Early Years Vision
At Bemerton we have the highest aspirations for every child, believing that they should be empowered to take ownership of their learning and be confident within their environment. We want children to be creative, independent thinkers who can express and explore their ideas and develop a life-long love of learning. We nurture children’s natural curiosity and intrinsic creativity as powerful motivators across all areas of learning and development. We believe that risk and challenge are vital in order for our children to develop critical thinking, resilience and perseverance. We understand that every child is unique: recognising that they all learn and develop in different ways, at different rates and bring diverse experiences to our school. Our belief is that children learn most effectively through play.
We provide all pupils with equal access to a rich, broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum matched to their ages, abilities, interests, attitudes and special needs. In so doing we increase pupil’s knowledge, skills and understanding within the core skills of social play, physical and language development, literacy and mathematics as they grow and develop and strengthen their connections with the world around them. The curriculum is creative, carefully planned and structured to ensure that high quality continuous provision provides the children with open-ended and flexible learning opportunities, promoting all aspects of learning and development. We work closely in partnership with families to provide every possible opportunity for our children to become confident communicators, to be socially competent, to have high levels of well-being and to develop the necessary physical skills.
A practical, play-rich approach to learning, based on the needs and interests of our children, is delivered mainly through topic based planning. Direct skills such as phonics and early number are introduced through whole class carpet sessions and are reinforced through individual, small groups whole class teaching but the majority of learning is applied through children’s play.
Children in our Reception class follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS). The EYFS Curriculum has seven main areas of learning:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical development
- Literacy - Reading and Writing
- Understanding the world
- Expressive Arts and Design
In addition to the continuous provision for cross-curricular learning, the children are taught a discreet 20minute daily phonics session. We currently follow the DfES 'Letters and Sounds’ materials in an engaging, interactive approach. (See the Phonics Vision statement for EYFS phonics coverage)
We recognise that the environment plays a significant role in supporting children’s learning and development and so our indoor and outdoor spaces are designed to promote high levels of involvement and deep level learning. Our learning environments are stimulating and exciting, and relevant to the needs and stage of our children and we promote all areas of the EYFS curriculum both indoors and outdoors. We recognise that the outdoor area has equal value to the inside and as such have developed an outdoor and garden space that encourages children to experiment, take risks, collaborate and problem-solve through a wide range of experiences such as a mud kitchen, den building, a water area, stage area, big construction and games area.
Parental involvement is valued and encouraged and we are proud of the close relationship we have with parents. We use this positively to ensure that children have a joint support approach to make good progress in school. We strive to build positive links with the parents of each child, from the initial induction sessions in the term prior to the children starting school, home visits and then a short settling in program which allows lots of opportunities to get to know the children. We keep parents informed about how the children are being taught, and how well each child is progressing through termly parent consultations, written reports and engaging them in their child's on-line learning journal. We also welcome parents in for ‘Stay and Play’ sessions that focus on different aspects of their child’s learning and encourage parents to share their child’s successes with ‘WOW’ moments.
In Early Years we identify the impact of the curriculum through on-going observations and pupil progress meetings which are held 3 times a year to discuss and moderate progress in reading, writing and maths. The EYFS teacher attends Statutory LA moderation meetings to ensure Quality Assurance and other EYFS staff members receive training according to needs and their contributions to the development of the setting is highly valued. Subject leaders monitor their subjects in EYFS through lesson observations, book scrutiny, learning walks and discussions with children.
The Early Years’ link Governor meets with the EYFS lead teacher 3 times a year to discuss actions from the action plan and evaluate implementation and impact who then reports back to the Full Governing Body.
Through playing and exploring, being active learners and creating and thinking critically our children develop confidence to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with others. They are able to draw on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing. They demonstrate high levels of engagement in activities and develop a wider sense of the world around them and draw on these experiences during interactions with others to link to new learning. The characteristics of learning that they develop in their first year ensures that they become confident, curious, independent learners prepared for their next stage of learning.