EYFS at St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School
Our EYFS Curriculum
Our EYFS teacher is Ms C Naylor
At St Joseph’s the development of our EYFS curriculum is an ongoing process of planning, reflecting and adapting- enhanced by continued professional development. Whilst flexible and ever-changing to meet the needs of our children, our curriculum is underpinned by our Catholic faith and our desire that it should do the following:
- ensure that children know God and understand that they are part of His family and that they are familiar with the life and teachings of Jesus
- recognise that our children have different backgrounds, varying prior educational and cultural experiences and a range of abilities and interests
- provide wide-ranging, dynamic opportunities to support children’s learning, consolidate and deepen their knowledge and ensure that they all make progress from their starting points to meet the ELGs
- provide an enabling environment which encourages and celebrates curiosity, questioning, investigation and wondering
- strives to find opportunities to provide new experiences for children – and so increase cultural capital
- be language rich- recognising the immense value of books, stories, songs, role play, peer to peer conversations and adult/child interactions
- ensure mastery of number skills
- ensure mastery of phonics skills so that children can read
- ensure that our children perceive school as a safe, happy and often exciting place
In short, we want our curriculum to encourage independent, happy learners who thrive in school and reach their full potential whatever their starting point.
At St Joseph’s we meet the welfare requirements laid down in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and actively safeguard and promote the welfare of all of our children.
Our school is at the heart of St Joseph’s Parish- our parish priest is a regular visitor; encouraging the children on their journey of faith. He might visit our EYFS classroom to re enact the baptism of a baby or to pray with the children at a special time on the Church calendar. We take our children up the road to church to learn more about the parish community and to participate in worship.
Our curriculum is based around topics which are enriched with classroom enhancements, trips and visitors. Topics are supported by quality key texts. These are chosen carefully to encourage children's speech, language and communication development. Whilst we have an overarching plan of topics for the year, all planning is flexible and responsive to children’s needs so plans can be changed and adapted depending on children’s interests and other factors.
Our EYFS indoor and outdoor space is a source of constant reflection and review. We strive to create an enabling environment- where resources are carefully selected and laid out and areas developed to support children in all aspects of their learning. There are lots of opportunities for physical development. Children spend time outdoors in all weathers. They enjoy wonderful, exploratory, sensory experiences using our outdoor area which has a range of equipment- larger static structures such as a willow tunnel and giant tractor tyre, enhanced by other resources such as planks, cones, crates, fabrics. Activities to develop fine motor skills are part of the children’s daily routine- explicit teaching of how to use different tools and materials builds a repertoire of skills with which they can express themselves creatively. The progression from mark making through letter formation to writing is a source of great excitement! Within our Continuous Provision children develop independence- choosing what they want to do, how they want to do it and who they might want to do it with. In addition, our adults spend time in CP with the children – facilitating play and supporting children to work together, manage their feelings, ask questions and develop language.
We create a ‘language rich’ environment with a focus on oracy. The children enjoy daily songs, rhymes and stories. We prioritise time for quality interactions between children and adults and between peers. Staff interact thoughtfully; talk is positive and progressive- language; vocabulary and structure, is modelled constantly and gently to enable children to gather words at pace. Vocabulary is also taught explicitly using a structured approach- this implicit and explicit approach helps all our children to become confident communicators. Further language support is provided for some learners through the NELI Programme.
Children are encouraged to become early readers through the systematic teaching of phonic alongside the enjoyment of books. Phase 2 and Phase 3 sounds and Tricky Words and the skills of blending and segmenting are taught daily in a fun, systematic way. Children develop these skills to read words, captions and sentences. They are provided with books to read at home and in the classroom that are closely linked to their phonics learning in class to ensure they build fluency and confidence.
The children develop their mathematical thinking through direct teaching and exploration. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences. Maths learning includes the use of songs, games, number characters and interactive display.
Parental engagement is key and a strong partnership between home and school is important. We are warm and welcoming. Parents are informed of what their child is learning each half term and given ideas of how they can support this at home. During the Autumn Term we provide face-to-face or online information sessions for parents about the teaching of phonics and reading. Regular correspondence is possible through the use of Class Dojo. When possible, parents are invited to attend ‘Stay and Play’ sessions and our Good News Assemblies.
At the end of the year; the EYFS Profile provides an assessment of each child against the Early Learning Goals. These judgements are made on the basis of observations and in-depth knowledge of the children acquired through ongoing assessment. In additional to our baseline assessment, these ongoing assessments are used to inform planning and next steps in teaching and learning for all children throughout the year. The summative EYFS Profile is used to inform parents of progress and to inform the Year 1 teacher about each child’s learning during their Reception year.
Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress from their starting points. During their time with us children make good progress towards the national expectation for a good level of development at the end of the year. Pupils also make good progress toward their age-related expectations both academically and socially in readiness for the transition into year 1. Children go into Year 1 able to read and write; with a mastery of number and with the characteristics of learning which will enable them to succeed at this next stage. They are able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations; making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. They are confident to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with peers and adults, drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing.
Our carefully planned environment, flexible and enriched curriculum, quality explicit teaching in many areas and insightful knowledge and continuous assessment of each child ensure this ongoing progress.