Early Years Foundation Stage
The term Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is used to describe children who are in our Nursery and Reception classes.
At West Park Academy our children are at the heart of everything that we do. In the Early Years Foundation Stage, we have a child centred approach to the way we plan and deliver our curriculum. Our children are valued for their individuality. We aim to inspire them with a love of learning, encouraging them to make links, recognise similarities in their learning and experiences, preparing them for the next stage in their education.
Our curriculum is therefore the cultural capital we know our children need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. They can only do that if we embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking. Our children are immersed in a rich environment of words, sounds, rhythm, and verbal and non-verbal expression. All of our practitioners understand the importance of vocabulary in Early Years and how vital modelling vocabulary is for future success.
Through a pedagogy that values both child-initiated and adult- led learning supported by a carefully sequenced, broad and balanced curriculum of knowledge, key skills and first-hand experiences. We use the children’s starting points to plan a thoughtful yet challenging environment that will deepen skills allowing knowledge to stick. Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision.
PHONICS AND EARLY READING
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and we believe that the ability to read is vital for children’s success. Early reading is taught through a systematic and structured approach to phonics using 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised' scheme. Alongside the formal session, we utilise a range of intervention strategies to close any gaps in learning.
In Nursery, we follow 'Foundations for phonics' which sets out the provision that should be in place to ensure children are well prepared to begin grapheme–phoneme correspondence and blending at the start of Reception. The provision should include a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences. One of the most important aspects of Foundations for phonics is developing an awareness of sound, through activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending.
In Reception, we have a formal session each day and our provision has been developed to give the children a highly immersive phonics environment. Children will build upon the oral blending and segmenting skills and learn the correct terminology for letter sounds and shapes. They will bring together phonemes and graphemes to begin to read and write simple words. By the end of the year, the children will be expected to write a simple sentence or caption using their phonic knowledge.
Reading books are matched carefully to each child’s phonics phase. In Nursery and Reception, children take home a ‘Care and Share’ book each week to share with a parent at home.
In Nursery, mathematics is brought to life through play, number recognition and opportunities for counting. Learning is made real through numerals in the environment and children have the ability for cognitive development at their own pace and through connection of head, heart and hands!
This is extended in Reception as we take on the Mastery Maths approach, combining children’s interests, fascinations and early number skills as well as deepening children’s knowledge of number and numerical patterns. We deliver carefully structured teaching that is complimented by planned time for the children to embed learning through a wide range of experiences.
Children’s chances of success are maximised if they develop deep and lasting understanding of mathematical procedures and concepts. We believe that high quality experiences of mathematics are the entitlement of every child.
We plan and resource challenging mathematical environments indoors and outdoors, where children’s play can be supported and extended. Practitioners can increase and develop children’s mathematical language and communication in their play through sensitive observation and appropriate modelling and intervention. The use of practical resources, every day and real-life situations, offers children contexts that emphasise the role mathematics can play in their everyday lives.
Children that are happy, engaged and independent learners, that show resilience and a thirst for knowledge. Our children love to learn and come to school. Children will have those learning behaviours that prepare them for future learning. We believe our high standards are due to the enriched play-based exploration alongside the wealth of knowledge staff have about each child as they move through the early years – a rich diet of balanced learning experiences is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children.
This learning overview provides you with an insight into the children’s learning experiences throughout their Reception year. The learning opportunities will also continue to be enhanced over the year as children build upon their own unique experiences and share their ideas with their friends as is the ethos of EYFS. Through the continuous provision children are given lots of opportunities for child initiated, investigation and play. This enhances learning through rich, stimulating activities and opportunity to develop greater depth. This approach, we believe, helps them to become more independent through the characteristics of effective learning:
Playing and exploring, Active learning, Creative and thinking critically.
Please read our policies below for more information.