The Early Years Foundation Stage
Our EYFS rationale
Why is EYFS important at BFPNS?
At Brierley Forest, we know the Early Years Foundation Stage is a vital step in every child’s educational journey as it gives them the initial building blocks that are so crucial to their learning and development throughout their schooling years. In the foundation years, we place great value on the development of children as individuals and giving them opportunities to embed skills and knowledge that they require to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage 1 and beyond.
What does the EYFS look like at BFPNS?
Our EYFS is an inviting, safe, calm and stimulating learning environment where children have opportunities to learn through play by initiating their own ideas with the continuous provision indoors and outdoors and through adult support, scaffolding and modelling.
Our Nursery and Reception children are in two separate parts of the building, and both have their own carefully developed space for their needs as well as sharing a large outdoor area. In both Nursery and Reception, we have children who are happy and highly engaged in their learning. We support them in developing relationships with others and give them the skills to be able to interact effectively with their peers and adults.
What do we want our EYFS practise to look like in BFPNS?
At Brierley Forest, our practice is guided by a set of guiding principles. In an effective early years classrooms/environment we would like to see and hear:
Calm, welcoming and well-planned learning spaces, inside and outside where children feel both stimulated and at ease
Well qualified and highly skilled staff
Warm and nurturing relationships between adults and children
Adults talking to children about their learning and enthusing them to go further still in their explorations, problem solving and play
Adults and children using the language of learning – thinking, trying, remembering, looking at, discovering, getting better at …
Children talking to children about their learning
Children engaged in purposeful play
Daily high-quality teaching of essential early literacy and numeracy
High quality and well-planned resources which support children’s learning across all areas
Culturally diverse environments and resources which reflect the individual lives of the children and challenge their own stereotypes.
Sensitive and effective implementation of the agreed approaches to safeguarding which ensure that children’s well-being is at the heart of all aspects of planning and provision
Children becoming confident and independent learners – doing things for themselves, delighting in their differences and individual achievements
Children thriving as confident, happy individuals who are developing a sense of care and responsibility for themselves and others
Children enjoying nutritious food in a warm and social setting
Clear and consistent routines which focus on children’s learning and progress
Distraction free areas which support increasing levels of engagement and support love of books and reading
Daily/frequent opportunities for adventurous physical play in which children develop their confidence, skills and understanding of risk and safety
Frequent communication with parents and families – celebrating children’s achievements and supporting parental involvement in their children’s learning.
What does the EYFS curriculum look like at BFPNS?
At Brierley Forest, the curriculum has been carefully designed with a knowledge of the children’s backgrounds and their starting points. Many children come into our Nursery with low levels of Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) and Communication and Language (C&L) therefore these areas have been a main focus which are intertwined in everything we do.
The curriculum has been built to think about what comes before and after the learning that takes place in each year group and using the whole school progression maps, knowledge of child development and the Development Matters document staff have put together a broad and balanced curriculum, based around the seven areas of learning:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
The curriculum is based around a variety of themes with high quality texts and opportunities to learn through the children’s interests. We find this approach encourages a real thirst for learning and provides strong cross curricular links.
Practitioners plan adult-led activities with awareness of the children in the setting and of their responsibility to support all children’s progress in all areas of learning. They will build on what children know and can do. As with child-initiated activities, the practitioner actively uses a range of effective interaction strategies to support learning. Children take part in learning experiences daily and are taught individually, in small groups, and in whole classes. Through a combination of teacher input and continuous provision opportunities, learning is planned to encourage children to develop their learning independently through exploration and challenge.
The curriculum is progressive and gives children the language and vocabulary they need for later school years, throughout Nursery and Reception children will have the opportunity to review and extend skills and knowledge. We know that not all children come from our Nursery and therefore provide chances in Reception to consolidate and build upon learning happening in the Nursery year.
Our curriculum is therefore the cultural capital we know our pupils 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. These are at the heart of our Early Years Curriculum and explore the different ways in which children learn.
What does assessment look like in EYFS?
Throughout the EYFS years as part of the learning and teaching process, children will be assessed in relation to their progress towards our own assessment checkpoints which are based on our own curriculum, child development knowledge and the development matters documents. These judgements are made based on accumulative observations and in-depth knowledge of the children acquired through ongoing assessment by all staff. These ongoing assessments are used to inform planning and next steps in teaching and learning for all children throughout the year. They will determine whether the children are on track or whether they need additional interventions to help them swiftly catch up. End of year assessments are finalised during the summer term, summarising each child’s development at that point against either the assessment checkpoints (Nursery) or the Early Learning Goals (Reception). This information will then be passed onto the next teacher to ensure every child has the best opportunities.