Our children start at St. John’s in their Reception year after being on their EYFS learning journey in nursery, pre-school and child-minding settings. A high proportion of children have speech and communication difficulties on entry. It is vital that we understand and value our children’s previous early year’s experiences as well as establish their school staring point on entry. We are fully committed to the EYFS curriculum and embrace Early Years pedagogy ensuring this shapes our practice.
“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.” EYFS Framework 2021
Through effective practice in EYFS we intent to-
Know and value all our children as individuals
Have high expectations for all children our children to achieve the Early Learning Goals and gain a Good Level of Development at the end of the Reception year. We quickly identify barriers to learning and provide targeted support that meets individual needs in learning, emotional well-being and managing behaviour. We value positive praise and give verbal feedback to drive learning forward. Valuing our children and their families and the experiences they have had, understanding their different backgrounds and ensuring they feel part of their child’s development in school enables them to feel fully supported during their child’s time with us in EYFS. Providing first hand experiences, particularly for children from more deprived backgrounds enables them to have shared experiences with peers, build resilience and develop ambition, respect and responsibility. The reception year is vital in enabling our children to learn the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the milestones set as well as prepare them for their next stage of learning.
Ensure the well-being of our children is a key focus in order for them to grow and develop healthily. We want them to be physically and mentally healthy and spend time supporting our children to understand themselves as individuals and recognise and celebrate difference. Having an understanding of how to keep their bodies and minds healthy, through exercise, healthy eating, oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle Building strong relationships with our children helps them feel happy and safe at school. Our children need to identify their feelings, talk about them and know how to ‘manage’ them positively. We must ensure our children know how to keep themselves safe and know what to do if they feel unsafe, including when using the internet. We encourage our children to be ‘mindful’ and to live in the present and help them to deal appropriately with change.
Work in partnership with parents/carers
Create positive, respectful relationships with our families to ensure our children thrive. Communicate effectively with our parents/carers to ensure a smooth transition and journey through Reception, giving parents clear information about their child’s progress as well as sharing in new opportunities and experiences their children have had. We value, share and praise children’s achievements from both school and home. Support parent’s/carers’ knowledge and understanding of the curriculum at each stage to help them to support their child’s learning at home.
Establish characteristics of effective learning and develop good learners
Focus on the characteristics of effective learning, our school values and our school approach of developing Growth Mind-sets our children begin to understand, know and display in their actions what it means to be a learner. The children are taught how to identify a range of learning characteristics, apply them to their own learning and recognise factors which may also hinder their learning. EYFS teaching provides a range of ways for children to learn in the best way that suits them and showcases the characteristics of effective learning. The stimulating environment enables learning through investigation, activity, explorations, investigation, questioning and reflection and encourages children to plan, monitor and evaluate their activities to reflect on their own learning. Our practitioners seek curiosity from our children, plan activities and develop areas that initiate awe and wonder. From the first year in our school the children are challenged to reach their full potential.
Stimulating, inclusive, language rich environment
Create a rich and stimulating learning experience for all our children every day. We plan activities across all seven areas of learning through focus activities, independent and supported learning in provision areas both inside the classroom and in our outside garden too. We choose resources to enhance the provision areas which provide additional learning experiences for our children. We always use high quality texts to support learning across all seven learning areas and use Elklan techniques to support communication, language and social development. Read Write Inc Story Time teaches new vocabulary each day through structured picture books and the Think Equal programme teaches gender, racial, and religious equality, social and emotional health and wellbeing, and global citizenship through simple narratives and activities. We use children's interests to engage them in learning alongside immersing them in new experiences. Additional learning challenges encourage independence and allow staff to direct specific learning activities at different levels for our learners.
Enable children to develop well in both the prime and specific areas
Our focus is to secure learning and development in the three prime areas of learning- personal, social and emotional development; communication and language; and physical development building on their experiences and achievements from their previous early year’s settings. We introduce the four specific areas of learning- literacy; mathematics; expressive arts and design; and understanding the world. Through a well-planned curriculum with a focus on developing skills and a topic approach to develop their knowledge and understanding our children make good progress across in all seven areas of learning.
Begin to read
Learning to read is one of the most important things children will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We use the Read Write Inc. (RWI) phonics literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. We want children to love reading. We use ‘books for hook’s to engage children, promote interest and promote a love of reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as learning to read.
Ensure cultural capital is enriched
All our children, no matter what their background, culture, religion or social classification can aspire to be what they want to be. and be successful academically and in the wider areas of their lives, they need to be given rich and sustained opportunities to develop their cultural capital. We want to inspire, develop awe and wonder and deepen learning through hands on activities, online sessions, visits and visitors. We want to provide opportunities for the children to lead their own learning by following their own interests as well as supporting our children to push themselves out of their comfort zone. We enable our children to engage with and appreciate the natural world, including outdoor learning, and instil a sense of time and place alongside supporting risk taking in a safe environment. We aim to develop positive character traits, such as resilience, grit and determination and support the children in becoming ‘active citizens’ that engage with and seek to improve their own surroundings for themselves and others. A range of opportunities for children to respond positively to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural activities is vital to enrich learning.