Early Years Foundation Stage at Mill Rythe Infant School
Vicki Goldberger (EYFS Leader)
Intent: Why do we do what we do?
In the Early Years Foundation Stage at Mill Rythe Infant School, our vision is to provide an inclusive, enabling and stimulating learning environment so that the development of every child within our setting is supported, challenged and nurtured. Our intent for our children is to leave the EYFS as independent and confident individuals who have developed a love of learning and are able to make a positive contribution to wider school life as they continue on their journey into Year One.
We aim to provide a holistic and inclusive curriculum which supports our whole school values of ‘nurture’, ‘inspire’ and ‘challenge’ and we underpin everything with three key words – ‘ready’, ‘respectful’ and ‘safe’. We intend our children to develop into curious explorers, independent problem solvers and collaborative learners who will thrive and flourish, regardless of their circumstance or individual needs.
Implementation: How do we do what we do?
Through a careful balance of adult-directed and child-initiated experiences, skilfully planned continuous provision and high quality interactions with adults, our children have opportunities to explore and investigate, work collaboratively, problem solve and apply their learning.
Our curriculum design supports the development of the characteristics of effective learning in every child. The knowledge and skills taught provide rich coverage with a variety of experiences which are accessible and challenging for our individual and independent learners. Our curriculum design is progressive, ensuring that children can build on previous knowledge and skills as they learn and grow. It is an ever changing process, following the children’s interests, but remaining true to the key fundamentals needed in early childhood development.
We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework, providing a play-based, child centred, holistic approach, combined with directed teaching. Teaching is supported and supplemented by individual, paired or small group work, dependent on the needs of the children. We use our own unique consolidation and enrichment pathways to break down the steps needed for children to progress in Literacy and Mathematics, and use text drivers to support a cross curricular approach to the Wider Curriculum.
You can talk to any of our Year R teachers about individual children, their needs and their progress. To support their observations, we use paper Learning Journeys, supplemented by exercise books to record the achievements and successes for children and their families. Parents are invited to ‘share together’ once a term in these successes and add their contributions and thoughts on their child’s progress to the learning journey. They can also make more regular contributions via our online learning platform, ‘Seesaw’.
Literacy & Phonics:
As a staff, we adopt a whole school approach to the teaching of phonics and use ‘Bug Club Phonics’ to ensure consistency across Early Years and Key Stage 1. Phonics is taught daily in Year R, through a combination of whole class and small group work. Discreet teaching is then consolidated through carefully planned learning experiences during continuous provision. Every child is assigned a colour banded reading book appropriate to their level. At Mill Rythe, we recognise the value in developing the prime areas first, and as such we place significant emphasis on Physical Development and its importance in developing early writing skills. Each day begins with morning activities, which are tailored to individual needs and designed to develop fine motor skills. Within our daily phonics teaching, we incorporate handwriting, modelling the font ‘CCW pre-cursive 3’ so that every child has an opportunity to hold a writing implement on a daily basis. From Phase 3 onwards, children have a go at writing a daily dictation. All children participate in a Guided Writing group on a weekly basis, which is based upon their position on the C&E Pathway and opportunities to consolidate phonics and literacy learning are planned into our daily continuous provision. A love of reading is promoted through an engaging reading corner, stimulating text drivers, literacy immersion activities and a class text. We also utilise our school library so that children have an opportunity to take home a book of their choice in addition to their levelled reading book which is closely matched to their phonic ability.
The early teaching of mathematics involves plenty of practical opportunities for children to practise and apply their knowledge and skills of early number, calculation and shape. Children receive a daily directed teaching input, followed by practical activities and opportunities to consolidate their new learning matched to where each child is on their consolidation and enrichment pathway. In Year R, our primary resource that we use to support teaching is Numicon. Children become secure with the use of Numicon in addition to other concrete resources and the whole/part/part model before moving onto pictorial and abstract methods. We place a high emphasis on a maths mastery approach, utilising the NCETM scheme to aid our curriculum planning. Mathematical vocabulary is displayed on each classes working wall in addition to in the maths area and children are questioned to develop reasoning skills and a deeper understanding of number.
Text drivers are used to support the delivery of National Curriculum subjects. Activities and experiences are carefully planned into continuous provision which support the development of new knowledge and skills. Subject Leaders have received guidance from the EYFS Leader in the implementation of the new Statutory Framework and how a holistic approach to planning the wider curriculum is needed. Statements are taken from all seven areas of learning (where relevant) and all medium term plans are adapted as necessary to support the needs and interests of the cohort. Regular monitoring carried out by subject leaders ensures that the right coverage and progression takes place and to prepare children for Year 1. Key knowledge and skills are shared with parents and children at the start of each new unit. Cultural Capital is vital in supporting the wider curriculum. At Mill Rythe Infant School, we try to utilise the skills and knowledge of our teaching staff and ensure that our children are exposed to a rich variety of experiences including visits, performances, beach school and by utilising our beautiful surroundings and supportive community.
Early Years staff join the rest of the school, in using Target Tracker as our termly, summative assessment. We also use our own tracking document, which is based on statements from Development Matters to monitor the progress of children and identify gaps in knowledge. We utilise Bug Club Phonics to carry out assessments at the end of each phonic phase. This, alongside termly pupil progress meetings and deep teacher knowledge of the children helps to identify gaps and enables staff to implement additional support or adapt future planning. Statutory assessment is carried out in the form of the Reception Baseline in the Autumn term and the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile in the Summer term.
Impact: How do we know what our children have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
When you walk into the Early Years Foundation Stage at Mill Rythe Infant School, you will see children who are active, on task and engaged in their learning. They will be able to talk to you about what they are doing, they will be friendly, polite and cooperative, demonstrating our whole school values and showing you that they are ‘ready’, ‘respectful’ and ‘safe’.
Ongoing observations and formative assessments, supported by a good understanding of the consolidation and enrichment pathways ensure that our Early Years practitioners know exactly what stage each child is at and what their next step might be. As a result of a progressive, challenging and carefully planned curriculum, our children make rapid progress from their varied starting points.
Teacher knowledge, Learning Journeys, Pupil voice and both formative and summative assessment methods, mean that we can effectively demonstrate the learning that is taking place and how children are progressing towards the early learning goals.