The period from age three to the end of the Reception year is described as the Early Years Foundation Stage. It is a distinct stage and important both in its own right and in preparing children for later schooling.
At Chestnut Park Primary School, we currently have one cohort of Early Years children. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum where learning encourages children to develop into independent, happy and confident children who have a desire to learn and play. Children have access to an indoor and outdoor environment at Chestnut Park and benefit from the facilities including the large hall, playing field and Forest School area.
Our EYFS curriculum ensures we are able to meet the individual needs of every child within our school. The principles that guide the work in the EYFS are grouped into four themes:
- A unique child
- Positive relationships
- Enabling environments
- Learning and development
At Chestnut Park, we use the EYFS curriculum to identify the Characteristics of Effective Learning. This shows us how each child engages with other people and their environment, how they play and explore, if they are active learners and if they are creating and thinking critically. We have a balance of adult initiated and adult directed tasks as part of our curriculum offer to ensure that children make the best possible progress. We also use the Leuven Scale to help us to gain a deep understanding of children’s emotional wellbeing and involvement. The Leuven Scale is a five-point scale that allows childcare practitioners to measure children’s ’emotional well-being’ and ‘involvement’ – two vital components of learning, development and progress in children. This is particularly useful when children first start school but is also used throughout the year.
We make observations of children’s learning which enable us to move learning forward in a way which is appropriate to each child’s stage in their development.
We record observations using the online assessment tool Tapestry which captures these precious and valuable moments and allows the adults to link these to the stages of development in Development Matters. This non-statutory guidance material supports adults in the EYFS in implementing the statutory requirements of the EYFS. Parents and carers are able to access Tapestry at home to respond to learning that has been put on there and also to document home experiences.
EYFS at Chestnut Park
We provide a high quality, inclusive education for all pupils by providing a relevant curriculum led by practitioners who understand the specialist nature of early years’ practice. Learning activities and opportunities value the inquisitive nature of the pupil and allow them to develop as autonomous learners, showing initiative and independence. The importance of play is recognised in all aspects of pupils’ learning and a curriculum is provided which covers all areas of a pupil’s development.
A learning environment is created where emotional wellbeing is seen as paramount to successful learning. Past learning is valued and used as a basis to plan for future progress. Individual differences are acknowledged and all pupils treated equally, regardless of age, attainment, ethnicity, gender, language and special educational needs.
Parental contribution is valued and used to establish an atmosphere of trust and respect between home and school.
There is a flexible approach to learning which allows activities that encourage pupils to develop the characteristics of ‘Exceptional Learners.’
Opportunities are created to enable children to develop language skills i.e. fluency, coherence and understanding by providing opportunities to ‘talk’, as well as access to language through stories, songs and rhymes.