Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13)
Intent- How our curriculum is structured and organised
In Reception, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework, which consists of seven areas of learning including:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
The EYFS Curriculum is the starting point for all learners at The Queen’s School. The curriculum facilitates all pupils to gain a broad range of skills, knowledge and understanding. We offer a broad, experience-rich curriculum that is tailored to meet the needs and interests of each individual child, focusing on the development of the whole-child and inspiring a love of learning to ensure children are engaged and motivated from the moment they begin their learning journey at The Queen’s School.
Our curriculum in Reception offers children a variety of ways to acquire and develop new skills and knowledge which are then built upon over time as they continue their learning journey through the school. See our skill and knowledge progression map below. The progression map guides the planning for all the children’s learning, both child and adult-initiated, whilst also embedding our curriculum objectives into the whole school Knowledge and Skill progression maps for core and foundation subjects such as reading, writing, maths, Science, Art and Design & Technology, demonstrating how the children will revisit, develop and extend their knowledge and skills once they move on from Early Years.
Our Early Years provision celebrates the natural curiosity, creativity and confidence of children and puts play at the heart of our pedagogy. Our continuous provision works as a free-flow system where children can access indoor and outdoor areas, children spend a large part of their day engaging in these child-initiated activities where they become resourceful and independent learners, guided by skilled interactions from the Early Years staff.
At Queen’s, we believe children reach a state of flow when immersed in play and offer children ways of developing their skills and knowledge through this, ensuring that adults allow children to lead the play, but offer scaffolding, support or challenge through quality interactions and questioning as well as ensuring resources are accessible for children to develop their learning when an adult is not directly involved.
Children’s personal, social and emotional development is at the core of the Reception curriculum and our classrooms are safe spaces where children feel secure and comfortable to be open about expressing their feelings. Children are introduced to the Zones of Regulation as they start in Reception, they learn to recognise and understand different emotions they or others may be experiencing and begin effective and appropriate techniques of managing and regulating these. The Zones of Regulation continue throughout the school ensuring a consistent approach.
Our Early Years provision places great importance on children’s physical development, recognising the many benefits of having strong fine and gross motor skills, not only for sport and health but also concentration, emotional regulation and writing. Our day begins with fine motor activities and through our outdoor facilities and specialist-taught P.E lessons, children are constantly strengthening their co-ordination, balance and control.
In Reception, children learn fundamental early reading and writing skills through a Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme called ‘Jolly Phonics’, individual and group reading sessions and Literacy teaching. High quality texts are selected and children are fully immersed in fiction, non-fiction texts and poetry to understand and build their own opinions on a diverse range of genres, authors and topics. The language-rich environment, both indoor and outdoor, encourages conversation and the use of both reading and writing skills in purposeful contexts. Children learn to communicate effectively with peers and adults in a range of situations through collaborative projects or tasks, presentations, performances and daily contributions to class discussions, extending their vocabulary and sentence formation.
Essential numeracy skills are taught and applied through various contexts both in teacher focus groups and through play, using White Rose Maths and the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCTEM) to develop fluency and achieve mastery. Children are encouraged to use correct mathematical vocabulary and are actively engaged in problem-solving activities where they can apply their knowledge of mathematical concepts, throughout the day.
Our provision and learning environment enable all pupils to:
- grow into resilient, confident and independent learners
- develop strong communication skills, including a wide range of vocabulary and correct sentence formation
- reflect on how, what and why they are learning
- gain a deep understanding of the natural world, becoming curious and respectful investigators of the outdoors
- learn and apply our school values of love, compassion and respect, building an understanding of others and celebrating differences
- learn about British values within a strong Christian ethos
- have a strong foundation to equip them to succeed in their future endeavours, as they explore a range of topics and skills
Throughout Reception, we promote a strong sense of community and inclusiveness where parents, carers and other visitors are actively encouraged to share their expertise and experiences. The children gain a deep knowledge and understanding of differences in relation to cultures, celebrations and attitudes, learning to celebrate their individuality and demonstrate kindness and compassion to all.
Implementation - How our curriculum is taught
The provision is directed by the learning needs of the cohort of children. We take a holistic view to learning and work within a ‘free flow’ system (referred to as ‘Busy Learning’), where learning through play has a vital role in the development of children’s skills and offers opportunities for children to apply their formal learning independently in a wide range of contexts. The continuous provision, which consists of the indoor and outdoor environment, where children lead their learning through play, is based on the children’s interests as well as linking to the current learning topic; resources and activities planned to challenge and promote deeper learning are accessible for children to self-select for their play.
Through objective-led planning, children in Reception are able to engage in and develop skills for all areas of learning through an approach that is accessible and motivating for them. Staff in Early Years bring the learning to the children by creating stimulating environments and interacting with the children to provide high quality modelling, challenging them with different levels of questioning to ensure children reach the objectives for each week and their learning targets - all staff know the children’s starting points, targets and next steps, so they can challenge and support children appropriately.
Adult-led activities may occur during ‘Busy Learning’ time to encourage group play and guide children to accessing different areas of the curriculum. There are different areas such as construction, sand, water, book corner, role-play, creative, physical and more, which are set up with resources and activities that can be accessed by all children independently, with additional challenges available to extend and deepen learning. In addition to free-flow learning, the curriculum is also taught through whole-class teaching, adult-led focus groups and adult directed tasks.
Whole class teaching sessions are throughout the day, these include:
- Daily Phonics following ‘Jolly Phonics’ scheme
- Daily Maths/Literacy
- Religious Education (RE) and Personal, Social, Health, Emotional (PSHE) lesson once a week
- Topic based sessions over the course of the term
- Music session once a week
Adult directed tasks include:
- Daily fine motor skill activities as children come into school.
- Everyone a reader in class (ERIC) Phonic activities – From Spring 1 children complete 5 tasks throughout the week linked directly to Phonics which build on both reading and writing skills. One of these tasks is an adultled reading and writing activity and the other four are independent and may focus on decoding, tricky words, writing or comprehension.
Other adult-led activities:
- Children are read with individually at least once a week
- Math focus group activity once a week
- Writing focus group activity at least once a week
Enrichment: Trips to:
- Kew Gardens
- Local churches
- Bocketts farm
- Workshops and visitors (often parents) come to school to enhance learning around specific topics or learn more about events, different cultures and celebrations.
In accordance with government guidance The Reception Baseline Assessment is completed in the first three weeks of the children settling into school. In order to ensure all children are making progress from their individual starting points, staff make frequent observations during play and focus activities. These are shared within the team so that next steps and targets can be set and all staff are aware of ways to support and challenge individual children. These are paired with formative assessment during whole-class learning sessions and individual tasks such as phonics or reading. Assessments inform planning and the environment is adapted to suit the needs of the children throughout the term.
‘Evidence Me’ and the children’s books are used to track the curriculum coverage for each child and through observations and interactions we plan different and motivating contexts for children to access and meet the learning objectives.
At the end of the Reception year, children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) for each area of learning, to assess if they meet the ‘Expected level of development’. Where children have not securely met the objectives, they will be assessed as ‘emerging’ for some Early Learning Goals, and will continue to work towards these as they move into Year 1 and to The National Curriculum. This information is shared with parents/carers and Year 1 teachers.
To find out more about the Prime and Specific Areas of learning, the Early Learning Goals and how they are taught in school, please see the tab on the right of this page.
In Reception we value the support and knowledge from parents and carers regarding their child’s needs, interests and achievements as well as expertise they may have in areas of our curriculum. Information is shared between home and school via:
- Google Classroom is the main form of information sharing and is used for:
- The ‘Weekly Sheet’ which offers an overview of the upcoming learning and ideas for discussion at home
- Any communication regarding opportunities for parents to volunteer e.g. Language of the Month, reading with children or coming in to speak with the children about their role, background or a special celebration/ event
- Optional home learning ideas and support with phonics and tricky words
- Information regarding school trips, workshops, Show and Tell or other school events (this is also sent out via ParentMail)
- ‘Evidence Me’ is a portal where learning observations from home and school can be shared and are linked to the Early Learning Goals (ELG) or Characteristics of Effective Learning
- Parent consultations in Autumn and Spring term
- ‘Book looks’ each term
- An end of year report which showcases each child’s achievements and progress for the year, including their ELG attainment
- The school website
Impact- A cohesive learning journey
Through a broad and varied curriculum, children demonstrate high levels of engagement and enthusiasm as they become the leaders of their own learning. Each child’s unique personality is valued and celebrated, they form positive relationships with both peers and teachers and are kind, caring and respectful individuals. They grow confident and secure in a nurturing and ambitious environment, allowing them to become strong communicators and persevere when challenges arise.
All children will make good progress, from their individual starting points, across all areas of the curriculum. At the end of reception children will:
- have a secure knowledge of sounds and use this to read simple words and sentences
- have good 1:1 number correspondence and understand the value of numbers to 20. They will have a deep understanding of pattern and use this to notice numerical patterns and apply their knowledge to solve practical problems
- be inquisitive and responsive learners who seek opportunities to further their learning
- use a wide range of vocabulary to express their ideas and emotions confidently in their learning, and their social interactions
- know how to plan and evaluate their activities and use their creativity and imagination throughout their learning
- approach new challenges with a growth mind-set
- be motivated and enthusiastic learners who work cooperatively with their peers
- have started to develop good organisational and problem-solving skills
Children will begin to develop an understanding about the wider community and their place in the world. Through our Christian Ethos, children will start to think about how they can demonstrate our school values of Love, Compassion and Respect within the school community as well as the wider world. They become aware of their environment and the need to care for this, reflecting on ways to help others. Above all, Reception will instill a love of learning within each child, laying strong foundations for them to build upon throughout their school learning journey and beyond. Children will leave Reception proud of their individuality, with great self-belief and a strong understanding of right and wrong and ready to transition to year 1 and The National Curriculum.