Saint Mary’s Catholic Primary School
EYFS Policy November 2022
St Mary’s school community follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, working together to develop the whole child, in a spiritual, moral, academic, physical, social and emotional way, within a caring and supportive environment. This mission statement, along with our Catholic values and the teaching of the Catholic Church, underpin the values of the EYFS Curriculum.
At St Mary’s School, the Curriculum in the Early Years is designed to allow every child to develop independence, self-motivation, resilience and readiness to embrace challenge. Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations rooted in academic success, as well as moral and spiritual development, so that our pupils go on to be successful, engaged members of society and are happy, curious life-long learners.
We work closely with parents to ensure we have a clear understanding of each child. We recognise the impact the help that parents give their children at home has a very significant impact on their learning.
We aim to support and nurture our children, so that they achieve the Early Learning Goals at the end of their Reception year and make good or better progress, regardless of their starting point.
We aim to help the children at St Mary’s experience the awe and wonder of the world in which they live, through the seven areas of learning.
Our ultimate goal is to prepare our children with the knowledge and skills needed for the next stage of their learning journey in KS1. We understand that what our children learn in these vital first years of life will stay with them forever and that optimising children’s early education is the best investment we can make in ensuring their future success.
The EYFS Curriculum at St Mary’s is based on the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. The four guiding principles which shapes the practice at St Mary’s are:
• 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.
• Enabling environments. Children learn well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents/carers.
• Learning and development. Children learn and develop in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years settings, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
At St Mary’s, there is an emphasis on the Prime Areas of learning: Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language. We place a huge importance on the development of children’s vocabulary and we support children in being able to communicate their thoughts and ideas and explore the meaning of new words. We introduce the children to new vocabulary and actions to reinforce new words.
Our children learn in different ways: by direct teaching, adults modelling, small group work, child initiated or by working one to one. We encourage children to work collaboratively and also to work independently using the resources they have been taught to use. All children benefit from the variety of teaching situations, whatever their ability.
At St Mary’s School, we follow the Monster Phonics systematic synthetic phonics programme. Children have daily phonics lessons, with intervention opportunities for those children identified as not keeping up. The children in the Nursery are introduced to the Phase 1 programme, this concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and lays the foundation for the phonic work which starts in Reception.
At St Mary’s School, the Maths curriculum is taught through daily dedicated sessions in line with White Rose Maths. These sessions are carefully planned using concrete resources and build on prior learning and real -life experiences across the theme and year.
At St Mary’s School we focus on a different book each week/fortnightly to implement the English Curriculum. This helps the children to become familiar with lots of different genres and the language of stories. We use these stories to focus on communication and language skills by encouraging the children to retell stories using their own words, to use props to retell stories and join in with actions and words. The children are taught how to use and make story maps as well as sequencing a story which encourages writing.
As well as the daily opportunities for physical development in the EYFS provision, Reception pupils have P.E lessons, working on a wide range of skills delivered by Non -Stop Action.
Music is taught by a music specialist using the Sing Up music scheme where the children explore sound, percussion and rhythm. The children also have lots of opportunities to sing, use instruments and explore sound within class provision.
The curriculum is designed so the children have opportunities to develop their Understanding of the World through different themes throughout the year. Themes include learning about the seasons, growing plants, looking at things that have happened in the past. We plan work which the children can relate to about their lives and their families lives and the area they live in as well as the wider world. We aim to broaden the children’s experiences and prepare them for their learning in Year 1, when they move on to more specific History, Geography and Science units.
Staff provide focussed interventions for those who are finding learning challenging and who are not on track to meet expectations by the end of the year. For those pupils whose learning accelerates rapidly, staff plan activities which further deepen understanding. Liaison with Year 1 teachers ensures they are aware of pupil’s progress and what provision individual children have benefitted from.
As a Catholic School we follow the curriculum as outlined in the RE Curriculum Directory. 10% of our teaching time is dedicated to RE learning and is explicitly taught using the Margaret Carswell program of study.
At St Mary’s we carefully organise our environments for high quality play and learning.
Both our indoor and outdoor provision is carefully planned and demonstrates a thorough knowledge and understanding of the way in which our children learn.
The EYFS team collect evidence of children’s learning through planned adult-led activities, observations, photos; some of which are shared with parents in their child’s learning journal. The parents are invited into class to discuss their learning journals with their child and the adults working with their child.
In EYFS children’s development is tracked by:
· Baseline assessments.
· Lesson observations and feedback.
· Learning walks and pupil voice conversations.
· Regular look at Learning Journals, floor books and work files.
· Half termly assessments including phonic assessments.
We value the importance of parental involvement:
· Planned visits to the Reception classes by parents and children to understand the child’s starting point.
· Stay and play sessions for adults settling children into the Nursery.
· Yearly Individual Report for parents on their child’s attainment and progress.
· Reading meeting.
· Story café.
· Liaison with other settings.
From their own starting points, children will make excellent progress both academically and socially and make successful transitions from Nursey to Reception and from Reception to Year 1.
During the final term in Reception, the EYFS Profile is completed for each child. The Profile provides parents, carers and staff with a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their progress against expected levels, and their readiness for Year 1. Each child’s level of development is assessed against the 17 Early Learning Goals.
The profile indicates whether children are meeting expected levels of development, or if they have not yet met age related expectations. Year 1 teachers are given a copy of the Profile
report together with their individual report. This informs the dialogue during transitions meetings between Reception and Year 1 teachers about each child’s stage of development and learning needs, and assists with the planning of activities in the early stages of Year 1.
Our children leave Reception with the knowledge and skills needed to fully access the Key Stage One Curriculum. They are confident, articulate, independent and happy learners ready for their next stage of learning.