At the Vine Schools, Early Years education means an exciting and balanced curriculum that encourages exploration and independent learning. We always put the child at the centre of the learning, making learning enjoyable and accessible to all. The uniqueness of every child is recognised and valued. As such, our curriculum embraces the community from which it exists, recognising and celebrating the diverse backgrounds and experiences from which our children originate. We constantly adapt our learning journey to meet the needs and interests of our children, offering an excellent education underpinned by a broad, culturally rich curriculum, to ensure that all pupils are well equipped for the next stages in their education.
It is our intent that the children who enter our EYFS develop physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally. As a result, we aim to embed the right attitudes of learning through The Characteristics of Effective Learning: Play and Exploration; Active Learning; Creative and Critical Thinking.
Through a balance of child initiated and adult led continuous play and small group activities children will make progress across the seven areas of learning, enabling them to continually develop and learn and work towards the ELG’s (Early Learning Goals). Adults will respond to children’s individual interests and needs to ensure opportunities for a rich learning experience are met for all children.
Each individual pupil will arrive in reception with their own set of experiences, skills, interests and values. These will be observed and assessed on entry and continually, to inform planning and to provide opportunities that will further development, curiosity, wonder and opportunity. The class teacher will also work in partnership with parents to gain a fuller understanding of each individual pupil and their interests, needs and experiences. Early identification is made regarding pupils’ language and communication development and this is prioritised as a primary focus for learning, particularly in the first term and is an important part of the curriculum throughout the year.
Safeguarding in EYFS
At the Vine schools, we take seriously our duty to comply with Welfare requirements and recognise that children learn best when they feel healthy, safe and secure. Therefore, we will:
- promote the welfare of children.
- promote good health, preventing the spread of infection and taking appropriate action when children are ill.
- manage behaviour effectively in a manner appropriate for the children’s stage of development and individual needs.
- ensure all adults who look after the children or who have unsupervised access to them are suitable to do so.
- Ensure that the premises, furniture and equipment is safe and suitable for purpose
- Ensure that every child receives enjoyable and challenging learning and development experiences tailored to meet their needs.
- Maintain records, policies and procedures required for safe efficient management of the setting and to meet the needs of the children.
Teaching and learning
Aims and values
At the Vine Schools, teaching and learning in the foundation stage follows these aims and values:
- To work in partnership with teachers and parents, so that our children feel secure at school and develop a sense of well-being and achievement;
- To understand that teachers have of how children develop and learn, and how this affects their teaching;
- To use a range of approaches used that provide first-hand experiences, give clear explanations, make appropriate interventions and extend and develop play and talk or other means of communication;
- To carefully plan the curriculum that helps children work towards the Early Learning Goals throughout EYFS;
- To facilitate the provision for children to take part in activities that build on and extend their interests and develop their intellectual, physical, social and emotional abilities;
- To encourage children to communicate and talk about their learning, and to develop independence and self-management;
- To support the learning with appropriate and accessible indoor and outdoor space, facilities and equipment;
- To identify the progress and future learning needs of children through observations, which are shared with parents.
The EYFS is based upon four principles:
- A Unique Child - we recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We recognise that children develop in individual ways, at varying rates. Children’s attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by feedback from others; we use praise and encouragement, as well as celebration assemblies, reward points and recognition, to encourage children to develop a positive attitude to learning.
- Positive Relationships - We recognise that parents are children’s first and most enduring educators and we value the contribution they make. We recognise the role that parents have played, and their future role in the education of their children. A strong partnership between the teacher and parents is developed through regular discussions and communication and sharing of learning both from home and in school.
- Enabling Environments - the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending the children’s development. This begins by observing the children and assessing their interests, development and learning, before planning challenging but achievable activities and experiences to extend the children’s learning.
- Learning and Development
In Reception we have regard to the Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation stage 2021.
There are seven areas of Learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage. The Prime areas are Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language. The Specific areas are Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. Opportunities for pupils to develop their skills in all areas of learning are provided throughout each day. The classroom is organised to allow pupils to explore and learn securely and safely and to develop in their independence to choose activities. We value all areas of learning and development and understand that they are inter connected.
In Reception, children will also be learning the fundamental British Values of Democracy, The Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance of Different Faiths and Beliefs, through their daily PSED discussions, The Jigsaw approach and through collective worship. The schools’ Grapes values; Generosity, Respect, Acceptance, Perseverance, Empathy and Selflessness are at the heart of the Vine schools and run through all that we do so that children learn to understand and respect our common humanity; diversity and differences and go on to form the effective, fulfilling relationships that are an essential part of life and learning.
We follow the new Statutory framework for the Early years 2021 and ensure that the Early Years foundation stage provision that we offer ‘promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life’ (Statutory Framework for the Early years foundation stage 2021).
We will also carry out the statutory Reception Baseline in the first term.
We begin each year by looking at the individual needs of our children and taking into account their different starting points. We carefully develop our flexible EYFS curriculum which enables them to follow the path of their learning journey at a point that is suitable for their unique needs and stage of development.
Throughout the seven areas of learning, we teach crucial skills, knowledge and vocabulary presented through a range of topics that excite and engage children, building on own interests and developing their experiences of the world around them.
Outdoor learning also plays an important part in the Early Years. Learning outside the classroom supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being
All children will learn though play in a safe and stimulating environment that promotes independence, wonder and creativity.
Through continuous observation and assessment, enhancements are made to the setting’s continuous provision, to support the needs and interests of pupils and enable development.
Resources will be monitored, reviewed and set out within areas of the environment to support next steps for learning, children’s interests and topic links.
Enhancements to each of the areas within the classroom will also be made regularly to give children variety of learning opportunities and enable them to make links and extend their learning
Adult led activities are also planned to support the next steps for learning, through questioning, modelling, small group activities, Maths, reading and phonics learning.
We follow Little Wandle revised as our systematic synthetic phonics programme to support children in their early reading development.
We promote a love for reading early on, where pupils will be reading in class everyday, this will be independently, and with an adult in small groups and 1:1, as well encouraging independence in looking at and sharing books.
EYFS practitioners promote the acquisition of Maths vocabulary and development of key concepts, allowing children opportunities to develop their skills independently. This deep, long term and adaptable knowledge will help our children become confident mathematicians, ready to tackle the challenges of KS1.
Whilst children in Reception for the most part, learn together, proactive and early intervention successfully identifies children who may need assistance in order to achieve their potential or support and further challenge for those working at greater depth.
Learning is further supported through teaching by specialist teachers in PE, collective worship, drama and music workshops, visitors to the school and school trips.
Children’s learning and development is monitored and observed throughout each day. Observations are often recorded and used to inform next steps for each individual pupil, these observations also contribute to the pupils’ learning journey which is shared with parents and shows a breadth of experiences, learning and development.
Children are assessed against checkpoints throughout the year and supported by the non- statutory development matters guidance (Revised July 2021), ensuring progression is being made towards the Early Learning goals, which are underpinned by the characteristics of effective learning. This is not used as a checklist, but rather used as a tool to identify the child’s level of development.
The EYFS profile is completed at the end of the year which is shared with parents and also discussed with and passed onto the year 1 teacher. This will include the Early learning goals as outline in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years foundation stage 2021; Communications and Language (Listening, attention and Understanding, Speaking); Personal, Social and Emotional Development (Self-Regulation, Managing self, Building Relationships); Physical development (Gross Motor Skills, Fine Motor Skills); Literacy (Comprehension, word Reading and Writing); Mathematics (Number and Numerical Patterns); Understanding the World (Past and present, People Culture and Communities, The Natural World) and Expressive Arts and Design (Creating with Materials, Being Imaginative and Expressive). Assessment judgements are moderated both in school and across the Vine Schools to ensure consistency of judgements.
Areas, resources and interests of the children are continually observed and each individual’s learning is assessed using formative assessment to ensure that every child is making progress. Adult intervention is also regularly reviewed to ensure that it is effective in enabling learning to move on. Adults within the settings regularly meet to discuss children and their interests in order to share knowledge of children and their development.
Inclusion and SEND
All staff set high expectations for all children. They use observations and appropriate assessment to set ambitious targets and plan challenging learning for all groups, including:
- More able pupils
- Pupils currently not meeting age related expectations
- Pupils with SEND
- Pupils with English as an additional language (EAL)
Teachers and practitioners plan learning opportunities so that children with SEN and/or disabilities can access learning at a stage appropriate to their needs and have equal opportunities to explore and develop in all areas of learning, wherever possible, ensuring that there are no barriers to every child achieving.
Staff also take account of the needs of children whose first language is not English. Learning will be planned so that teaching opportunities help children to develop their English, and to support children’s access in all areas of learning.
Individuals who are not making expected progress are identified early:
- Provision for intervention/additional support is planned for and implemented according to need and discussed with the schools SENCO and the pupil’s parent(s)
- A support plan is put in place
- Pupil Progress meetings take place regularly to discuss current and future intervention/support needed, engaging in dialogue around the impact of the provision, potential barriers and further actions required. Further information can be found in our in our SEND policy.
We carefully manage the transition of our pupils throughout the school and for new Reception children starting school, we ensure that there are scheduled transition days for them in their new setting with their new class teacher at the end of the Summer term. This allows children and parents to familiarise themselves with their new teacher and learning environments in readiness for September. We also work closely with new parents, providing opportunities to meet the teacher, and induction information is also shared. We ensure that transitions for children with SEND are fully prepared at each stage both internally and externally.
The school takes full advantage of its small cohort numbers. This means the staff can provide focused, personalised learning for all children from their individual starting point. Children make good progress throughout the year, demonstrating a consistently good level of development.
Children will leave the Early Years foundation stage ready for the next stage in their learning. The curriculum and learning opportunities will have provided a range of knowledge and skills to support them in their future endeavours. Children will be able to work collaboratively with their peers and independently as inquisitive learners who are motivated to excel. They will have a strong desire to embrace challenge and to be resilient learners.
Our children will be respectful and will show tolerance and acceptance to those from different faiths and backgrounds. They will leave the Early years with a love of Reading, enjoyment for learning and respect for others.