Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
At English Martyrs, we aim to provide motivating first-hand experiences that are memorable whilst encouraging children to build resilience, ambition and a lifelong love of learning. We aim to build on the wealth of knowledge and skills each individual child already has when they arrive and take them on a learning journey that they build upon in KS1 and beyond.
Curious – we strive to learn
We recognise that all children are unique, celebrating and welcoming differences within our school community. We encourage children to ask questions and enquire about the world and themselves.
Aspirational – we want to grow
Our curriculum is child centred following the interests and fascinations of the children in the current year group so that each child can grow to be the best that they can be.
Engaged – we love to learn
We are passionate about children leading and being engrossed and enjoying their learning. We aim to embed language based on the characteristics of effective learning.
We aim to:
- Provide a curriculum that offers children a wide range of opportunities ensuring that we do not expect children to aspire to things they have never encountered. We will work on broadening their experiences providing opportunities to try new things and encouraging them to relish a new challenge without fear.
- Provide high expectations encouraging them to develop perseverance and self-belief so that they can problem solve and achieve far more than they expected.
- Provide a learning environment that helps children achieve their potential and support those who need additional help in order to maximise their chances of achieving the Early Learning Goals.
- Provide children opportunities to develop their sense of wellbeing and ability to regulate their feelings so that they feel confident in our community and are equipped with all the tools they need to transition to Year 1 effectively.
- Develop the skills and expertise of staff working in EYFS through regular and comprehensive professional development either run by the EYFS Lead or attending courses run by other providers.
We use the statutory EYFS framework and the non-statutory Development Matters as the basis for their curriculum, planning activities that cover both the prime and specific areas. We have spent time breaking down the steps of learning to progress to children achieving the Early Learning Goals. We mostly plan via themes and books and provide children with planned activities as well as opportunities for them to develop, explore and learn through play and imagination and build upon their prior knowledge and interests.
We have three main learning environments: the classroom, practical area and the outdoor area. Each area is carefully planned with adult led, enhanced and continuous provision activities. The aim is to be build upon what the children already know and to build upon what has been taught in whole class and small group sessions. Resources are used to help challenge the children and encourage them to try new things. We aim to make all activities accessible to all children. The activities encourage children to work alone or collaborate as part of a group. We encourage children to live out their own experiences and to imagine and create imaginary worlds. We encourage and support them to learn and explore other people’s experiences and beliefs whilst respecting others and their feelings.
In addition to these three main learning environments, we use the Forest School area with a trained Forest School leader. Here the children can learn about the natural environment whilst developing self-confidence, resilience, self-regulation, sense of achievement, problem solving skills and perseverance.
In all environments, we encourage children by supporting and modelling the play and language and give the children many opportunities to use new vocabulary taught and modelled. We praise and model good behaviour and have high expectations. We also reward and encourage our values of: being engaged, curious and aspirational as well as kindness and also the Catholic ethos and beliefs.
On entry to Reception, the practitioners make a judgement about the children’s stage of development. This is through a variety of independent, small group and individual tasks as well as through conversations with the child and their parents/carers. From this point the children’s progress is continually discussed within the team. All practitioners feedback both formally and informally about the children they have worked with. We track the children holistically as ‘on track’ or not ‘on track’ however, we look very closely at those not ‘on track’ to see where we can add further support. Although this is recorded each term we do not wait to add support or intervention to individuals who we have noticed require further support.
Progress towards the ELGs is closely tracked through conversations with the children and observations made while the children are working both independently and with an adult. Judgements are made in partnership with all practitioners who work with the children and parents are updated termly.
The impact of a well planned and resourced EYFS curriculum leads to happy children with the tools to access the year 1 curriculum. They will have the self-regulation, language and communication skills to transition into year 1 and beyond. They will be able to use the values of: being curious, engaged and aspirational to access the KS1 curriculum, but also to develop as an individual both in school and in the community having social, emotional and academic skills that will be built upon throughout their lives at English Martyrs and beyond.