Our Early Years Vision
At Otford we strive to give our youngest children the best transition into school life that we can. We have worked hard to develop a comprehensive induction programme and ensure that children are settled into school life as quickly as possible, with children's welfare being at the centre of all we do. We ensure that relationships between staff and children are developed quickly, so children feel welcome and safe to come to school. We are proud of our Early Years environments and continually work to develop areas further using the children's interests to shape provision for all. The characteristics of effective teaching and learning underpin all opportunities for the children and help develop skills for lifelong learning.
What we want the children to learn:
At Otford, we are committed to providing a high-quality Early Years’ education, which gives children a secure and confident start to their school life and nurtures a lifelong love of learning. Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning through their positive experiences of adult interactions and independent critical thinking within an engaging, stimulating and enabling environment. Our curriculum is engaging and follows the interests of the children.
We aim to:
· Provide a well-balanced curriculum that offers the children a wide range of opportunities that broaden their experiences, challenge and inspire them. We scaffold their learning according to their individual needs.
· Provide a nurturing learning environment that is language rich, that helps children develop the characteristics of effective teaching and learning, embedding the 7 areas of learning, supporting those who need additional help in order to maximise their chances of achieving the Early Learning Goals.
· Provide children opportunities to develop their sense of wellbeing, involvement and their ability to regulate their feelings so that they feel confident in our community and are equipped with all the tools they need to transition to Year 1 effectively.
How the children will learn:
Our Early Years setting follows the Cornerstones Curriculum which cover the areas known as the prime areas which are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These prime areas are a major focus for each child as they enter our EYFS. Our curriculum has a sharp focus on the children’s needs, their interests and their stages of development. We aim to deliver the curriculum through a balance of play and adult directed activities. We present new concepts in meaningful contexts that enable the children to build on what they already know. Practitioners are aware of the need to be flexible and respond instantly in order to respond to unplanned events that the children are interested and develop next steps. Through our knowledge of each child and formative assessments, the Early Years team plan exciting and engaging activities that will move the children’s learning forward.
We have chosen themes that inspire and motivate the children’s learning to ensure they are on track for achieving the Early Learning Goals at the end of Early Years. This is a progressive curriculum which has a large focus on key vocabulary, the love of books and providing the children with experiences and opportunities to explore our world and community.
Play features strongly in Early Years as we recognise that this is a natural way for children to learn. Planned play helps children to think independently, increase their understanding and embed their knowledge. There is a range of “continuous provision” available in the indoor and outdoor environments, that are designed to offer open-ended, practical learning opportunities. Children are supported to think creatively, imaginatively, explore how resources can be adapted and encouraged to ‘take risks’ in their discoveries, understanding we can learn from ‘mistakes’. Each week, the provision is enhanced with additional resources, based on observations and the children’s interests. Adult led activities are practical in
nature and based on first hand experiences wherever possible. The children are supported to develop problem-solving skills through open-ended tasks and opportunities to share their thinking with others.
At Otford we follow Bug Club systematic phonic programme. Once in Reception, every child has access to a daily phonics session with extra keep-up sessions daily, if required. We use these phonics sessions to also develop children’s expertise in reading and handwriting. We hold a phonic workshop at the start of the academic year for parents to give them the confidence to support their child with learning at home. The teachers will match each child’s phonic knowledge and blending skills to decodable books as well as have access to e-books and games at home. Children will also choose a library book each week to take home for pleasure to share with their family.
We provide effective and focused interventions for those children who are finding learning challenging and are not on track to meet expectations at the end of the year. This will be provided in an inclusive way and support from parents is also enlisted at an early stage to ensure that the children have every chance to achieve the Early Learning Goals.
The EYFS team collect evidence of children’s learning through observations, photos and videos which are shared with parents using the Tapestry online system. This means that parents can engage with children regularly about their learning and can contribute to the knowledge we have of the child in school. Historically, parents have been very active and love to use Tapestry to record the milestones children make at home during the year.
We love to provide children with new opportunities which enhance their learning in school. We plan visits to support this learning such as a trip to the library or Wildlife Centre to support their learning of mini-beasts and our world. We ensure that all of our visits are learning related and will provide the spark for further immersion in a theme or project.
We work closely with parents/carers, feeder Nurseries and professionals with getting to know the children prior to them starting with us. Ensuring we are continuing and building on the foundations in their learning. The opportunities the children are given in the Early Years support the children with being prepared for the transition to the next phase in their learning journey. The skills and experiences provided during Nursery are built on in Reception. The Early Years team work tirelessly to ensure that children are surrounded by a kind, caring and happy environment which helps them develop the same skills in their journey through school. It is a positive place to be where resilience, perseverance and successes are celebrated and every child feels cared for, valued and respected.
Evaluating what the children have learnt:
The impact of the EYFS curriculum is reflected in having well rounded, happy and confident children transitioning into Year 1. Children that have developed strong characteristics of effective teaching and learning and are persistent and resilient in school and life. Children that are successful with achieving the Early Learning Goals and are ready for learning in Year 1.
We measure progress and children’s learning across the year through formative and summative assessment which are based on the teacher’s professional knowledge of the child, their learning journey which is documented through photographs and videos recorded on Tapestry.
The teaching and pedagogy are reviewed and evaluated regularly through regular team meetings, development of the environment and staff professional development. We ensure that the areas we discuss and develop are reflected in changes and developments in our classroom practice.
Written by Mrs J Hill EYFS leader.
Enquiry Based Learning in Year 1:
Progression from EYFS into the Year 1 outcomes in the National Curriculum.
The transition from Reception to Year 1 is always a really important one here at Otford. All of the adults in Reception and Year 1 work closely to ensure that this transition is as smooth and calm as it can be. At Otford Primary we believe that our Year 1 children are unique, they have the right to learn in a way that develops their natural curiosity. We aim to achieve this through a child led enquiry based curriculum, facilitated by an inspiring environment and engaging adults.
Learning in Year 1 is delivered through an enquiry based approach underpinned by the National Curriculum and our new Cornerstones Curriculum. We believe that our children learn best when inspired and motivated by their own interests. Skillful adults enable this to happen through a well-planned, captivating environment that is carefully mapped across all areas of the Year 1 curriculum and ensure clear progression from the outcomes of EYFS. The children benefit from whole class teaching, adult directed activities and self-initiated learning through elements of continuous provision.
Within the continuous provision there are a series of open ended challenges for the children to complete. These challenges are planned for using the National Curriculum and differentiated to suit all children's needs, ensuring that there is further extension for the children that complete the challenge successfully. The challenges are developed from the children’s interest and next steps. When the children are ready and have developed their confidence and independence, we gradually move to a more whole class approach to teaching, alongside smaller focused groups and individual challenges. All of your support at home with Reading, Phonics and Maths is always really appreciated and we look forward to working with you this year!
Written by Mrs Smith Year 1Teacher