Early Years

EYFS Curriculum 

Intent

At Crook Primary School we aim to ensure all children in EYFS are given the best quality care and education to ensure they have a strong foundation for their future learning. We create a safe, happy, stimulating environment with motivating and challenging learning experiences to help children become confident, happy and independent learners ready to reach their full potential in an ever-changing world. 

We value each individual child and celebrate and respect differences within our diverse school community. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge and values that equips our children for future success.

Our curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior experiences and provide first hand learning based on their interests, needs and stages of development. There is a strong emphasis on the prime areas of learning; Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and language within our curriculum, especially Nursery. Communication and language is a life skill that will ensure success beyond school and in future employment. This also develops children’s thinking and understanding which in turn promotes resilience, self confidence and also improves academic outcomes. As the pupils move into Reception, we also invest time and energy into helping pupils aim high and develop a love for reading, writing and maths. We therefore provide a meaningful curriculum that maximises opportunities for cross curricular links as well as offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking to foster a lifelong love of learning both in and out of school. 

By the end of Reception our intent is to ensure that all children make at least good progress from their starting points and that children are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to begin their journey into Year 1. 

 

Implementation 

Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. Our timetable is carefully structured so that children access directed teaching during the day but this can change throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of the children. These sessions are followed by small focused group work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets, check understanding and identify and respond to misconceptions which impacts instantly on the children’s learning. 

Children are also given time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences that are carefully planned to challenge and engage children. The curriculum is planned in a cross curricular way to enable all aspects of children’s development are included and importance is given to both inside and outside areas. 


Literacy 

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage children to have a love of reading right from the start in Nursery. We ensure we expose children to a range of books which will also help develop their vocabulary and comprehension from an early age. We often teach our topics through a story and this way children become overly familiar with these stories and are able to retell them using repeated phrases and in the correct order. 

Phonics

From September 2021 we will be following ‘Little Waddle’s Letters and sounds revised programme’ to ensure consistency across the school. In Nursery, children focus on phase 1 which develops children’s speaking and listening skills, oral blending skills and also lays the foundations for the phonics work taught in phase 2. 

In Reception phase 1 continues but phase 2 and 3 are also introduced and in these phases, they will be exposed to new sounds as well as segmenting and blending skills to decode words. Children are also encouraged to regularly read at home and are listened to regularly in school. They are given books that match their phonic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning with the main aim of them becoming successful, fluent readers. 

Maths 

In September we will follow the programme of White Rose Maths with an emphasis on studying key number skills, calculation and shape so that pupils develop mathematical thinking and have a deep understanding of mathematical skills. Children will learn through a range of games and tasks using concrete and pictorial representations which are then applied and recorded within their own child led learning. 

In Nursery children will also develop a love of maths through games, songs, rhymes and concrete resources which will enable them to explore sorting, quantities, shape, number and counting skills. These early mathematical skills are designed to give children the foundations to support their learning into Reception. 

Wider curriculum 

We ensure our topics are based on providing our children with ‘exciting experiences’ which motivate the children and build on their natural curiosity. We also ensure we bring learning to life by providing children with hands-on experiences and build on their prior knowledge. Subject knowledge of the EYFS curriculum is strong in all staff and this is used to plan a broad and balanced learning environment and activities for all children. 

We ensure all children learn together but have a range of interventions and support in place for children who are not reaching their potential or who are showing greater depth of understanding and need further challenge. This can include speech and language skills, fine motor skills, phonics and mathematics. 

Regular monitoring of teaching and learning by Deputy Head and SLT ensures staff develop good subject knowledge and children are making good progress. Weekly planning meetings are also held with all staff involved to discuss particular children, what has happened during the week and also what are next steps of learning or stages of development for children. Staff also have professional dialogue between all members of staff about particular children if need be on a daily basis. 

 

Impact 

A baseline assessment is carried out on all children in both nursery and reception to identify which stage children are at in their development. This gives us an idea of where to begin with their learning and what to build on. Our children have varied starting points, therefore, we have to have high expectations to ensure all children make ‘good progress’ across all areas of the EYFS curriculum. Progress is evident in learning journals, books and data. 

We strive for children to reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception and to be at least in line with national expectations.  We measure the percentage of children achieving age related expectations throughout the year and put supportive interventions in place as and when needed. Class teachers/key workers use observations and teacher judgements to make formative assessments which inform future planning and ensure all children build on their prior knowledge and skills. These observations are kept in the children’s learning journals.  Summative assessments are completed three times a year. 

The impact of our curriculum is also measured by how effectively it helps our children develop into well rounded individuals who are resilient, curious, will take risks and believe and achieve.