Early Years Foundation stage
It is our aim that the children who enter our EYFS develop physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally whilst embedding a positive attitude to school and a love of learning. Our curriculum and daily practice are responsive to the children’s interests and needs and ambitious. Our learning is based upon the standards set in the statutory EYFS Framework (2024) and supported by the non-statutory guidance of Development Matters (2024) alongside knowledge of our children, families and local communities. This knowledge is interwoven in the seven Areas of Learning and Development, appropriately preparing them for the start of Reception and then for the start of Year 1 and the National Curriculum. All children will be supported to ensure progress towards meeting the end of Reception Early Learning Goals (ELGs) and. We believe that all children deserve to be valued as an individual and we are passionate in allowing all children to achieve their full, unique potential.
Northwick Park Trust Early Years Foundation Stage Overview
Communication & Language
Personal, Social & Emotional
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts & Design
Communication and language is integral to our everyday practice. Primarily through conversation with adults, and each other, children develop communication skills, explore and extend vocabulary, have shared experiences and deepen understanding.
High quality questioning is used during sessions to encourage elaboration, clarity of thinking and an improved understanding and use of vocabulary. Thought provoking questions are used to challenge children’s thinking.
Through various sized groups and contexts, including circle time, show and tell and ‘wow moments’ children learn to pay attention to, respond to and question what they hear and see.
Children listen and share regularly with their peers and staff so that, over time, their communication skills develop within a familiar and safe environment.
Well planned adult directed activities, along with child-led play, enable the development of children’s vocabulary, along with their ability to communicate clearly and confidently.
Our main priority is to ensure our pupils feel happy, secure and supported. We aspire for every child to develop a good understanding of themselves and others so that they can thrive in nursery and prepare them for school.
Our focus is on promoting self- awareness and self-regulation, as well as enabling positive relationships and friendships. Adults facilitate this by supporting children to follow class and school rules and modelling good behaviour. Children’s achievements are regularly celebrated to instill a sense of self worth and a confidence in their abilities.
Independence and self-care are promoted and developed over time. Children are encouraged to show resilience and confidence in their approach to new challenges and are well supported by a team of highly experienced staff to achieve their goals.
Children are taught the importance of regular exercise and its effect on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. They take part in daily physical development activities to support their fine and gross motor skills.
Children are given opportunities to develop their fine motor skills through the use of a range of tools and activities within sessions, continuous provision and interventions.
Children’s lunches are fully supported by staff to encourage and promote the correct use of cutlery.
Children have access to an outdoor area within which they can explore the climbing frame, play throwing and catching games and explore ways to move. The activities are well-planned and varied to suit the needs of all children and aid development.
The development of phonological awareness is a key priority in nursery. Children are involved in activities which help them to explore the following aspects; environmental sounds, rhyme and rhythm, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting. Systematic synthetic phonics is taught through Read Write Inc. daily sessions.
Books are used as teaching tools, to enhance vocabulary, understanding of language and for pleasure. Adults model storytelling using texts, their imaginations and real-life experiences in various contexts.
Children have the opportunity to tell their own stories through small-world, role play and story sequencing.
Reading for pleasure is encouraged through the use of the teacher’s special book box and through daly story time.
Writing opportunities are incorporated in daily sessions. Resources are always available within the environment to encourage spontaneous mark making; children’s attempts and creativity are celebrated.
Maths is everywhere! Activities are well planned to build on and develop children’s learning. Through a wide range of resources, children are encouraged to explore maths within their play.
During sessions, children use a combination of concrete manipulatives, pictorial representations and abstract ideas to deepen their understanding of number. Children are encouraged to talk through problems, learning and using new mathematical vocabulary and developing their reasoning and problem-solving skills.
They actively learn to sort, explore, compare, count, calculate, describe, subitise and manipulate numbers through the physical resources and activities in their environment.
Pupils are also given opportunities to develop their spatial reasoning and understanding of measure with activities such as obstacle courses and exploration of sand and water.
Children are encouraged to understand number and counting in everyday contexts.
Children are given experiences to help develop their awareness, understanding, respect and appreciation of a world beyond and before themselves.
Children are encouraged to notice similarities and differences between living things, environments and other aspects of the natural world.
Seasonal walks within the school Forest School area allow children to discover seasonal changes in nature.
Children learn about similarities and differences in cultures, customs and periods of time through visits from family and community members, as well as a permanent domestic role play.
Celebrations from different cultures and religions are taught to encourage children to recognise that people have different beliefs and celebrate special times in different ways.
We believe that creative expression is a vital outlet for developing children’s self-esteem, confidence and individuality.
We provide children with a range of resources and tools to facilitate this through sessions.
Children have the opportunity to share their creations and receive peer support.
Children learn stories, rhymes, poems and songs. Children take an active part in our whole school summer Picnic.
Small world and role play activities are provided to encourage children to create and tell their own stories. Mark making is encouraged within the role play area to highlight to the children how texts is used within our daily lives.
Planning for learning in the EYFS
In planning and guiding children’s activities, both indoors and outdoors we reflect on the different ways that children learn and the characteristics of effective teaching and learning, we introduce characters to the children to enable them to develop an understanding of how they are learning.
• Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’ with ‘Go For It Gorilla’
• Active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements ‘Persevering Parrot’
• Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things. ‘Creative Chameleon’
Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching and small group sessions during the day. The timetable changes throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of the children. Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ of experiences that are carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas.
The Wider Curriculum
At Leigh Beck we believe that the mental health and well-being of our children is of paramount importance. We have been awarded the 'School Wellbeing Award. Through the EYFS and into Key Stage One, children follow the 'Jigsaw' scheme. This is a comprehensive program to help support children in building resilience with an emphasis on emotional literacy.
In the EYFS we also enrich the curriculum with activities and events such as forest school, cooking, the reading café, and visits from local people who help us (including Police Officers, Postal Workers and Paramedics). We have enriched our curriculum with visits from the Dinosaur dome, Familiar Friends and a trip to the zoo.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of additional interventions and support for children who may require additional support such as sessions for developing speech and language, social skills, fine motor skills, phonics, and mathematics.
Ongoing Observations and Assessment in the EYFS
All ongoing observations are used to inform weekly planning and identify children’s next steps throughout the Nursery and Reception classes. This formative assessment does not involve prolonged periods of time away from the children and excessive paperwork. Practitioners draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgements through discussions with other practitioners, photographs, and physical examples such as a child’s drawing to track progress in small steps. Ongoing assessments inform decisions concerning next steps, continuous, enhanced, and focused provision for the children to ensure they build on current knowledge and skills at a good pace.
Phonic and reading assessments are completed in Reception each half-term, the focus is on helping children to keep up with expected levels of progress. Where assessments indicate they may require additional support, 1:1 fast track support will be implemented in school which provides precise gap teaching and opportunities to revisit, practise, remember and then apply phonic knowledge to build fluency of reading.
In the Autumn Term all Reception Children take part in the Reception Baseline Assessment. This is carried out 1:1 with their class teacher so they are familiar to the children. During the Summer Term for Reception, the EYFSP is completed where teachers will judge whether the child has met each of the 17 ELG’s. They will be assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected’.
We strive to ensure that children's progress across the EYFS curriculum is good and that children reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception. We also strive for children to achieve 'Good Level of Development' at the end of Reception as they move into Key Stage One.
If you have any questions regarding our EYFS please speak to your child’s teacher or Mrs Smith.