Early Years Foundation Stage

North Ealing Primary School

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

1. AIMS OF THE FOUNDATION STAGE

  • To provide children with a safe and nurturing learning environment
  • To allow children to explore their own ideas and interests
  • To support children in developing key skills and knowledge through the Characteristics of Effective Learning and the Prime and Specific Areas of Learning and Development
  • To work in partnership with parents to enable each child to achieve to their highest potential

This policy is based on requirements set out in the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) that applies from September 2021.

2. FOUNDATION STAGE KEY PRINCIPLES

The key principles that underpin practice in the Early Years Foundation Stage:

  • Unique Child: ‘Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be capable, confident and self-assured.
  • Positive Relationships: ‘Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.’
  • Enabling Environments: ‘Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.’
  • Learning and Development: ‘Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.’

3. TEACHING AND LEARNING

Teaching and learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage is a carefully planned balance of direct teaching, small group learning experiences and child-initiated play. Effective teaching and learning rely on planning that is informed by observational assessments of children’s learning and interests.

As children grow older, and as their development allows, the balance gradually shifts towards more adult-led activities to help children prepare for more formal learning, ready for Year 1.

3.1 The Learning Environment

Across the foundation stage the learning environment:

  • Reflects the children within the class, for example through displays and selection of resources for play
  • Is safe and welcoming
  • Allows the children to develop independence in selecting resources
  • Celebrates children’s achievements and interests
  • Includes both indoor and outdoor learning spaces
  • Reflects the seven areas of learning
  • Supports parents in developing their understanding of teaching and learning in the foundation stage, for example through sharing weekly themes and learning intentions

3.2 The Role of Adults

ADULTS:

  • Build positive relationships with children
  • Work in partnership with parents.
  • Support and extend children’s learning through play.
  • Make regular observations of children’s learning to assess their progress and inform future planning.
  • Make ongoing formative assessments through observations, assessment and planning.
  • Make summative assessments and share findings with parents at the end of the EYFS in the EYFS profile.
  • Keep records of children’s progress.
  • Write a comprehensive report about the child at the end of each academic year.
  • Meet with parents at least twice a year at parent’s evenings.
  • Set targets for pupil achievement across the year.

4. CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING

We support the children in engaging and learning with other people and their environment through playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically. We believe that these characteristics underpin all learning and development.

5. THE CURRICULUM

Our early years setting follows the curriculum as outlined in the latest version of the EYFS statutory framework that applies from September 2021.

The EYFS framework includes 7 areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected. However, 3 areas known as the prime areas are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.

The prime areas are:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development

The prime areas are strengthened and applied through 4 specific areas:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

5.1 PRIME AREAS OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

5.1.1 Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Self-Regulation
  • Managing Self
  • Building Relationships

We support children in developing independence, self-confidence, perseverance, social skills, appropriate and reflective behaviour and self-control, respect for the views, needs, cultures and beliefs they hold and those of others. In-line with the whole school approach EYFS promote and embed the NEPS Learning Values: Creative, Harmonious, Independent, Lifelong Learner, Determined to do our best, Responsible and Respectful, Engaged & Nurturing.

Adults support children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development on a daily basis by responding to their individual needs and circumstances.

Children’s wellbeing and involvement are monitored through daily interaction with a range of adults.
Children will also be taught how to care for themselves, including personal hygiene such as toileting and hand-washing. Children will be supported in learning to dress and undress where appropriate.

A snack of fruit, milk and water is available daily and the children will be encouraged to become confident in selecting their own healthy snack. Drinking water is constantly available throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Parents are advised about healthy and appropriate lunches at the introduction meetings. These can be a packed lunch or a cooked meal provided by ISS caterers (free for R-Year 2)

Support from Place2Be can be sought where appropriate.

During transition times the following strategies are used: Home visits, school visits, taster programme and a comprehensive transition programme for moving within the EYFS and entering KS1.

5.1.2. Communication and Language

  • Listening, Attention and Understanding
  • Speaking

At NES, we believe that children need to have good communication skills as a basis for all their learning and development and we are passionate about the importance of children talking and listening in a wide range of situations.

We support children in developing:

  • Confidence to speak clearly sharing their ideas
  • The ability to take turns in conversation listening and responding to the contributions of others
  • An enjoyment in language through stories, songs, rhymes and poems
  • The ability to use talk to organise, sequence and clarify their thinking, ideas, feelings and events
  • The ability to use language to imagine and recreate roles and events.

5.2 SPECIFIC AREAS OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

5.2.1 Literacy

  • Comprehension
  • Word Reading
  • Writing

In the EYFS children are encouraged to explore mark-making and early reading across the curriculum. These reading and writing skills and an enthusiasm for exploring literacy are developed through a combination of individual reading and writing, shared reading and writing, guided reading, independent reading (book areas indoors and outdoors), library
sessions and storytime. Story sessions are supported by the use of story sacks and where possible storytelling in other languages using parent volunteers. The emphasis is on the use of good quality core texts.

The Read Write Inc system for teaching synthetic phonics is followed beginning with some small group work in Nursery where appropriate. The EYFS team follow the following five key principles that underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. programme:

  • Participation – our teaching strategies ensure that all children participate fully in the whole lesson – there is no chance for children to lose concentration and miss key elements of the teaching.
  • Praise – children work together, as partners, taking turns to teach and praise one another and they are motivated by the focused praise they receive from teachers and teaching assistants.
  • Pace – a lively pace keeps all the children fully engaged.
  • Purpose – teachers know the purpose of every activity and how it leads into the next.
  • Passion – it is easy for teachers to be passionate about their teaching because they see their children make such rapid progress.

In Reception, the children are regularly assessed using the RWI criteria and adjustments are made to the groups and the teaching. The children are split into a minimum of 5 ability groups and the children receive weekly phonics homework specific to each group and there is a specific writing element to the programme which develops through sounds to words to phrases to sentences.

Children in Reception have a weekly Guided Reading session with their class teacher or EYP and the book is then taken home to share with their family. Initially the books are wordless, the children then progress to books with short sentences, in accordance to their reading ability. When Reception children can confidently blend to read words they also take home the RWI book, that they have been reading in school that week. A reading pact book system is used to communicate between home and school about reading behaviour, achievement and suggested next steps. Children in Reception are also given the opportunity to visit the school library where they can make their own choice of book to borrow.

In Nursery, the children choose a book from the class library with their parent/carer during the weekly soft start session. Nursery children visit the school library where they have the opportunity to look at a variety of books of their own choice and this is followed by a storytelling session.

The EYFS weekly newsletter which is posted on Google Classroom communicates the literacy focus to inform and encourage home learning.

5.2.2 Mathematics

  • Number
  • Numerical Patterns

We teach children in developing mathematical awareness and understanding. Adults support children’s abilities to apply their knowledge within their own child-initiated learning. Resources to support mathematical play are available at all times for children’s independent selection including number cards, number lines, shape and counting equipment. Children engage in adult-led learning experiences developing problem-solving reasoning and numeracy knowledge and skills. Children will be taught to use mathematical skills to include using numbers within 20 to add, subtract, halve and double, to name, recognise and describe 2D and 3D shapes and to have an understanding of weight, height and volume.
Mathematical skills and understanding are always developed through a cross-curricular approach to learning.

All the children in Reception are taught through Power Maths, the online maths programme in line with the rest of the school.

The EYFS weekly newsletter which is posted on Google classroom communicates the Mathematics focus to inform and encourage home learning.

5.2.3 Understanding the World

  • Past and Present
  • People, Culture and Communities
  • The Natural World

We begin to teach children about the world immediately around them and the wider world where possible through first hand practical experiences. Visits, trips, visitors, and learning in the indoor and outdoor environment will happen throughout each year. Children are taught to develop enquiry skills and learn to share their knowledge and understanding. Children will share their thoughts and knowledge about their own lives and the lives of people they know. They will relate different experiences to events that happen in the world around them.

We will encourage children to show curiosity and be keen to explore, commenting on their own observations and questioning things around them, using open-ended resources in their play and learning, making predictions and discussing and critically explaining their findings.

5.2.4 Expressive Arts and Design

  • Creating with Materials
  • Being Imaginative and Expressive

Children have opportunities to use their imagination in play, building, making and exploring in the indoor and outdoor environment. Each classroom and the outside area will have areas for free choice and planned access to a wide variety of media. Children will be taught skills in using the equipment effectively. They will be encouraged to be imaginative and creative through a range of role play experiences linked to children’s interests and topics.

Music will be used within the setting in a variety of ways, with children exploring sounds and rhythm of different instruments and musical genres. Singing and rhymes will be incorporated into children’s learning. Reception children will participate in a weekly whole school singing assembly once settled into school. Here they will share in the love of singing a repertoire of familiar and new songs.

6. PLANNING

Staff plan activities and experiences for children that enable children to develop and learn effectively. In order to do this, staff working with the youngest children are expected to focus strongly on the 3 prime areas.

Staff also take into account the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience. Where a child may have a special educational need or disability, staff consider whether specialist support is required, linking with relevant services from other agencies, where appropriate.

In planning and guiding children’s activities, staff reflect on the different ways that children learn and include these in their practice.

7. ASSESSMENT

At NEPS, ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development processes. Staff observe pupils to identify their level of achievement, interests and learning styles. These observations are used to shape future planning. Staff also take into account observations shared by parents and/or carers.

Within the first 6 weeks that a child starts reception, staff will administer the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA).

In the Reception Year, Phonics assessments are completed regularly and the groups are set accordingly.

Children are encouraged through a Plan Do Review approach to reflect on and evaluate their own effectiveness and successes. Children will begin to use simple self-assessment skills, e.g. thumbs up.

All staff working in the EYFS are required to make observations of children’s learning and progress to combine with the information gained through adult-led sessions.

At the end of the EYFS, staff complete the EYFS profile for each child. Pupils are assessed against the 17 early learning goals, indicating whether they are:

  • Meeting expected levels of development
  • Not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’)

The profile reflects ongoing observations and discussions with parents and/or carers. The results of the profile are shared with parents and/or carers for their child.

The profile is moderated internally (referring to the Development Matters guidance) and in partnership with other local schools, to ensure consistent assessment judgements. EYFS profile data is submitted to the local authority.

8. PARTNERSHIP WITH PARENTS/CARERS

We recognise that children learn and develop well when there is a strong partnership between staff and parents and/or carers. Parents/carers play a vital role in their child’s learning and development. It is the aim of all practitioners that they work with parents to achieve the best for each child.

Parents and/or carers are kept up to date with their child’s progress and development. The progress check and EYFS profile helps to provide parents and/or carers with a well-rounded picture of their child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities.

When all children begin coming to the setting a home school agreement is shared with parents/carers and signed outlining key commitments of parents/carers and the setting.

When children begin attending the setting information from parents/carers about their child is collected through an ‘All about me’ leaflet. Parents/carers can also share information verbally with the child’s key worker/teacher.

Parents/carers are encouraged to share their child’s learning journal and add to this through completing the Wow books.

Each child is assigned a key person who helps to ensure that their learning and care is tailored to meet their needs. The key person supports parents and/or carers in guiding their child’s development at home. The key person also helps families to engage with more specialist support, if appropriate. In Nursery, this is either the class teacher or EYP and in Reception this is shared between the class teacher and EYP.

Parents/carers are offered opportunities to attend parent workshops/talks to inform them about aspects of teaching and learning in the setting. There is a weekly soft finish/start session to enable the parents to join their child’s class each week.

9. SAFEGUARDING AND WELFARE PROCEDURES

We promote good oral health, as well as good health in general, in the early years by, for example by talking to children about:

  • The effects of eating too many sweet things
  • The importance of brushing your teeth

The rest of our safeguarding and welfare procedures are outlined in our safeguarding policy.

Appendix 1

List of statutory policies and procedures for the EYFS

Presented to Senior Management
Presented to Staff
The committee with oversight for this policy

Curriculum
Policy last reviewed by the Curriculum Committee
17/11/2021
Policy last ratified and adopted by Full Governing Body
17/11/2021
Policy / Document due for review
11/2024

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