Early Years Foundation Stage
At Whitehall we believe that there is potential in all children and that in the right setting with the right experiences all children can achieve.
At Whitehall we believe in these four overarching principles:
- Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
- 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/or carers.
- Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
The Statutory Framework for Early Years specifies there are seven areas of learning and at Whitehall we ensure exposure for all children to these areas, in all elements of their learning experiences and environment. Our curriculum is designed to meet all areas of the curriculum in a thorough, sequenced way to ensure children build and deepen the foundations of their early learning.
The seven areas of learning are
Prime areas of learning:
- Communication and language.
- Physical development.
- Personal, social and emotional development.
Specific areas of learning:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
The framework also details the characteristics of effective learning. These underpin achievement in the prime and specific areas of learning and play a central role in a child becoming an effective learner. At Whitehall Nursery and Infant School, our curriculum is centered on providing opportunities to develop these characteristics in all areas. The characteristics are as follows:
By playing and exploring:
- Finding out and exploring
- Using what they know in their play
- Being willing to have a go
Through active learning:
- Being involved and concentrating
- Keeping on trying
- Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
By creating and thinking critically:
- Having their own ideas
- Using what they already know to learn new things
- Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways
Because we understand that children develop and learn in different ways, we ensure that different strategies are used so that all children can make excellent progress. This includes whole class taught sessions, small group work, withdrawal groups with TA support, child-initiated learning where staff step into their learning to deepen understanding and offer further challenge.
Our intent is that all children will develop their knowledge and skills across the curriculum to set them up for future success in their learning, having built a deep, secure understanding of the foundations of curriculum learning. We aim for all children to be ready to continue their school journey on the National Curriculum by the end of their Reception year.
We have structured our curriculum in EYFS around core literary texts and themed topics to engage and structure learning in a precise and succinct way. Each half-term children engage with a varied range of high-quality texts and all areas of learning are woven into these themes (see curriculum framework for further details). Every half-term children have a continuous access to five books called our ‘favourite five’ in addition to topic based texts, which children get to know really well and this helps them to develop their vocabulary and understanding of core story structures. Each week children have sessions with ‘Rainbow’ a professional musician who leads a music class to inspire and engage their learning further.
The day-to day offer for our children is that all children, every day get one taught session for Literacy and Maths, one outdoor lesson where they are able to initiate and ignite their learning in a free, outdoor setting and an afternoon for child-initiated learning which is centered around their own interests, passions. Children have RML (structured phonics) four times weekly in ability groupings.
The Reception cohort is structured into three classes of 30 with a teacher and teaching assistant assigned to each class. This ensures that adults and children can form positive, consistent relationships which enables the best learning to take place.
The impact of our EYFS curriculum is reflected in having happy, confident children who are ready to transition into Year One.
We measure progress and children’s learning through formative and summative assessment which are based on the teacher’s knowledge of the child, children’s writing books and their digital learning journeys on Tapestry (including both photographs and videos). We aim to meet the National expectation for children achieving GLD (good level of development). Most of our children make more than good progress from their starting points in EYFS.
We ensure our judgements and assessments in schools are accurate by moderating them across the EYFS team, with SLT and with other schools and the local authority at moderating events.