EYFS at Woodchurch Road
The Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to 5 years. At Woodchurch Road Academy we largely use the non-statutory Development matters 2021 to support the children’s journey through EYFS. We also use the Birth to Five document for additional ideas and to support the enabling environment.
Our curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning, both from previous settings and their experiences at home. We work in partnership with parents, carers and other settings to provide the best possible start at Woodchurch Road Academy School, ensuring each individual makes rapid progress from their various starting points.
Our curriculum has been designed with a strong emphasis on the Prime Areas of learning; Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language and Physical Development. At Woodchurch Road Academy, we recognise that effective oral communication is a life skill to ensure success beyond school as well as a strong indicator of academic success. Oracy develops children’s thinking and understanding, promoting self-confidence, resilience and empathy which in turn supports the child’s well-being.
Our enabling environments and warm, skillful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and make connections across the different areas of their learning. We provide an engaging curriculum that maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences, as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking. We aim to foster a lifelong love of learning both in and outside of school. By the end of the Reception year, we intend to ensure that all children make good progress from their starting points and are equipped with the skills and knowledge to have a smooth transition into Year 1.
EYFS staff regularly introduce new themes to provide inspiration for learning as well as children’s individual interests. Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have several sessions of directed teaching during the day. The timetable changes throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of the children. These sessions are followed by small focused group work led by an adult. This allows the teacher to check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly securing learning. Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and children have daily opportunities to learn in the outdoor environment.
Reading and vocabulary development are at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start. In EYFS we use stories to enhance the curriculum and incorporate them into the planning to develop imagination and stimulate a love of learning across all areas. In addition to the Read to Write books and children’s specific interest in books we also incorporate ‘Steps to Read’ and ‘Drawing Club’ into our week. These books are specifically chosen to develop oracy, vocabulary and comprehension, covering a variety of genres including diversity, traditional tales, and rhyme. The children are encouraged to respond to questions and their responses are displayed each week. Through this, children begin to internalise new vocabulary, language patterns and begin to retell the stories with confidence.
We follow the ‘Read Write Inc’ scheme across Foundation 2 and KS1, the early phonological skills are developed through daily songs and listening activities to prepare children for the GPC introduced once the induction period is completed and children are attending school full-time. Pupils are taught as a class for the first 4 weeks then assessed by the reading lead and grouped according to their phonic ability for subsequent lessons.
Children are encouraged to take a shared storybook home from the start, this is a story to be read by an adult and reinforces language skills and the routines around reading. Once children are able to read short sentences they will be given a book bag book to read to an adult each week. They are given books that match their phonic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers. Additional phonic and reading activities are set on Google Classroom, allowing parents the opportunity to see what the children are learning as well as to show skills and experiences they are having at home.
In Reception, we follow the NCETM Maths Mastery programme. High quality learning environments and meaningful interactions with adults, support children in developing mathematical thinking and discussion. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives and pictorial structures and representations which are then rehearsed applied and recorded within their own child-led exploration. We begin with a focus on the following counting principles; one-to-one correspondence, stable order and cardinal principle. Children’s fine manipulative skills are a focus to develop 1-1 correspondence so children count each object only once.
Our wider curriculum is taught through the learning areas; ‘Understanding of the World’ and ‘Expressive Arts and Design.’ EYFS staff have a good understanding of how ELG’s feed into the National Curriculum. In reverse, colleagues throughout the school are also aware of the key ELG’s that link to each foundation subject and the progression of the subject. Exciting, purposeful and contextual activities are planned to build on children’s natural curiosity. For example, using the Read to Write text ‘The Something’ children have opportunities to become eager explorers predicting and exploring which ball bounces the highest. As imaginative creators, they design and create tools to retrieve the ball from the black hole linking closely with the story.
We provide many opportunities to explore creative skills through independent provision area challenges and adult-led sessions. The children learn about a variety of diverse artists and explore techniques to develop language and creativity. These skills can often be used independently in provision.
We believe it is vital to enrich the children’s learning and language development through exciting experiences, regular trips out of school and inviting visitors into school stimulates the children’s interest of learning and develops their cultural capital. Children have opportunities to explore the local community through local walks to the church, library, parks where they can develop simple maps skills. Visitors are invited in regularly to talk to the children about jobs, often linked to the role play areas such as vets and hairdressers. This allows us to reduce the gap in children’s experiences and provides further opportunities for the enrichment of language. Building further on our oracy focus, children will be encouraged to employ subject specific language and terminology in foundation subjects, and such vocabulary will be modeled, both verbally and orally, by supporting practitioners.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of additional intervention and support for children who may not be reaching their potential, or are showing a greater depth of understanding and need further challenge. This includes, for example, sessions for developing speech and language through the Sounds and Listening program, social skills, fine motor skills, phonics, and mathematics. Regular monitoring of teaching and learning by SLT and the EYFS leader ensure staff develop good subject knowledge.
Prior to children starting, staff spend time speaking to the child’s parents, previous settings and read previous learning journey’s to gain an understanding of the whole child and where they are at. During the first half term in 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. The following baseline assessments are also carried out. The RBA (Statutory Reception Baseline Assessment) This 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 use the WELCOMM assessment to identify any Speech and language concerns, these assessments are used to identify the lowest children who will receive intervention and referral to SALT. SEND referrals are made at the earliest point to allow early identification and ensure pupils receive the support necessary to enable them to reach their potential.
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 paper work. 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 on Seesaw and their learning is often recorded in floor books. This gives valuable opportunities for children to remember what they have learned throughout the year and extend their skills and knowledge. The children’s attainment is recorded on Target tracker in line with the rest of the school. Examples of independent and directed writing development are kept in individual books for each child. Individual maths journals show their mathematical understanding and help develop the skills of independent journaling required for Year 1.
Phonic assessments are carried out by the reading lead using the RWI assessment every 6 weeks. Our aim is for children to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’ where possible. Children who are struggling are identified and receive targeted 1:1 tutoring in the afternoon. Assessments are completed termly and shared with parents at parent meetings during the Autumn and Spring term. In Summer Term 2, the EYFSP is completed where teacher judge whether the child has met each of the 17 ELG’s. They will be assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected.’ Whilst there is no judgement to state if a child is exceeding beyond an ELG, teachers, have a duty to provide a narrative for both parents and the Year 1 teacher. Impact is also evident through our successful transitions into Year 1. EYFS staff have a good understanding of how ELG’s link to the National Curriculum, and through our robust planning and delivery across the spectrum of subjects – both core and foundation – children leave the EYFS stage with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey as scientists, historians, artists and geographers.