EYFS Curriculum

Our nursery and reception follow the curriculum as outlined in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) document. We use this framework and the Development Matters Guidance to support our bespoke and ambitious curriculum.

The EYFS framework includes seven areas of learning and development, all of which are seen as important and interconnected. Three of the areas are referred to as the prime areas. These are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving. The prime areas are strengthened and applied through the further four areas which are referred to as the specific areas.

We enrich the Early Years Framework with our ‘aspirational curriculum’ to enhance the experience and opportunities available to the children. This includes special events and celebrations, memorable experiences, themes selected to drive the curriculum and the PSHE snakes’ scheme. Our teaching of synthetic phonics is based on the Read Write Inc scheme and our teaching of mathematics is guided by the White Rose Maths Hub.

The prime areas are:

Communication and languageListening, attention and understanding speaking
Personal, social and emotional developmentSelf-regulation managing self building relationships
Physical developmentFine motor gross motor

The specific areas are:

LiteracyComprehension word reading writing
MathematicsNumbers numerical patterns  
Understanding the worldPast and present people, culture and communities
Expressive arts and designCreating with materials being imaginative and expressive

Learning through play underpins our approach to teaching and learning in the foundation stage. We embrace the fact that young children learn best from activities and experiences that interest and inspire them to learn.

Therefore, we follow the Early Excellence Pedagogy and we have environments that provide continuous provision. Continuous provision starts in our nursery where the classroom and outdoors are set up with learning areas. Each learning area has cross-curricular resources, which children can access independently throughout the day.

Reception classrooms and outdoor area are also set up with areas of learning, offering continuous provision to build upon and deepen experiences and learning from nursery. Continuous provision provides children with stimulating, active play to encourage creative and critical thinking alongside other children, as well as on their own.

Children are able to practice skills, build upon and revisit prior learning and experiences at their own level and pace. Play gives our children the opportunity to pursue their own interest, inspire those around them and consolidate their understanding and skills. The children learn to adapt, negotiate, communicate, discuss, investigate and ask questions. Our adults take an active role in child-initiated play through observing, modelling and questioning. They teach and extend play whilst developing skills and language. We understand that outdoor play is of equal importance as indoor play and that the outdoor classroom offers children ‘bigger’, ‘louder’ and ‘messier’ experiences. We therefore aim to offer maximum opportunities for children to access to our outdoor learning areas throughout the school day.

The EYFS also includes the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ which help practitioners identify a child’s attitude to learning and their ability to play, explore and think critically about the world around them. The three characteristics are;

  • Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’
  •  Active learning - children concentrate and keep trying if they encounter difficulties, they enjoy achievements
  •  Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things

We ensure there is a balance of child- initiated learning through continuous provision, and adult led activities, across the school day. Although much of the time is spent with children self-selecting tasks, the interaction between the adult and child is essential.  

The adults respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction. The adult’s role is to continually model, demonstrate and question what the child is doing. In some cases, the adult will ask a child to complete a task with them; at other times they will participate in the child’s play, extending it where possible. We see our Early Years staff as “co-adventurers”.

There are set routines that we follow each day. There are designated times when the children come together to be taught and we focus on math’s, literacy, phonics, stories and topic work. These times provide the opportunity for children to develop their ability to work as a group to listen, to take turns, to answer and concentrate.

Whole class reading and story time are important parts of the day. We want our children to develop of life- long love of reading. Children are exposed to a wide range of both fiction and non-fiction texts to provide them with opportunities to hear and use new vocabulary.

We imitate, innovate and invent stories through a Talk for Writing approach as we want our children to leave the EYFS knowing stories, both traditional and modern well. We make sure there is always time for a whole class story during the day, as well as opportunities to enjoy books within the continuous provision.

In Reception every child is provided with their own book bag and will receive a ’reading’ book once a week. In school they will share this book with an adult either on a one to one basis or in a group. They will also have the opportunity to select a book for enjoyment from the school library on a weekly basis.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum provides the basis for planning in our Nursery and Reception classes (Foundation Stage). The planning objectives within the Foundation Stage are supported by the Development Matters Statements from the Early Years Foundation Stage document. Our planning is based upon themes with discrete lessons in phonics, reading, writing and maths. Practitioners select themes according to children’s interests, experiences and prior learning. Progress and curriculum coverage are monitored half-termly. Each learning area in the classrooms and outdoor areas have provision plans, which identify learning opportunities and suggested enhancements. Staff reflect on the different ways that children learn and include these in their practice. They also respond to children’s social and emotional needs as well as their academic achievement.

At Packmoor Ormiston Academy, ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development processes. Practitioners observe pupils to identify their level of achievement, interests and learning styles. These observations are then used to inform future planning. Observations and assessments are recorded on children’s online learning journeys which parents can access. At the end of the EYFS (end of reception), practitioners complete the EYFS profile (Statutory requirement) for each child. Pupils are assessed against the 16 early learning goals, indicating whether they are;

  • ‘Expected’ - meeting expected levels of development
  • ‘Emerging’ - not yet reaching the expected levels of development

Children’s development levels are assessed as the year progresses. If a child’s progress in any of the prime areas gives cause for concern, practitioners will discuss this with the child’s parents/carers and agree how to support the child.

We believe that education is a shared responsibility between school and home. We therefore work very closely to ensure that parents/carers are involved in their child’s education, and provide them with a weekly newsletter and termly targets, detailing what we are learning and how they can support their child at home. We ensure that parents and carers are kept up to date with their child’s progress and development, through online learning journeys and parents’ evenings. We understand the importance of parents and carers views, so provide opportunities for feedback throughout the school year. We offer workshops to provide parents with an insight into how we teach specific areas of the Early Years Curriculum, detailing ways in which they can support their child’s learning at home. These sessions also give parents and carers the opportunity to work with their child in the school environment.

It is important to us that all children in the school are safe. Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them. We educate children on the importance of boundaries, rules and limits and we encourage them to become responsible for their own behaviour by supporting them to make the right choices. We teach the children how to recognise and manage risks in a supervised learning environment. We aim to protect the physical and mental well-being of all children.

Please refer to our school’s policies: Safeguarding and Behaviour for Learning for further information.

We recognise that every child is unique and that they develop and learn in different ways and at varying rates. We want all of our children to develop a positive attitude to learning and therefore we strive for our children to become curious, resilient and self-assured in order to prepare them for the next stage of education, laying secure foundations for future learning and development.