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Early Years & Year 1

Our Early Years Vision


At Otford we believe that all young children are unique, they have the right to create and lead their own learning pathways. We aim to achieve this through an inspiring environment that ignites curiosity, facilitated by highly skilled adults that nurture, care and educate.

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Early Years Foundation Stage".


Our Ethos


Child-initiated learning through play is at the heart of our practice and is embedded in every aspect of our learning environment. We believe that children learn best through active engagement with the world around them; and through meaningful and relevant experiences, supported by responsive adults. We aim to give children the broadest opportunities to play and make sense of the world. We observe their play and plan around their interests. Self-initiated learning and exploration are key ingredients to having independent children who are motivated to learn.




We use the Early Excellence Assessment Tracker to record our children’s knowledge, skills and learning dispositions. It is a consistent and reliable way of demonstrating progress through the EYFS. The statements within EExAT consist of six monthly bands of development that reflect an ‘age related expectation’. EExAT recognises the importance of relating attainment to chronological age and also values the 'how' of learning and so the characteristics of effective learning are scored in the system and levels of well-being and involvement are recorded too.


Through daily observation and interaction, we are able to build a rich and accurate understanding of each child across all aspects of learning and development. Our assessments are meaningful and impact on our children’s learning and development as we use them to inform our children’s next steps which are personalised and challenging. Our observations then inform the assessments we make on EExAT as children approach the end of a six month milestone. We bring our knowledge of a child together to make a summative assessment about where they are in relation to key developmental milestones.


Leuven Scales of Well Being and Involvement


The Leuven Scales acknowledge the critical importance of a child’s emotional well-being on the quality and depth of learning. We use the Leuven Scales to indicate a child's level of Well-Being and Involvement at the time of assessment (low, medium or high level).

Well-being is defined as ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy’.

Involvement is defined as ‘the fact of being involved with or participating in something’.

The Leuven Scales support accurate and authentic summative assessment of a child’s knowledge, skills, understanding and learning behaviours.


Characteristics of Effective Learning


The characteristics of effective learning underpin our pupils learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage. The ways in which they engage with others and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically – underpin learning and development across all areas and support the children to remain effective and motivated learners. We make judgements about a child's demonstration of the Characteristics of Effective Learning at their particular age and whether or not the learning behaviours defined within these characteristics describes the child.


Characteristics of Effective Learning




Playing and Exploring


Shows curiosity about objects and the world around them and has particular interests.

Representing Experiences

Acts out experiences in their play, using objects to represent different things.

Taking Risks

Willing to try out new things and is open to new experiences

Active Learning


Maintains focus for a period of time, showing high levels of engagement and paying attention to detail


Keeps on trying and doesn’t give up at the first difficulty.

Sense of Achievement

Shows satisfaction when he/she has accomplished something he/she has set out to do.

Creativity and Critical Thinking

Having Own Ideas

Thinks of his/her own ideas and different ways of doing things, uses imagination in play.

Making Links

Makes links and connections in their experiences, developing ideas of grouping, sequences or patterns.


Reviews activities as he/she does them and changes the approach as required.


Continuous Provision


This is how we plan our learning environment. The purpose of continuous provision is: "To continue the provision for learning in the absence of an adult". Each and every part of our learning environment has been carefully planned to meet and challenge the development needs of all our children.



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!