The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (2021) is statutory and forms the basis for teaching the Reception year. This document is guided by a curriculum document called 'Development Matters'. This sets out the learning, development and assessment requirements for all children until the end of their Reception year, when the Early Learning Goals are used to make final assessments.
There are 17 Early Learning Goals which state what a child is 'expected' to be able to do by the end of the EYFS in each of the 7 areas of the curriculum. It is important to note that these ELG do not form the curriculum in Reception year but are used as a measure to assess what a child is able to do by the end of the year. Play and wellbeing are at the heart of everything we do at Leigh Primary School.
It’s important to remember that children develop in different ways and at different rates. Understanding your child’s development means understanding that children develop and learn at different rates and in different ways. This is why the Department for Education’s guidance document, Development Matters, sets out children’s learning in broad ages.
- EYFS Foundation Stage framework
- Development Matters
- Leigh EYFS Handbook for parents 2023-2024
- English Progression Document
- Maths Progression in shape, space and measure
- Maths Progression in number
The Early Years Framework
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) outlines what adults must do to help children learn and develop and to be healthy and safe. The EYFS includes seven areas of learning and development.
What are the Seven Areas?
There are three prime areas that are crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning.
- Communication and language
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Physical Development
These are also developed through 4 specific areas:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive Arts and Design
Our curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior experiences both from previous settings and their homes. We work in partnership with parents, carers and other settings to provide the best possible start at Leigh Primary School, ensuring each individual reaches their full potential from their various starting points. We do this through visiting nursery settings, speaking to practitioners and conducting home visits in September.
Our curriculum has been designed to enable children to succeed through enhancing the characteristics of learning: playing and exploring; active learning; and creating and thinking critically as we teach all of the prime and specific areas of learning.
We place a strong emphasis on the Prime Areas of learning; Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Communication and Language, including oracy (speaking); as well as physical development. At Leigh Primary School, we recognise that oracy not only improves academic outcomes, but is a life skill to ensure success beyond school, in life and future employment. Oracy develops children’s thinking and understanding, which in turn promotes self-confidence, resilience and empathy which supports the child’s well-being. Our enabling environments and warm, skilful and maximised adult-child interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration right from the start.
We believe that high level engagement ensures high level attainment. We therefore provide an engaging curriculum that maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links, a text rich environment where reading is prioritised and a wide range of learning experiences, as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking. We follow children’s interests and ideas to foster a lifelong love of learning both in and outside of school.
By the end of the Reception year, our intent is to ensure that all children make at least good progress from their starting points, and are equipped with the skills and knowledge to have a smooth transition into Year 1.
Each half term, EYFS staff introduce a new theme to provide inspiration for learning, whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas. Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching during the day. The timetable changes throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of the children. These sessions are sometimes followed by small focused group work. This 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; however, this is balanced so that the adults can involve themselves in the children’s self-directed play to develop the characteristics of learning, prime and specific areas of the curriculum.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them within the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas.
English / Literacy Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start. Each term, sharing books are planned so that a they are exposed to a range of books of different genres, themes and by different authors with different illustrators. The aim is for all children to love books and through this develop their comprehension, oracy as well as extend their vocabulary, recognise language patterns and retell stories. The children have a theatre, role play resources and models to support their retelling and sequencing of stories.
Alike the rest of the school Reception engage with core texts across a term which links to our writing and reading approach across the rest of the school. This includes:
The inclusion of high-quality texts
- modelled reading and retelling opportunities
- Structured comprehension opportunities
- A focus on Tier 1-3 vocabulary
- Dedicated phonics and handwriting sessions following Little Wandle
- Reading practice in groups and 1:1 reading
- Home reading books matched to phonetic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers as well as sharing books to engage children in a range of fiction and non-fiction texts.
For mathematics in Reception, we follow the Mastering Number Scheme of work from the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics. High quality learning environments and meaningful interactions with adults, support children in developing mathematical thinking and discussion. Our continuous provision is designed to support the development of mathematics. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives and pictorial structures and representations which are then rehearsed applied and recorded within their own child-led exploration. Children in Reception have daily, ‘Maths Meeting’ to develop fluency, revisit key concepts and address misconceptions. Children also develop a love of maths through games, songs, rhymes, and play using concrete manipulatives.
Our wider curriculum is taught through the learning areas; ‘Understanding of the World’ and ‘Expressive Arts and Design’ EYFS staff have a good understanding of how ELG’s feed into the National Curriculum through our robust planning and collaboration with subject leaders. In reverse, colleagues throughout the school are also aware of the key ELG’s that link to each foundation subject and the progression of the subject. Exciting, purposeful and contextual activities are planned to build on children’s natural curiosity. For example, building a boat for their favourite toy or a bridge to re-enact the story of the 3 Billy Goats Gruff enables them to think like a ‘Scientist’ and ‘Engineer’ as they explore a range of materials and test out their own ideas. The children use the forest school area to create, explore and imagine on a regular basis.
Building further on our oracy focus, children will be encouraged to employ subject specific language and terminology in foundation subjects, and as such vocabulary will be modelled, both verbally and orally, by supporting practitioners.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of additional intervention and support for children who may not be reaching their potential, or are showing a greater depth of understanding and need further challenge. This includes, for example, sessions for developing speech and language, social skills, fine motor skills, phonics, and mathematics or working with the child in continuous provision.
Regular monitoring of teaching and learning by SLT, the school Inclusion Manager and the EYFS leader ensure staff develop good subject knowledge and that children have learning tailored to their specific needs. The EYFS leader ensures staff receive CPD specific to Early Years to develop their practice.
Prior to children starting, staff spend time speaking to the child’s parents, previous settings and read previous learning journey’s to gain an understanding of the whole child and where they are at. During the first half term in Nursery or Reception, all staff use ongoing formative assessments, observations and conversations with the child to develop a baseline assessment. This identifies each individual’s starting points in all areas so we can plan experiences to ensure progress.
The following baseline assessments are also carried out. The RBA (Statutory Reception Baseline Assessment) This assessment focuses on ‘Language, Communication and Literacy,’ and ‘Mathematics.’ The purpose of this is to show the progress children make from Reception until the end of KS2.
Speechlink is used to identify and support children with mild or moderate Speech, language and communication needs. This programme is then used to provide swift structured programme of support outside and within continuous provision.
Practitioners measure impact through ongoing observations which are used to inform weekly planning and identify children’s next steps. This formative assessment does not involve prolonged periods of time away from the children and excessive paper work. Practitioners draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgements through discussions with other practitioners, photographs and physical examples such as a child’s drawing / making when assessing children.
Some observations are uploaded using Google Classroom and shared with parents and carers and examples kept in children’s individual files. The class develops a floor book as a learning journey so that adults and children can refer back to their learning to encourage discussion of their learning, oracy skills as well as recap prior knowledge and vocabulary; retrieval opportunities are used to ensure that important learning enters their long term memory (sticky knowledge) which links to and forms a firm foundation for their Year 1 curriculum.
Phonic assessments are carried out regularly to quickly identify pupils that are not making expected progress. Our aim is for children to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’ where possible.
The class teacher will update parents on the children’s progress in phonics and reading and provide flashcards to support any gaps or consolidation required.
In Summer Term 2, the EYFSP (Early Years Foundation Stage Profile) is completed where teachers judge whether the child has met each of the 17 ELGs. They will be assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected.’ Whilst there is no judgement to state if a child is exceeding beyond an ELG, teachers, have a duty to provide a narrative for both parents and the Year 1 teacher which is provided on every child’s annual report.
Impact is also evident through our successful transitions into Year 1. EYFS staff have a good understanding of how the Early Years Framework and Early Learning Goals link to the National Curriculum, and through our robust planning and delivery across the spectrum of prime and specific areas EYFS stage with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey as scientists, historians, artists and geographers.