Early Years Policy
Welcome to Owl Class!
Welcome to the new school year. We are looking forward a healthy and happy year ahead. Please see the Autumn 1 Curriculum Letter for more more details about this half term.
We are the youngest class in the school. We are a mixed Reception and Year One class of 20 children. The children are taught by Miss Lark Monday to Wednesday and Mrs Cooke for part of Wednesday and on a Thursday and Friday. Mrs Ewles and Mrs Cornwall are teaching assistants in Owl Class too, and sometimes Mrs Reyaz.
The EYFS children will be working on the EYFS curriculum. The Year 1 children will be working on the National Curriculum for Year 1.
Early Years Foundation stage (EYFS) Curriculum
The Early Years Foundation stage (EYFS) Curriculum has four principles which guide the work of all practitioners and they are grouped into four distinct but complimentary themes:
A Unique Child
Learning and Development
These principles support the development, learning and care of young children in our Early Years Foundation Stage class. Our provision ensures a balance of adult-directed and child-initiated learning. Play underpins the delivery of the Early years Foundation Stage curriculum and the development of the children. They have opportunities to play indoors and outdoors and it is through play that they develop intellectually, creatively, physically, socially and emotionally.
There are 7 areas of learning, three Prime areas of learning, which are;
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and language
And four specific areas of learning;
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
Adult-directed and child-initiated learning are well planned and resourced, following the children’s interests, and supporting the children to thrive in a secure environment with enjoyment and challenge. We also plan for real life experiences to inspire the children by inviting visitors into school to share their expertise.
We have strong links with parents and carers and provide termly opportunities for families to come into school to share their children's work with them, as well as parents consultation evenings and a welcome meeting for new parents.
We are aiming for every child to be resilient and independent with a positive attitude to learning. We give the children every opportunity to achieve their full potential and teach to their capabilities, with challenging and realistic expectations.
Children’s attainment is measured using the EYFS profile, and progression and achievement are tracked throughout their EYFS year. This is done by observing their independent learning, their contributions in a large group, a small group and individual observations and specific assessments which create a picture of the whole child.
Characteristics of Effective Learning - The way in which children engage with other people and their environment, playing and exploring, active learning, and creating and thinking critically. These underpin the learning and development across all areas and support the children to become effective and motivated learners in all areas of the curriculum and of school life. We observe the children's 'Characteristics of Effective Learning' and we use these observations to plan the children's next steps for learning.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development - We follow the Cambridgeshire PSHE programme to plan for specific lessons. We also place great value on teaching the children the skills needed to share, take turns with other children, to listen and to be kind and caring towards others. We want them to gain self-confidence and self-belief in order to foster their resilience. This is a prime area of learning, as the children need to feel happy and safe at school and form positive relationships with children and adults in order to thrive in all areas of learning.
Physical Development - The children have two set P.E lessons a week in the school hall or outside, sometimes with a specialist P.E teacher. We have balance bikes that the children use regularly, with specific lessons on how to use them and also opportunities to use them freely. They use balancing and climbing equipment and also small apparatus, such as balls, bean bags and hoops. They work on their gross motor skills and their fine motor skills too, such as using beads, lego, peg boards, scissors and playdough. They are encouraged to hold a pencil correctly, using the tripod pencil grip to form letters correctly. They explore using different types of pens, pencils, crayons and other mark making equipment such as chalks and paintbrushes. The children's physical development has a big impact on their learning in all areas, which is why it is a prime area.
Communication and Language - This is also a prime area of learning. The aim is for children to be confident speakers and listeners and to develop a rich vocabulary. The opportunities for learning through play allow children to develop their vocabulary and confidence to talk to other people. The adults in the class encourage the development of the children's language by interacting with their play, teaching them turn taking games and encouraging them to speak in front of the class or group. The children are encouraged to learn new words and extend their vocabulary to gain a rich understanding of language. We have 'home to school'; books that the children use to share information from home for our 'show and tell' sessions, such as photo or a sentence about something they have done or achieved that they would like to share. The children's progress is carefully tracked and interventions are planned for to support children who are not making the expected progress. Parents can support children with this by sharing a story with them at home every day. Other family activities, such as cooking, playing at the park, days out, playing games, dinners around the table, conversations with grandparents and friends, imaginative play, will all develop the children's communication, language and understanding.
Phonics and Literacy/English - The children in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1, have a daily phonics session where they learn the letters of the alphabet and how to form them. They are taught as separate year groups for phonics, so that they can work at the level that is appropriate for them. This is taught through the Story-time Phonics' programme. They quickly move on to learning more complicated sounds which supports their ability to segment and blend sounds for reading and spelling. They have daily writing opportunities in these phonics lessons and in Literacy/English lessons. They are encouraged to write independently in the environment. We have a class writing area inside and writing opportunities outside too. We change the stimulus in these areas to encourage children to write, such as a class office, writing party invitations, writing stories, writing their news, writing letters, writing a list, being police officers outside and carrying writing toolkits etc. The children read whole class stories and get to know them very well with class retelling sessions, making story maps, sequencing the story and playing with characters and props from the story in the role-play area. This gives them the opportunity to innovate these stories, writing their own versions of these familiar stories.
Mathematics– We have a Mathematics session every day, using the 'White Rose' maths scheme, which supports children to gain a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. Every week we plan engaging activities where children will learn mathematical skills in the continuous and enhanced provision, as well as working on specific tasks with an adult. They usually begin with a whole class session, working on their problem solving and reasoning, with differentiated questions to provide the appropriate challenge. The Year 1 children follow the National Curriculum and expectations and they often have a separate introduction to the lesson. They then work in groups guided by an adult, on the Mathematical concept they are currently working on. They are encouraged to explore different ways of working, such as using pictorial representations, or manipulating practical apparatus. The Reception children have lots of mathematical opportunities in the continuous and enhanced provision in the classroom. They are encouraged to count with a range of apparatus, such as small toys and counters, and natural materials, such as conkers and fir cones. Their maths activities are very practical and they will often work in small guided groups to learn a specific concept, while also exploring the concept in other ways in the independent activities provided.
Topic session– We cover subjects such as Expressive Arts and Design and Understanding the World, through our topic, such as painting teddy bears with a comb for our 'toys' topic, or exploring the senses in Science lessons during our 'All About Me' topic.
Story time– This is one of the most important parts of the day. The whole class listens to and engages with a story, to foster a love of reading and books. This gives the children a bank of knowledge about stories, which helps them to become good readers and writers themselves. We also encourage the children to retell stories with puppets and props and to tell their own stories in the 'storyteller's chair'. This means that when they sit down to write their own stories they can draw on their experience of story structures and different types of stories, as well as having knowledge of vocabulary that will make their stories interesting and exciting to read. The Story-time phonics scheme links the sound that the children are learning to a story, which is read by the 'Phonics Fairy' when they are introduced to a new sound. This helps to embed the sound and helps the children to identify it in a word when they are reading.
Year Ones - We are a mixed class, with Year One children as well as EYFS children. It is important to note that the Year One children follow the Year One National curriculum and do not repeat the same material that they did in their Reception Year. The adults in the class are carefully deployed to support all of the children. The Year One children are taught phonics as a single year group and maths in a small guided group or sometimes as a year group or as a mixed year group with appropriate challenge provided. The curriculum is planned on a two year rolling cycle, so the children will cover new topics as Year One children in Owl Class.
You will find some information below about how to support your child with reading and phonics.