The Intent, implementation and Impact of our Curriculum
Our Early Years curriculum is designed to provide all children with the opportunities and experiences that they need in order to develop positive relationships and attitudes to be able to succeed as learners in our school. It is designed to form the foundation and the initial building blocks for the curriculum that the children will experience throughout the rest of the school in Key Stage 1 and 2. We focus in particular ensuring that all children develop a sound base of early reading skills and phonics from their starting point.
We take into account the challenging and wide variety of backgrounds and experiences that many of our pupils bring to the school and the transient nature of our setting. A significant percentage of the children in our setting have English as an additional language and arrive and leave the school often at times other than the usual admission and leaving times and can also be new to country. As a result, within nursery and reception, the planned learning opportunities are heavily weighted around the Prime areas of learning, with a particular focus on Personal, Social and Emotional Development and upon developing pupils’ ability to communicate effectively and interact positively. An example of this is our work in developing and promoting all transitions from home to school, Bluebirds nursery to school, our school nursery to reception and reception to year 1. Once these foundations to learning are embedded then other areas will be focused upon.
We aim to foster excellent attitudes to learning by providing effective and timely adult interactions to ensure that learning is instantly captured and enhanced. This is through our ‘in the moment’ observations and instant or planned next step activities as discussed in daily staff discussions or our weekly minuted planning meetings. Evidence can also be seen in teachers planning files and in the children’s learning journey folders.
All staff have high expectations and the enhancement of skills for learning is achieved through recently refurbished (Summer term 2018), well-resourced, stimulating environment that allows children to repeat and consolidate their own learning. Children are encouraged to take an active part in their learning journeys and become independent learners. We foster a love of learning by ensuring that we capture and learn through the children’s interests as much as possible. Every opportunity is a learning opportunity!
Our high quality teaching and learning is based on a team planning approach centred around children’s individual needs and interests, as well as providing the initial building blocks for the wider whole school curriculum which follows.
Staff are skilled in the teaching of phonics. We deliver this through an ambitious effective provision:
- a streaming process – Nursey is streamed three ways (top ability group are using the beginnings of read, write, inc; middle and lower ability groups look at phase 1 letters and sounds). Reception is streamed from September to October half term in two ways (Top group continue objectives from Nursery; the other group begin read, write, inc). From October half term onwards, Reception streams with Key Stage 1.
- Groups are taught upon their staring points.
- The groups are fluidic and are constantly changing reflecting the needs and progress of the children.
- Identified children have additional intervention to accelerate their progress or to close the gap in age related expectations.
All of the above points are based upon rigorous consultations with external agencies and after a year’s successful trial of the new delivery systems in place.
Our curriculum provision enthuses and generates a love for reading whilst effectively teaching new ideas, concepts and vocabulary. This can be seen through our ‘Book a Week’ teaching focus which is driven through exposure to quality texts, which is also linked to all areas of our curriculum. Our children also have access to a lending library, home readers, guided reading, story time, nursery rhyme time and individual reading time with a member of staff.
Our mathematics curriculum is taught daily through exposure and exploration of number, shape and measures. It encapsulates real life scenarios for example, cookery (weights and measures), shopping (money role play) and general day to day teacher daily activities and routines.
Staff are skilled at asking questions that encourage children to think more deeply about their learning, to extend their use of language across the curriculum and to make connections in order to embed new learning.
Prime areas are a key part of our curriculum. They are covered though all areas of our curriculum provision but specific examples are:
- We have a welcoming and inclusive environment
- We have our key person system
- We have key interventions that cover one or all three prime areas i.e. Lego Therapy and Dough Disco.
- Educational trips to enhance the children’s language skills i.e. trips to Acorn Farm and Formby Beach.
- Daily or Weekly PSED sessions
- Weekly PE and Yoga sessions
Assessments are relevant and purposeful, leading to improved outcomes for children. We have continuous, daily assessment which influences provision lesson to lesson, day to day, week by week. This can be seen in our planning files, children’s files, daily practice and the learning environment.
We strive to involve parents to engage in supporting their child’s to learning. We do this through parent workshops, information leaflets, weekly newsletters, regular tweets and website class page updates and weekly sessions where parents are invited to come in and share in their child’s learning journey. For Example:
- Nursery have a weekly ‘stay and play’ session.
- Reception have half termly sessions – One half term ‘stay and play’ sessions and the alternating half term will give the opportunity for parents to take part in parental workshops, covering sessions such as phonics, maths, reading, craft and cooking.
- If parents are unable to come to any sessions, the school will send the resources home.
- Our EYFS staff meet, greet and welcome children and parents at the start and at the end of each day.
Children enjoy their learning and the majority participate eagerly and enthusiastically. They are beginning to manage their own feelings and behaviour, and understand how these have an impact on others.
It can be seen that, for those children that have been present for the majority of their early years education at our school will flourish and develop into confident, motivated and independent learners, will make good or better progress and often achieve GLD. This is in comparison to the children who join the school at times other than the usual admission times or families that are required, often during the school year, to return to their home country for prolonged periods of time i.e. visa applications / renewals.
By the end of the Foundation Stage, the majority of children read accurately and are starting to develop fluency in their reading. Their vocabulary and understanding of language is good and many children achieve the early learning goals, representing high achievement from low starting points.