Early Years Curriculum
On this page you will find information about our EYFS curriculum; intent, implementation and impact. Information about the teaching and learning content of each half term can be found towards that bottom of the page.
Baseline Assessment Information - Autumn 2022
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 ensure that we draw upon our knowledge of child development and a number of Early Years pedagogies, to create a learning environment which is inspiring, encouraging and where children are actively involved with their learning. We want our children to: use their own initiative, develop critical thinking, gain self-confidence and be problem-solvers. We help each other to be the best we can be and ensure everybody feels a part of our Woodfield team through everyone demonstrating the behaviours stated in our motto:
‘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 to learn; an environment where every child can flourish and can become well rounded, emotionally healthy citizens. We place great value on providing children with a strong start in Reception, by ensuring that they are equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to prepare them not only for school life, but for their life beyond.
Our school values underpin everything that we do in school; these focus on kindness, respect, thankfulness, 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 jungle and our learning powers. The learning powers are: to concentrate, to be resilient, to be curious, to cooperate and to self-improve. These are skills that we feel are essential for children and adults to build resilience and become creative, critical thinkers and effective, confident learners with a passion for learning.
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, especially Understanding of the World, 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 curriculum has been developed by taking account of the non-statutory Development Matters Guidance (2021), Birth to 5 Matters the statutory EYFS Framework 2021, and the National Curriculum for KS1 and 2. It also considers the needs of our children and community. It is a progressive curriculum, with high aspirations for all, a curriculum which gives the children a broad and exciting range of learning opportunities. We draw upon a range of carefully planned themes through which clear concepts, knowledge and skills are taught and developed. The experiences, knowledge and skills gained in EYFS are built upon in Year 1 and again in Year 2.
Many of our pupils arrive in school working at a level that is typical for a 4- 5-year-old, although there are a significant number who need additional support for a wide range of reasons. Thus, for all children to thrive, we are passionate about ensuring that children feel secure, valued by the adults who work with them, and experience a curriculum that promotes joy in learning, no matter the starting point of the individual child.
Teaching and Learning
We fully embrace the Ofsted definition (Ofsted Handbook 2015) of teaching:
‘Teaching in the early years should not be taken to imply a “top down” or formal way of working. It is a broad term that covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges.’
High Quality Interactions
Throughout the day, adults are encouraged and expected to use a wide range of teaching methods to ensure the highest quality interactions whilst working with children such as:
- creating opportunities for a child to make a contribution and to make choices in their learning.
- scaffolding a child in order to support increasing independence and control.
- asking questions to check or develop a child’s understanding.
- working collaboratively as a co-player to solve problems and find answers.
- providing formative feedback to help a child consolidate or extend their exploration and thinking further.
We believe that learning starts at home and therefore value and welcome parental input at every opportunity. Great emphasis is placed on the home-school relationship and we strive to ensure that we are available to communicate and support parents in a range of ways. These include: face to face at the start/end of the day, phonecalls, parent workshops and information sessions and certificates home celebrating success. We also offer parents the chance to come in and see their children in school for events such as class assembly and sports day.
We follow our school behaviour and SEND policies when communicating to parents concerns about a child. The premise with these is to communicate concerns at the earliest point so that support can be put in place to support the family and child with the issues faced.
Communication and Language
We recognise the importance of learning how to talk and communicate effectively 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’s communication and language development 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 as a focus for a week at a time as a stimulus for learning and to 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. Children also vote for a daily class story to encourage and promote reading for pleasure.
We follow the RWI programme to ensure consistency across the school. As children move through Reception they are introduced to Set 1 and 2 sounds, where they will develop Grapheme Phone Correspondence (GPC) and segmenting and blending skills to decode words. Some children will move on to Set 3 if they are ready by the end of the summer term. Children are encouraged to read at home regularly. They are given book bag books each week that match their phonic knowledge, and online access to their group reading book. This supports them to apply their learning, with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers.
Aligned with the rest of the school, 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.
In addition to this, we also ensure that children take part in shared and guided writing activities, which expose them to a variety of genres and give them a real purpose to write. This helps to motivate them whilst allowing them to apply their phonic knowledge and skills with increasing independence.
Children develop a love of maths through games, songs, rhymes, and play using concrete manipulatives, pictorial structures and representations. We have developed our maths teaching from 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 in maths mastery lessons and Challenge Time help develop mathematical thinking. Children also experience the whole school initiatives ‘Number of the Week’ and ‘maths moments ‘ to help develop fluency, revisit key concepts and address misconceptions.
In the afternoons, we teach our theme and challenge time. Whole class theme inputs cover the 7 areas of learning, allowing depth and breadth across a half termly theme. Weekly challenges enhance our learning environment and provide exciting, purposeful and contextual activities to build on children’s natural curiosity. For example, building a boat for the Gingerbread Man to cross the river 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 during this time, and such vocabulary will be modelled by supportive practitioners.
We firmly believe that the environment is the ‘third teacher’, as such, the learning environment in and out of doors is planned effectively to meet the requirements of all areas of learning, and is well organised into clearly-defined areas.
The areas include:
• attractive and comfortable places to read;
• sand with a variety of equipment;
• water with a variety of equipment;
• mathematical and scientific equipment;
• a message centre with a variety of paper and tools to mark make or write;
• role play areas indoors and outdoors;
• a variety of creative media such as paint, collage, junk materials;
• malleable materials and equipment;
• opportunities to use technology to enhance learning e.g. iPad, interactive screen, Beebots;
• small world play areas focused on fantasy and real-life scenarios;
• a variety of outdoor play equipment which allows children to develop skills across all 7 areas of learning outside.
All areas are attractive and suitably resourced so that children are encouraged to use them and engage in purposeful, challenging activities with or without the presence of an adult. Areas will be enhanced during challenge time in response to children’s needs. Challenge clipboards display expectations for activities to support staff in providing the appropriate level of challenge / support to children in their play. Resources are organised in such a way that children are enabled to make informed choices, select independently what they need, and take responsibility for clearing away.
Visits and Visitors
- Visits and visitors are carefully planned into our themes and enhance our curriculum by enabling children to have first-hand experience of places and activities not available in school.
- They introduce children to aspects of the world around them that they may not yet have experienced.
- They contribute to the development of their confidence and independence.
- They contribute to their social development through sharing an experience with their peers.
- They can be of great benefit to their language development through discussion during and after the visit.
- They enrich children’s enjoyment of school.
- When parents take part in visits it may develop their knowledge of facilities in the area and allow them to participate more fully in aspects of their child’s education.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together as much as possible, but we have a range of additional interventions to support children with specific barriers to learning. This includes, for example, Neli; which support children whose speech and language skills are below expectation for their age. 1:1 interventions are delivered to allow children to keep up, not catch up, in their phonic knowledge and skills.
Staff will always appropriately modify learning and teaching for children with SEND. We value each child as a unique individual and are familiar with and meet all the requirements of relevant equal opportunities legislation regarding race, gender and disability. We work closely and in partnership with parents and any other involved agencies to meet the needs of our children through provision that is inclusive to all. Children with identified Special Educational needs and /or disabilities have a PCP, developed with the support of parents and any involved agencies. The SENCO monitors the progress of all children with SEND to ensure that they are benefitting from an appropriate curriculum which enables them to feel safe and secure, and to learn effectively. Where children with SEND are making poor progress, further assessment is undertaken or support sought.
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.
Prior to children starting, staff spend time speaking to the previous settings and gaining information from parents through all about me activities. EYFS staff assess children’s progress using the statutory ‘Reception Baseline Assessment’ at the beginning of the year. This assessment focuses on ‘Language, Communication and Literacy,’ and ‘Mathematics.’ A child’s progress is tracked termly as children move towards the key end points (Early Learning Goals). 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.
Phonic assessments are carried out every half term to check a child’s progress toward clear end points.
Children leave the EYFS stage with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey as: citizens, writers, mathematicians, scientists, athletes, historians, artists, performers and geographers.
During each assessment window, three times a year, teachers update the progress children have made onto Insight, which allows us to assess the impact of our curriculum and teaching and evaluate whether it has been successful.
These termly assessment points help us identify children making slow, or no progress. In termly pupil progress meetings, we identify children not on track, using the data from Insight, and specifically focus on their barriers to learning, putting actions and/or interventions in place in a timely manner.
We moderate our termly assessments through internal processes, moderation meetings with local primary schools, and with the wider school community via Trust moderation events.
Monitoring and Leadership
Regular monitoring of teaching and learning by school leaders ensures staff development, with specific training to develop practice and provision. Our regular monitoring of teaching, learning and our environment, includes regular coaching and feedback from the English team during RWI sessions. In addition, when monitoring the adult role and success of our environment, we utilise ECERS and the Leuven Scale of well-being and involvement. The Leuven scales are used to support staff in identifying children who are / are not on track, particularly in the first half term when baseline judgements are made. The Leuven scales are used to support staff in identifying children who are / are not on track, particularly in the first half term when baseline judgements are made.Tools such as these enable us to constantly reflect upon and improve the quality of teaching and learning and ultimately outcomes for our children. The phase leader also holds regular meetings with the EYFS team, which involve supervision, ongoing CPD and discussion of individual pupils and their needs. This is in addition to performance management meetings twice a year and whole school CPD, to ensure that staff are confident in supporting children within the wider school, but also within the EYFS.
Outcomes for Children
Children in the EYFS at Woodfield demonstrate positive attitudes to learning through high levels of curiosity, concentration and enjoyment. They listen and respond positively to adults and each other. Children are developing their resilience to set backs and take pride in their achievements. Children are beginning to manage their own feelings and behaviour, understanding how these have an impact on others. They are developing a sense of right from wrong. Children play and learn co-operatively, taking into account our school motto and learning jungle characters.
Factors which influence development
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.