Early Years Curriculum
EYFS Curriculum Information for Parents
EYFS Intent, Implementation and Impact Statement
At Woodfield we aim to create a nurturing, caring and stimulating Early Years environment where children feel happy, safe and develop a love for learning. We draw upon principles of the HighScope pedagogy to ensure that we create a learning environment which is inspiring, encouraging and where children are actively involved with their learning, enabling them to then develop their own initiative, critical thinking, self-confidence, and problem-solving abilities. We foster strong teacher-child interactions and a robust Plan-Do-Review process. Through all of this we help each other be the best we can be and ensure everybody feels a part of our Woodfield team:
‘Be kind, be hardworking, be part of our team, be Woodfield!’
At Woodfield Infant School, we want our children to be excited, engaged and curious to learn. We also want them to be able to confidently talk about themselves as learners. We provide a supportive, nurturing environment in which for them learn; an environment where every child can flourish and can reach their full potential. We are lucky enough to be situated in a beautiful part of the country, with easy access to a variety of features which can support the learning experience for our children. We live in the birthplace of Charles Darwin, with the longest river in Britain flowing through it. We make use of our immediate local environment for many curriculum areas including geography, history and science and draw upon this knowledge to make comparisons with areas further afield. This approach builds up the children’s sense of who they are and where they live.
Our school values underpin everything that we do in school. We focus on kindness, respect, thankfulness, collaboration, honesty, forgiveness and charity. We teach the children what they mean, how to show them and how to recognise these values when someone else is demonstrating them.
Alongside our values, we also have our Learning Powers and their linked Learning Behaviours.
These behaviours represent skills that we believe are essential for children and adults to become effective, confident learners. The Learning Powers are: to be curious, to concentrate, to be resilient, to co-operate and to self-improve.
In addition to our values and Learning Powers, the curriculum at Woodfield has been designed to suit the needs of our children and our community. It is an aspirational curriculum, with high aspirations for all, a curriculum which gives the children the broad and exciting learning opportunities that we want for them. In order to deliver the knowledge and skills outlined within the National Curriculum, we draw upon a range of themes and topics to use as the stimulus through where clear concepts, knowledge and skills are developed. We also draw upon other elements of learning to add breadth, enrichment and ‘Cultural Capital’ to our curriculum offer. We engage the wider community by involving them in the life of our school; families and visitors are invited into school and our children experience visits to the local area and further afield.
In order for our children to meet age related expectations, the curriculum at Woodfield is a progressive curriculum. The experiences, knowledge and skills gained in EYFS are built upon in Year One and again in Year Two. This allows the children to embed and deepen their knowledge and skills; making progress in their learning by knowing more and remembering more. Our children are then ready for the next stage of their learning journey, when they move on from us at the end of Year Two.
At Woodfield, our pedagogical approach allows the children to thrive by experiencing an enriched learning environment where they can learn through play, both indoors and outdoors. Children will experience high quality communication, interactions and questioning from the adults to stimulate their learning and to develop their own listening, communication and social interactions.
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 Woodfield Infant School, ensuring each individual reaches their full potential from their various starting points.
- to enable children to succeed through inspiring and engaging learning experiences with cross- curricular links.
- to promote the importance of the unique child and understand that every child learns in different ways.
We do this through a strong emphasis on the Prime Areas of learning which include, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development. These are all fundamental areas which allow children to start their learning journey at Woodfield. We follow children’s interests and ideas to foster a lifelong love of learning, both inside and outside of school.
EYFS staff understand the importance of child development and how every child is unique. We know the factors below are crucial for children to progress and succeed at Woodfield.
Factors which influence development
Throughout each term, EYFS staff introduce a new theme to provide inspiration for learning, whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas. Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have 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. This means the teacher can systematically check for understanding and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback, which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning. Time is given to engage in ‘exploration’ through a variety of carefully planned experiences to engage and challenge them in both the indoor and outside classrooms with equal importance.
Communication and Language
We recognise the importance of talking and communicating with peers and adults. Using our words rather than actions is a key life skill that we promote and encourage in school. This communication skill is fundamental as we grow, beyond school life and in future employment. Talk develops children’s thinking and understanding, which in turn promotes self-confidence, resilience and empathy, which support a child’s well-being. Our enabling environments and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they link learning to their play and exploration.
Reading and Phonics
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading. Each term ‘Our Favourite 6’ stories are used to as a stimulus to learning and develop a love of reading. These have been chosen specifically to develop vocabulary and comprehension skills and are embedded in our provision through activities, story sessions and are on display for children to access independently. Through this, children begin to internalise new vocabulary, language patterns and begin to retell stories.
We follow the DfES Letters and Sounds programme to ensure consistency across the school. Prior to children starting at Woodfield, children attending a Nursery will have hopefully focused on Phase 1. This phase concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills, prior to Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence (GPC).
As children move through Reception they are introduced to Phases 2 and 3 where they will develop Grapheme Phone Correspondence (GPC) and segmenting and blending skills to decode words. Some children will move on to Phase 4 if they are ready by the end of the Summer term.
Children are encouraged to read at home regularly. 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.
We use the ‘Talk 4 Writing’ process to help develop young, imaginative, creative and effective writers. Talk 4 Writing supports children’s confidence to communicate through speech and develops their vocabulary. It starts with the enjoyment of sharing story books as well as information texts, this is known as the imitation phase. It then goes on to develop the children’s writing through the innovation phase where children create their own versions of parts of the text before moving onto the invention phase, this is where the children write their own version of a text based upon the model used.
This process encourages children to develop a love of writing as well as being a creative and exciting way to develop and accelerate children’s learning with their writing.
Children develop a love of maths through games, songs, rhymes, and play using concrete manipulatives and pictorial structures and representations which are then rehearsed applied and recorded within their own child-led exploration. There is 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. We follow the White Rose Maths Scheme of work, which is enhanced with activities from NRICH and NCETM alongside other reliable resources. High quality learning environments and meaningful interactions with adults help develop mathematical thinking. Children have daily, ‘Maths Moments’ and ‘Number of the Week/Day’ to develop fluency, revisit key concepts and address misconceptions.
Our wider curriculum is taught through the learning areas; ‘Understanding of the World’ and
‘Expressive Arts and Design.’ Exciting, purposeful and contextual activities are planned to build on children’s natural curiosity. For example, building a boat for their favourite toy enables them to think like a ‘Scientist’ and ‘Engineer’ as they explore a range of materials and test out their own ideas. Building further on our communication and talking focus, children will be encouraged to employ subject specific language and terminology in foundation subjects, and such vocabulary will be modelled, both verbally and orally, by supporting practitioners.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, with further support and challenge for some children through a range of additional interventions groups. This includes, for example, sessions for developing speech and language, ‘Talk Boost programme’, ‘Cool Kids’, social skills, nurture, fine motor skills, phonics, and mathematics. In addition, we have children with EHCPs and Support Plans, where bespoke plans have identified that learning may need to take place away from the classroom, due to a variety of needs.
Regular monitoring of teaching and learning by school leaders ensures staff development, with specific training to develop practice and provision.
Prior to children starting, staff spend time speaking to the previous settings and read previous learning journeys and speak to parents to gain an understanding of the whole child and where they are at. EYFS staff assess children’s progress using the statutory ‘Baseline Assessment’ at the beginning of the year. This assessment focuses on ‘Language, Communication and Literacy,’ and ‘Mathematics.’ A child’s progress is tracked throughout the year as children move towards the key end points (Early Learning Goals). This information is tracked in a range of ways, including literacy and maths books, tapestry and learning journey’s. The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) is completed at the end of Reception year and children are assessed to be working at ‘emerging’ or ‘expected’ for all 17 Early Learning Goals.
Formative assessment takes place with ongoing observations, these are used to inform weekly planning and identify children’s next steps. Staff build on the knowledge they have of the child through discussions with children and each other. Photographs, observations, captured children’s comments and the child’s drawing and mark making help inform staff of progress and are uploaded onto the Tapestry program to inform next steps.
Phonic assessments are carried out every half term to check a child’s progress toward clear end points. Smooth transition processes and learning progression documents are in place to support children as they move into Key Stage 1. Children leave the EYFS stage with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey as scientists, historians, artists and geographers.
Woodfield's EYFS Curriculum Planning
Throughout the year, our teachers plan an exciting, hands on curriculum for the children in Early Years. In EYFS, learning follows the children's interests, therefore, though the main learning will remain the same each year, the contexts for learning will change depending on the interested of each cohort.
Each half term, we send out a parents' planner. These A3 sheets take the contexts for learning and develop them, showing what children are learning in all areas of the curriculum. They also give parents ideas for family visits that link to what children are learning in school and enables parents to support their childs' learning at home. An example of the planners can be seen here:
Parents have told us that these planners are helpful to bring about discussions with their children about what they are learning at school. They also enable parents to carry out any out of school learning with their children. We don't set photocopiable sheets as homework for children as we believe that these are of extremely limited benefit in moving children's learning on. Instead, we prefer that parents discuss what their children are learning in school (using the planners as above) and extend their learning further. For example, when children are learning about dinosaurs, you could visit Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery or The Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre and explore what dinosaurs looked like, how dinosaurs lived, what they looked like etc. Visits such as these really promote the speaking and listening skills of the children and give them the confidence to come into school and share what they have found out.
Further examples of these planners can be found below:
Early Learning Goals
These early learning goals are the expected level of achievement by the end of Reception. At the end of the year we use these goals to assess your child’s level of development. If they are confident and secure within these goals they are assessed as expected. If they are working towards these goals they are emerging and if they are working above these goals they are exceeding. These assessments are based on what the child can do independently.