Amethyst

Welcome to Amethyst Class. We are the youngest class in the school. We are a mixed Reception and Year One class. The children are taught by Miss Lark Monday to Wednesday and Mrs Cooke on a Thursday and Friday.

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

Positive Relationships

Enabling Environments

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

Physical Development

And four specific areas of learning;

Literacy

Mathematics

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, listen, be kind and caring towards others, and to have self-confidence and self-belief. These teaching opportunities happen all the time, which is why this is a prime area 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 and using playdough and foam. They are encouraged to hold a pencil correctly to form letters correctly and explore using different types of pens, pencils and crayons. The children's physical development has a big impact on their learning in other areas.

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. We have 'home to school'; books that the children are encouraged to 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 very day. Other family activities, such as cooking, playing at the park , days out , playing games, dinners around the table, these will all develop the children's communication and language and the confidence to use it.

Phonics and Literacy - The children in the Early Years Foundation Stage have a daily phonics session where they learn the letters of the alphabet and how to form them, the sound that the letters make in words (phonemes) and groups of letters (graphemes) that form one sound, such as 'igh' in n-igh-t. They have daily writing opportunities in these phonics lessons and in Literacy lessons, such as writing stories or writing their news. 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 part invitations, 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.

 MathematicsWe have a mathematics focused session every day. Every week we plan engaging activities where children will learn through play. We focus on counting, number recognition, calculating and shape, space and measure. We follow the White Rose Maths scheme, to help the children to develop an in depth knowledge of mathematical concepts.

Topic sessionWe cover subjects such as Expressive Arts and Design and Understanding the World, through our topic, such as painting toys from around the world during our 'toys' 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.

Year Ones - We are a mixed class, with Year One children as well as EYFS children. It is usually the youngest Year One children who stay in the EYFS class, but it is important to note that they do not simply repeat the year. The Year One children follow the Year One National curriculum. The adults in the class are carefully deployed to support all of the children. The Year One children are taught phonics and maths in a small group and in a small guided group for guided writing and handwriting. The curriculum is planned on a two year rolling cycle, so the children will cover new topics as Year One children Amethyst Class.

Our current Topic

This half- term our topic is 'In the Garden'. This is a really interesting topic and great for the summer time, the children will be able to do lots of planting. It will be great to use the school 'wild garden' for pond dipping too. We are planning to have tadpoles in the classroom for them to observe the changes over time.

Please see the newsletter below for more information.

You will also find some information about reading, and ideas to support your child with phonics below.

We had a great science morning last half term where the children explored materials. We were lucky enough to have snow, so the children were able to use snow and ice to explore and experiment with.

This half term we will be having a whole school science week, which will be a great week. We are expecting some visitors in school, which really helps to embed the learning and makes it exciting.