At Whipton Barton Federation our Early Years Foundation Stage consists of Nursery, Pre-School and Reception classes and caters for children aged 2-5 years.
Our aim within the Early Years Foundation Stage is to provide a happy, safe and stimulating environment, which allows all children to feel secure and valued and therefore ready and eager to learn. We provide a supportive and secure environment in which every child can flourish and learn at their own pace and in their own individual way. We believe the relationships which the children develop in the Early Years, with each other and with our staff, are central to their happiness and will lay the best possible foundation for them to become independent lifelong learners.
Children in our Nursery, Pre-school and Reception classes follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, which consists of seven areas of learning.
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional
Development Specific Areas:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Creative Design
We teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across both the prime and specific areas of learning. Our role is to stimulate and encourage their development and enjoyment of learning through a variety of different activities, both adult directed and child initiated, in secure indoor and outdoor situations.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning weave through our curriculum and pupils’ learning. Through an enabling and well-planned environment, we ensure we provide meaningful opportunities for playing, active learning and creating and thinking critically. As children utilise and develop these characteristics they become effective and motivated learners who demonstrate high levels of well-being and involvement.
Our Talk Matters philosophy underpins everything that we do in the Foundation Stage as we recognise the fundamental importance of developing children’s language skills for their future life chances. Each week our carefully chosen ‘Talk Through Stories’ text frames our learning opportunities by providing rich opportunities for language development and by stimulating interesting and engaging activities. These high-quality books are linked to our long-term plan which ensures that all areas of the EYFS curriculum are covered in each year group.
As a Federation we are committed to ensuring that our children learn to read confidently using a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics through the Read Write Inc programme. Children in Nursery and pre-school begin their reading journey by engaging in daily fun and play-based Letters and Sounds Phase 1 activities. As soon as children are ready they begin learning the early phonic sounds in small groups and many leave our preschool already reading many letters. In Reception they have daily Read Write Inc sessions in which they master the reading and writing of single sounds and then digraphs and trigraphs, as well as non-decodable ‘red’ words. Fred the Frog games encourage children to blend and segment sounds in words and they move from ditty stories to coloured reading books as they move through the programme in Key Stage One.
Alongside Read Write Inc, we provide children with daily opportunities to listen to carefully chosen, engaging texts. Stories form the basis of the weekly planning for the children so that they can be completely immersed in story language and characters. The children have access to story props to aid their re-telling and teachers plan ‘Talk Through Stories’ teaching inputs to allow children to engage fully with the stories.
The teaching of early maths skills plays a very important role in our daily timetables with children in the Early Years participating in both maths fluency sessions and direct maths teaching inputs every day. We are very clear that we want our children to have a strong understanding of number and counting principles in order to provide them with the solid foundations needed for further maths in their later years. Our Nursery children enjoy a ‘number rhyme of the week’; developing their understanding of number through singing activities and play with real-life objects and props. Throughout the pre-school and Reception years, they develop these early concepts using high quality manipulatives and through excellent teacher modelling of skills. The continuous provision offers endless opportunities for children to rehearse and practise what they have learnt during teaching inputs and to explore their own lines of enquiry and solve self-chosen mathematical problems. We focus heavily on their understanding of mathematical vocabulary and develop this through real-life problems and playful experiences in a range of contexts. In Reception children follow the Power Maths scheme and take part in daily Mastering Number sessions.
We recognise that our children develop at differing rates and in their own ways and we therefore support children’s individual learning through our skilful interactions and observations. Children’s learning journeys are evidenced using the online system ‘Tapestry’ and parents are actively encouraged to comment on and contribute to this record of their child’s time in the EYFS. Teachers use these observations of learning to plan next steps for the precision teaching of groups and individuals, and to enhance the continuous provision with resources which will support children’s learning further.