue to build upon. It is our intent that the children who enter our EYFS develop spiritually, physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally whilst embedding a positive attitude to relationships, school and learning.
In the EYFS, we are partners at the beginning of our children’s educational journey. By igniting the flame for learning, we are transforming lives, building communities for the future and broadening horizons. We are aspirational for our children and encourage each in their aspirations, dreams and talents. We believe that all children deserve to be valued as an individual created in the image of God, who knows and loves each one and who tasks us with enabling all children to achieve their full, unique potential. We begin each new year by looking at the individual needs of our children and taking into account their different starting points. We carefully develop our EYFS provision so that it is fully inclusive and reflects the wide socio economic and cultural mix of our school family. This ensures that it is personalised whilst encouraging them to ‘ACT’ in the St. Thomas’ way and is suitable for our children’s unique needs and stages of development.
The teaching of these areas of learning is practical, playful and inclusive with respectful support and challenge from adults in class sessions, small groups and working with individuals. There is a combination of adult-led, teacher taught sessions as well as continuous provision opportunities when adults scaffold learning through skilful interactions and questioning. Throughout all of these areas of learning and at the heart of our EYFS ar e the “Characteristics of Effective Learning”.
We strive to develop these key characteristics of “Playing and Learning”, “Active Learning” and “Thinking Critically” in order to give the children the skills that they will continue to draw upon throughout their development.
All of the crucial skills, knowledge and vocabulary, are taught to the children throughout the year in a range of topics, which are designed with their interests in mind, supporting children to develop their experience and knowledge across a range of themes.
Focus child observations ensure that children’s individual interests develop alongside a progressive curriculum.
Our learning environments, both inside and outside are adapted as necessary to meet the different and developing needs of the children in our care. These areas are designed to be stimulating and to be, accessible to and challenge all children, regardless of where they are on their developmental journey. The environments promote independence within our children and allow them to access the curriculum independently and confidently with the necessary level of support and challenge.
Within the EYFS, our children are assessed through continuous, accurate and specific observations. These provide information for immediate and future planning, not only for our reception class but also for individual children’s next steps in their learning. Headlines in children’s development and learning are recorded in ‘Tapestry’ and this provides the sharing of important milestones with parents. It is important to note though that these continuous assessments are to provide the practitioners with accurate and strong knowledge of the unique children in our care. They should not become burdensome so as not to detract practitioners from being with and forming strong bonds with children. Evidence of learning will also be recorded within children’s books.
Leaders monitor the quality and impact of the EYFS Curriculum through regular pupil voice and assess the extent to which pupils know more and remember more as they progress.