Our Early Years Statement
Our Early Years Statement
At Sir Francis Hill Primary School Early Years, we work tirelessly to ensure children are happy in school and feel resilient, safe and secure. We will provide quality learning experiences that spark the children’s interests and imagination. We build positive relationships with the child and their family and work together to help children fulfil their potential and prepare for the next step in their educational journey.
Our Early Years Intent, Implementation and Impact Statement
Our Early Years Intent – Why do we teach what we teach?
At Sir Francis Hill Primary School Early Years, we follow the seven key features of effective practice in Early Years out lined in Develop Matters (July 2021). We want to achieve the best for every child ensuring all children have an equal chance of success through high-quality early education. We deliver high-quality care which is consistent and committed to the children’s positive experiences focusing on them at the centre of all decisions and thinking. What we want children to learn (the curriculum) is ambitious and carefully selected and sequenced to help children build their learning over time. Depth in early learning is much more important than covering lots of things in a superficial way. The curriculum and its planning promotes the vital development of children’s language and is also flexible and driven by their interests. We are committed to helping children learn (pedagogy), make progress in their learning with the right help. Effective pedagogy is a mix of different approaches. Children learn through play, by adults modelling, by observing each other, and through guided learning and direct teaching. Practitioners carefully organise enabling environments for high-quality play including make time and space available for children to invent their own play. A well-planned learning environment, indoors and outside, is an important aspect of pedagogy. We check what children have learnt (assessment) noticing what children can do and what they know. Effective assessment requires practitioners to understand child development and should not involve lots of data, evidence or time away from the children. We help children develop self-regulation and executive function. Supporting children to hold information, focus their attention, think flexibly and inhibit impulsive behaviour. Help children to develop the skills of concentration, planning, monitoring and adapting what they are doing. As well as regulate strong feelings, develop patience and the skill of bouncing back when things get difficult. We aim to actively develop positive relationships and partnerships with parents/carers rooted in respect that support children to thrive in the early years. We listen to parents/carer and share information about what the children are doing in school, their progress and support for home learning all helping to build good home / school links. We value the help parents/carers give their children at home and note the importance of encouraging families to chat, play and read with their children.
At Sir Francis Hill Primary School, we recognise that all children are unique, and we celebrate differences within our school community. Therefore, our curriculum embraces the interests of the children, ensuring their voice and ideas are heard. We are passionate about children leading and engrossing themselves in their learning and strive to embed a language of learning based on the EYFS characteristics of effective learning.
We support each individual to reach their fullest potential, and this is reflected in our school motto ‘Learn, Achieve, Succeed’.
Four guiding principles shape practice at Sir Francis Hill Primary School Early Years which are in line with the school’s vision, aims and values. These are:
- Every child is a Unique Child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Children learn to be strong and independent through Positive Relationships.
- Children learn and develop well in Enabling Environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents / carers.
- Children Learn and Develop in different ways and at different rates.
Our Early Years Implementation - How do we teach what we teach?
At Sir Francis Hill Primary School Early Years our curriculum follows the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework effective from September 2021. This document specifies the requirements for learning and development in the EYFS and provides the prime and specific areas of learning that we must cover in our curriculum. Through our knowledge of each child, working and playing alongside the children and observations, the EYFS team plans exciting and engaging activities that will move the children’s learning forward. This may involve following the EYFS themes where we take advantage of cross curricular links in order to combine transferable skills and develop a wide-ranging vocabulary which underpins the children’s learning. This may also include following individual children’s interests and making the most of those focused moments where the teaching and learning can be maximised.
The EYFS Framework covers the education and care of all children in early year’s provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Children benefit from meaningful learning across the curriculum and opportunities for communication, sustained shared thinking and physical challenge to build on existing skills, taking into account the Characteristics of Effective Learning. The learning experiences within our Early Years are linked to the seven areas of learning and development within the EYFS. These areas are split into three prime areas and four specific areas. The three prime areas are those which the children should develop first and are considered most essential for the healthy development and future learning of our children. These include: Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development. As children grow and make progress in the prime areas, this will help them to naturally develop skills within the four specific areas. These include: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. In reception the timetable for our day is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching in Phonics, English and Maths throughout the week. These sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff in a small group with their peers or one to one to explore their understanding and support the children to practise and develop their knowledge. The school follows a systematic phonics programme, using a wide range of resources and strategies to support this. Every child has access to a phonics session every day with intervention opportunities for those who find this area of learning more difficult. We use the phonics sessions and other opportunities to also develop children’s expertise in letter formation and to support speech and language skills.
Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active and thinking critically and creatively and this takes place both indoors and in our outdoor areas. Our outdoor areas are open all year round and in all challenging weather conditions. In reception our outside courtyard area focuses on independent play where children have opportunities to engage in child led learning with their peers focusing on the development of creativity, self-regulation and teamwork. This type of play has a wealth of opportunities for the children to develop their personal and social skills and reinforce language and communication skills. In nursery and reception our other outside areas provide the children with opportunities for physical development and the children’s skills of gross motor skills including running, climbing, building and riding bikes. None of our outdoor provision is solely focused on one area of learning and we aim that there are opportunities for all areas of learning both inside and outside. The children make their own decisions about where they learn best, and the adults play alongside the children guiding the learning.
In reception we provide effective and focused intervention for those children who are finding learning challenging and are not on track to meet expectations at the end of the year. This is provided in an inclusive way and support from parents is also enlisted at an early stage to ensure that the children have every chance to achieve the Early Learning Goals (GLD).
The EYFS team builds their knowledge of the children as individuals and their achievement in learning throughout the year. Evidence and examples of children’s learning is gathered through adult directed learning activities, observations of children’s play and self-initiated learning time, photos and videos which are shared with parents/carers regularly using the Seesaw online learning journal system. This means that parents/carers can engage with children regularly about their learning and can contribute to the knowledge we have of the child in school. Parents/carers are very active and love to use Seesaw to record the milestones children make at home during the year. In reception we also use Seesaw to review the children’s learning as a group and focus discussion on what the children can do, celebrating achievement in school and at home and what other children might what to explore.
By the end of a child’s reception year and the end of EYFS, we provide opportunities for children to increase their independence and resilience to ensure they are well prepared for the move to Year 1. We also ensure that the pedagogy in Year 1 reflects the independent learning skills children have gained in reception. The transition out of EYFS into Key Stage 1 is an important milestone and staff will work together across the key stages to ensure child, parents/carers and teachers are supported and prepared for the move into Year 1.
The team in nursery and reception work tirelessly to ensure that children are surrounded by a kind, caring and happy environment which helps them develop the same skills in their journey through school. It is a positive place to be where learning, achievement and successes are celebrated, and every child feels valued and respected.
Our Early Years Impact - How do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
At Sir Francis Hill Primary School Early Years we make sure our curriculum needs to meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND. We spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning so we can plan the right learning opportunities to support their development. This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences and analysing the progress of children as groups and individuals. The EYFS staff use ongoing assessment to identify starting points, next steps and plan experiences which ensure progress. We use this information to inform the planning of learning experiences and next steps so that knowledge and skills are built cumulatively. We also regularly carry out assessments for example, phonics phoneme knowledge to track and inform planning and support children’s needs.
From their own starting points, children will make excellent progress academically and socially, developing a sense of themselves so that they are well prepared for the transition into Key Stage 1. Some children in our early years arrive with some lower starting points than expected for their age. During their time in our EYFS, children make good (or better) progress so that we meet the national expectation for good level of development (GLD) at the end of the year.
Children will demonstrate high levels of engagement in activities, developing their speaking and listening skills, enabling them to access more areas of the learning and communicate to both adults and children. Children will develop skills across all areas of the curriculum including Literacy, Mathematics and Physical Development using these in different ways. Children will have developed a wider sense of the world around them and can draw on these experiences during interactions with others and link this to new learning. Children will have developed their Characteristics of Learning and be able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations. They will make links and explain their ideas and understanding, drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing. Children will be successful learners and fully prepared for the next stage of their education as they transition from Early Years to Year One. We will also aim to help children to make sense of the world around them, to develop tolerance, compassion and an understanding of their rights and the rights of others in an ever-evolving world.
We believe with high standards, enriched play-based experiences and a rich diet of balanced learning experiences a child can thrive. Alongside a focus on developing the child as a whole is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children with good foundations for future learning. Children at the end of Early Years at Sir Francis Hill Primary School will have developed essential knowledge and skills required for everyday life and lifelong learning. The children will be well rounded, happy, inquisitive and successful learners.
Updated: September 2022