Our Early Years Foundation Stage (Reception)
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning, provide first hand learning experiences, allow the children to develop interpersonal skills, build resilience and become creative, critical thinkers. Our curriculum embraces the community in which it is situated, recognising local history, heritage, geographical situation and most importantly, the aspirations of all our children.
We place great value on the development of children as individuals and providing them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage One and beyond. We use a Growth Mindset approach to promote positive attitudes to learning which reflect the values and skills needed to promote responsibility for learning and future success.
Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations rooted in academic success as well as moral and spiritual development, so that ultimately our pupils can be successful in their chosen career path, go on to be active citizens of society and happy, curious life-long learners.
Our curriculum is therefore based upon the cultural capital we know our pupils need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. They can only do that if we embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part of all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations of children.
All of these things are within our East Peckham Primary School motto of: Challenging our thinking, building our learning, and creating our future!
Our enabling environment and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. As the pupils move into Reception, we invest time and energy into helping pupils set and reflect on their own goals by aiming high and developing a love of reading, writing and number. This is delivered through a holistic curriculum (by attending to their physical, emotional, psychological, moral, and spiritual growth), which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking following children’s interests and ideas. We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through a vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips, visits and regular Forest School sessions.
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, maths and phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on physical, social and emotional development (PSED). These sessions are sometimes followed by group work where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets. This focused group time means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully 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. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning. Each week, teachers and teaching assistants reflect on three questions: “What do our focus individuals need to learn or are curious about? What embedded learning have we observed in this area? What can be changed to exploit the learning and interests of the children/individuals in this area?” In this way, we ensure that the children have agency over their environment and that the provision leads to depth of learning across the curriculum.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow the rigorous and highly successful Letters and Sounds program so that they meet good outcomes for reading with a high proportion of children passing the Year One phonics screening.
Phonics is taught daily through a mixture of the Letters and Sounds programme, the Jolly Phonics actions and songs, and the love of real books. Through stories and activities associated with these, phonic sounds are introduced to children each day in an engaging way. The phonics activities are revisited to embed over the year and supported in a range of ways.
The Early Years uses core texts as a basis for planning and usually start with an exciting hook to engage children in both the topic and the book. These texts have been chosen with a view to promoting reading for pleasure.
The English curriculum is taught using Talk for Writing in EYFS. Children develop their literacy skills by the imitation of stories that they learn using actions and story mapping techniques. They then move on to innovation of these well-known stories by including their own ideas. Children also have the opportunities to show independence in their writing by planning and writing their own stories. Literacy opportunities are also promoted in many of the continuous provision activities available to children during the week.
We follow the Maths Mastery approach in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts.
The maths curriculum is taught through daily dedicated sessions. These sessions are carefully planned using concrete resources and build on prior learning and real life experiences across the theme and year. This starts with mastering numbers 0-5 and then progresses through to 0-10 and 0-20. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional intervention and support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or moving on children who are doing very well. This includes, for example, Speech and Language Link, or additional ‘catch-up’ provision in maths and English. Staff also use ‘precision teaching’ which is a quick, on the spot intervention focused on sight words, blending and number retention with target individuals.
Our regular monitoring of teaching and learning includes coaching and feedback from the Senior Leadership Team, Phase Leader, as well as individual Subject Leaders so that teachers can develop an in-depth subject knowledge and are effectively supported.
Weekly Forest School sessions are run for children in the early years; these support a range of skills and develop their social interactions. All seven areas of learning are encompassed within these sessions and allow all children to take risks in an unpredictable environment whilst developing leadership skills and promoting mental health and wellbeing. We have a dedicated space to run these sessions and the Early Years setting has a trained ‘Forest School’ Leader.
Weekly swimming lessons in our own, school based swimming pool, are also offered as a part of our broad and balanced curriculum in the early Autumn and Summer terms. This encourages the children to learn water confidence and safety, whilst also developing many other areas of the curriculum including speaking and listening skills, moving and handling and many areas of personal, social and emotional development.
Pupils have opportunities to share their learning with their parents and carers through Tapestry. Regular ‘Stay and Play’ sessions for nursery, allow parents to join in learning activities alongside their children and share the Early Years experience. We have a Facebook page where children’s learning and successes are celebrated. Weekly newsletters are also sent home, to ensure that parents are fully aware of the skills and themes being taught each week, enabling them to continue the learning at home. The East Peckham Primary School values of Equality, Pride and Success are promoted to children to develop their understanding of diversity, tolerance and respect, as well as this, their independence, motivation and perseverance in all they do.
Home visits are offered before the children begin in September. The home visit is really all about getting to know the children, telling parents a bit more about the school set-up – and giving parents an opportunity to speak confidentially about their child’s needs and development. It’s also an opportunity for us to start to establish a relationship with your child, and hopefully means your child recognises, and is reassured by, a “friendly face” when school starts.
Children demonstrate high levels of engagement in activities, developing their speaking and listening skills, enabling them to access more areas of the learning and communicate to both adults and children. Children develop skills across all areas of the curriculum including literacy, mathematics and physical development using these in different ways.
Children have developed a wider sense of the world around them and can draw on these experiences during interactions with others and link this to new learning.
Children develop their characteristics of learning and are able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. Children are confident to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with adults drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing.
From their own starting points, children will make excellent progress academically and socially, developing a sense of themselves so that they are well prepared for Key Stage 1.
During their time in our EYFS, children make rapid progress so that we meet the national expectation for Good Level of Development (GLD) at the end of the year. Pupils also make good progress toward their age-related expectations before transitioning into year one. We believe our high standards are due to the enriched play-based exploration alongside the rigour of assessment and teaching the children experience. As they move through the early years, a rich diet of balanced learning experiences is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children.
How can I prepare my child for school?
There are a few things that you can do to prepare your child to start school in Reception. Please see the documents below. Do not worry if your child cannot do the things listed, we can support you when your child starts.
What does my child need to bring with them when they start school?
We will provide a free water bottle and free book bag which we deliver on the home visits before your child starts. Please make sure these are named clearly with first and second names and their class name.
Your child will need to be in full and named school uniform.
They will not need a PE kit at the start of the year. We will let you know when they need to start bringing one on.
A lot of learning takes place outside so a coat will be useful on those wet and cold days.
Your child will also need to bring in a pair of named welly boots that will need to stay in school. A lot of learning takes place outside in all weathers and we love our mud kitchen so welly boots are a must.
Please see Forest School page for more information on what they need to wear.
Your child may want a packed lunch rather than the universal free school meals that children in reception, year 1 and year 2 are eligible for. Please make sure that the packed lunch supports a balanced diet and there are no nuts in any food. For more information about school dinners, please see the school dinner page.
All children up to the age of 5 are eligible for free milk. When your child turns 5, you will need to pay for milk if you would like them to still have milk at snack time. Please see the cool milk page for more information. Children are provided with free fruit for a snack in reception, year 1 and year 2.