Hi! I am Mrs Mills, and I am Early Years Leader here at Hayfield Lane.
We are really passionate about our children having the best start to their school journey with us, and are constantly striving to make sure we get it right for the children. How we intend to do this and carry it out is outlined below, as well as some of our documents that show how we implement this:
In the Early Years at Hayfield Lane, we work in partnership with parents and carers to provide the best possible start to children’s school journeys, ensuring every child reaches their full potential from their various starting points, recognising children’s prior learning from their previous settings and experiences from home.
Our curriculum has been designed to enable children to succeed through cooperative and collaborative learning principles, where we provide first hand learning experiences whilst allowing children to take risks, build resilience and be themselves. We recognise that each child is an individual and has the right to feel safe, secure, and supported in order for them to shine and believe in themselves and their abilities to achieve academically and become successful lifelong learners.
Within the Nursery curriculum we prioritise personal, social and emotional development and language skills. Our environment enables warm skilful interactions to support children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. As pupils move into Reception, we enable children to become reflective learners, aiming high and fostering a love of reading, writing and number through a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities through investigations and meaningful cross curricular links and experiences. We offer children extended periods of play and sustained thinking, with a mixture of adult led opportunities and those guided by children’s interests and ideas, building the base for our learning. We value imagination and creativity and want to foster a culture of curiosity and fascination in learning through our indoor and outdoor provision, Wanderlust days, trips, and half termly parent events.
Each half term, children embark on a learning experience with a new theme to provide inspiration for learning, whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas. Staff ask children what they would like to find out surrounding the theme the term before and this is the basis for planned activities. Children then learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities to progress their skills and knowledge across the curriculum.
This learning is underpinned by the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and work towards the Early Learning Goals. The 7 areas of learning are:
· Personal, Social and Emotional Development
· Physical Development
· Communication and Language
· Understanding the World
· Expressive Arts and Design
The core aim of the Foundation Stage (EYFS) is to provide a strong and solid platform. To aid the early development of our children, we believe that they should develop the three prime areas first which begins with our youngest children in nursery. As children grow and progress, the prime areas will support them to develop skills in the four specific areas.
Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. Our outdoor areas are used all year round and in most weather conditions. Our timetable is carefully thought out so that children have periods of directed teaching as well as extended periods of play during the day. It is, however, extremely flexible and changes throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of the children.
Subject knowledge of the EYFS curriculum is strong among all practitioners and is used to plan a broad, balanced and progressive learning environment and curriculum for all of our pupils. During the school day, children will have an opportunity to work independently, work collaboratively with their friends and with members of staff, and all children engage in a mixture of whole class and small group work. This means that staff can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback to close gaps and move children’s learning on quickly. Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we also have carefully planned for interventions for any child who may need a little extra support, or are ready to deepen their learning further. This includes NELI (Nuffield Early Language Intervention) and personalised RWI sessions for children who may learn in a different way. Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in exploration throughout the variety of experiences planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas.
We ensure activities support the Characteristics of Effective Learning to ensure learning takes place. These are:
Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things, and have a go.
Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.
Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.
To really foster these characteristics and enable all children to access learning in a range of ways, including ‘Wanderlust days’ which both Nursery and Reception embark upon once a week. These days give children the opportunity to be truly immersed in nature; giving them the time and space to reflect and piece together what they have done. Children are encouraged to be hands-on and engaging with their curiosity, taking risks (whilst managing their own safety) making links, being free, curious and the leaders in their learning.
We provide regular opportunities for parents and carers to come into school and support their child, share their learning and celebrate successes. Reading for Pleasure books are sent home weekly to ensure all children have a high quality text at home that they can share with their families, promoting a love of reading and stories. We keep parents informed on our learning through weekly Seesaw newsletters and class pages on our school website. We also meet termly with parents to ensure children’s learning and development through the EYFS is happy and allows them to excel with the support needed. This collaboration includes transition sessions, nursery and home visits, stay and play sessions (Nursery), parent inspire workshops, parent consultation evenings and meetings as well as more frequent informal communication to suit individual families.
Our children have varied and diverse starting points, therefore we have high expectations to ensure that all children make good progress across all areas of the EYFS curriculum. We strive for children to reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception and to be at least in line with National Expectations.
We measure pupils who are on track or not on track throughout the academic year, providing specific supportive interventions for children who may need it (including NELI and Speech Link). Class teachers use their practitioner knowledge, conversations with staff, pictures and children’s work to make formative assessments which inform future planning and ensure that all children build on their current knowledge and skills at a good pace. Summative assessment ensures that we keep track of all children, and that skills are covered progressively in line with wherever children are currently working, outlining next steps and ensuring rates of progress are good for all children. We have moderations both in-house and externally with local schools to ensure we are having a range of professional conversations around our judgements. In Summer Term 2, the EYFSP is completed where teachers judge whether children have met each of the 17 Early Learning Goals. They will be assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected.’
In phonics, we follow the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme and as such assessments are completed every 8 weeks to track children’s progress and move them on. These are fluid and if teachers feel that children need more time, or are ready earlier then assessment, time frames change to accommodate this.
The impact of our curriculum is also measured by how effectively it helps our children develop into well rounded individuals who embody our school values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable future citizens.
Children make strong progress academically, emotionally, creatively, socially and physically. Knowledge, understanding and skills are secured and embedded so that children succeed and are fully prepared for their new year group as we endeavour for all children to be first Reception, and then Year One ready. EYFS staff have a good understanding of how the ELG’s link to the National Curriculum, and through our robust planning and delivery across the spectrum of subjects, children leave the EYFS with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey as readers, writers, mathematicians, scientists, historians, artists and geographers.