Curriculum – Early Years Foundation Stage
Download: EYFS Policy 2022-2023 [PDF]
Intent – EYFS
At St Oswald’s Catholic Primary School, the EYFS curriculum is designed to encourage independent, inquisitive and happy learners, with the Gospel values at the heart of everything we do. We place a strong emphasis on the religious, spiritual, moral and cultural development of all our pupils. We recognise that all children are unique, celebrating and welcoming differences within our school community.
Our EYFS curriculum is designed to provide motivating first-hand experiences whilst supporting children in building resilience, interpersonal skills and a love of learning. We recognise that children are eager to explore the world around them, seeking new experiences and knowledge, and should be provided with opportunities to engage their inquisitive minds. Through a well organised, stimulating environment, the children are provided with opportunities to organise their own play and demonstrate positive characteristics of effective learning – playing and exploring (engagement), active learning (motivation) and creating and thinking critically (thinking).
We recognise children’s prior learning and various starting points, and aim to build on the wealth of knowledge and skills children already have when they arrive. We work in close partnership with parents and carers throughout the year to support their learning and to encourage children to reach their full potential. The curriculum evolves to provide children with important foundational skills and knowledge that will later be built upon and embedded in KS1.
Implementation – EYFS
Nursery and Reception work closely together to ensure continuity and progression across the Foundation stage. Timetables are organised effectively to ensure a balance of teacher directed and child-initiated activities. We use the environment to ensure the children’s needs are met through continuous provision and enhanced provision both indoors and outside, and by following their interests. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part of all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations and assessments of children. The children are introduced to different aspects of learning through Mr Men and Little Miss characters such as Mr Bump who likes to keep trying or Little Miss Curious who likes to investigate.
The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development. Collaborative planning, involving teachers and teaching assistants, takes place on a weekly basis to ensure all adults are involved in evaluating learning opportunities and planning the next steps for learning. Topic themes in the EYFS are based on foundational ideas coming from the EYFS curriculum: from ‘All about me’ as part of PSED, to ‘Our Sensational Seasons’ related to UW.
Time is allocated to allow for the rigorous directed teaching in Literacy, Mathematics and Phonics. These sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets. This focused group time enables the teacher to support and challenge children at a level specific to their individual learning needs, systematically checking for understanding and responding to misconceptions quickly. These groups are fluid and flexible according to children’s progress and needs. Immediate verbal feedback is provided which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
Throughout all areas of the curriculum, Reading and Writing are prioritised and key vocabulary is prominent. Phonics is taught through the ‘Read Write Inc’ systematic synthetic phonics programme. Children enjoy reading a variety of books through quality shared, guided and individual reading sessions. Reading for pleasure is prioritised through the enjoyment of daily story sessions, accessing a range of books in class reading areas and exploring books in different areas of learning. Children also take home reading books tailored to their individual phonics level.
We follow the ‘White Rose’ Maths Mastery approach in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of Mathematical language. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration and in adult directed activities.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, however we also use a range of additional interventions to support, enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or to help move on children who are having difficulties making progress. Some examples of this include our ‘Think Yourself Great’ programme aimed at supporting children with low confidence, poor self-esteem or behaviour issues or the NELI programme for children requiring additional support with developing their communication and language skills.
At St Oswald’s we use both formative and summative assessments to inform medium term and weekly planning for our younger children. We start with a baseline assessment at the beginning of the school year. Ongoing individual observations, of children’s learning, play and interests, are used to support teachers in making assessments and inform potential next steps for each child. Assessment information is also used to support the identification of, and planning for, children requiring targeted interventions. These interventions are then planned for by the teacher using SMART targets. They are delivered by teachers and TAs. All interventions are reviewed after an eight-week cycle and the impact recorded.
The progress of individual children is monitored throughout the year and teachers discuss this during termly Pupil Progress meetings, allowing us to assess the impact of our teaching and ensure intervention measures are in place to help children that need it. Moderation sessions are held within year groups and across the EYFS Phase. Staff also attend sessions facilitated by the LA in order to moderate judgements with colleagues from other schools, ensuring judgements are accurate. These judgements feed into the Statutory EYFS Profile, recording each child’s level of development at the end of the EYFS.
Nursery Mouse Club
All children in Nursery will be given a mouse when they start with us and mouse will help them to become ready for Reception. Mouse will live at home with the children and will help them with home learning challenges. Along with mouse you will receive a pack of useful information about ways in which you can help at home to prepare your child for school.
In normal circumstances we would invite you into nursery once each half term to join in with our stay and play activities. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions we haven’t been able to do this for some time, however we are hopeful that this will change soon and we can start to do this again. We will send out the dates for this as soon as we are able.
Mouse home learning challenges will be sent out from time to time throughout the year and families are asked to send in photos, videos or notes, through class dojo, telling us about what the children have done at home with mouse to work on such challenges. The children love to share their news from home when you send it in, we put it on the big screen in class and they do a little show and tell about it.
If you have any questions about mouse club or would like support or advice in any area of preparing your child for school please ask one of the nursery team or send us a message through class dojo and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Early reading skills are developed in nursery through a range of pre-phonics and early phonics activities. This ranges from listening to sounds in the environment, learning about rhymes to beginning to hear sounds in words. To support this at home we ask that children are regularly read to. The importance of bedtime stories is paramount to children’s mastery of language and literacy skills. We invite you and your child to come to our Nursery Library every Friday (8:30-9:00 for the morning session or 12:30-1:00 for the afternoon session), to choose a book to borrow. We ask you to share the book with them, looking at the pictures and read the story to them, talking about characters and what is happening in the story.
We encourage families to come in and choose books with the children, however, if you are unable to do this we will choose a book with your child and send it home for you to share at home. If you are unable to come to our library sessions please remember to bring the book and bag back each Friday for us to change with your child.
Nursery Lending Library
In addition to our book library, we invite you to come along to our ‘Lending Library’. The library contains a wide variety of educational resources including story sacks, games and activity packs that you can borrow, all free of charge. All that we ask is that resources are shared with the children, enjoyed and well looked after.
Once registered for the ‘Lending Library’ you can borrow the resources on a weekly basis – when your resource is returned to nursery on the planned return date, you can then choose another item to borrow from the library. To ensure the upkeep and quality of the lending library we would ask a nominal fee of £2.50 for any lost or damaged resources.
Lending library will be open at the same time as our book library, every Friday from 8:30-9:00 for the morning session and 12:30-1:00 for the afternoon session.
Homework in Reception
Throughout the year we will send home a range of different activities that you can do at home to support your child’s learning. This will link with the seven areas of learning: Communication & Language, Personal & Social Development, Physical Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Homework will alternate between phonics and maths, including some activities based on our half termly topics or relevant celebration weeks or events and will be sent home in homework books. These books should be returned to school each Monday (or before) for marking and for the new homework task to be issued to the children.
Classdojo will also be used as a home/school link. On your child’s class story you will find informative posts to help with your home learning such as phonics videos, links and top tips for reading with your child.
When the children have been introduced to the first few sets of letters and sounds they will be taught how to blend the sounds together for reading. All children will be given a home reading book with a reading record and a word card. The word cards will contain ‘tricky’ words that will be highlighted in red. Please encourage your child to learn these through sight recognition as these are the words which are most frequently found in books; it is important that children don’t attempt to segment and blend these words but become so familiar to them that they are automatically read. The reading book and word card should be kept in your child’s book bag and sent into school every day. A parent’s guide for supporting reading at home can be found on our school website in the Curriculum: EYFS section. If you require any additional information on supporting your child’s learning at home, please speak to the class teacher. Thank you for your support.
Other Important Information
Autumn Term 2022
Monday – Prayer assembly
The children gather each Monday morning to share Sunday’s Gospel and explore current initiatives form the Catholic Church. These sessions provide a great opportunity to teach the Gospel Values to children at a level that they can understand and implement in our Nursery and Reception settings.
Friday – Praise Assembly & PE
Friday morning is our weekly celebration of the amazing things our children do. Certificates are awarded for outstanding behaviour, writer of the week and star of the week. All children will get the chance to receive a certificate for their hard work throughout the year.
Please ensure children have full PE kit (t-shirt, shorts and pumps) in school ready for this. PE kits can be left in school and taken home for washing at the end of each half term (if you wish to wash kits weekly please ensure they are back for the following week). Children cover a range of PE skills through dance, gymnastics and games lessons.
Additional Information for Parents
Download: Foundation Stage Curriculum Information Booklet 2021 [PDF]
Download: Supporting Reading at Home (Reception) [PDF]
Download: Reception Homework Guide [PDF]
Starting School Together – guides for helping children with different areas of learning:
Download: Happy Talk [PDF] – Most early years teachers agree that, for a child starting school, being able to talk about what they think and explain how they feel are more important than any academic skills.
Download: Listen and Learn [PDF] – School involves a lot of listening – to their teacher and other adults – so practising good listening skills before your child starts school will help them get off to a great start.
Download: Make a mark, make a start [PDF] – Ideas for mark making, art, and early writing activities.
Download: Physical Development [PDF] – A guide to helping children with their developing physical skills as they approach the start of school.
Download: The Numbers Game [PDF] – Help your child to prepare for learning maths at school with these simple games, rhymes and everyday activities.
The following external links provide information for Parents and carers about learning and development within the Early Years (Nursery and Reception) and a variety of websites that can be used to support different areas of learning.
Download: What to Expect in the Early Years [PDF]
External Link: Foundation Years
External Link: I CAN
External Link: PhonicsPlay – a site packed with interactive phonics games.
External Link: Phoneme Pop Game
External Link: CBeebies – uses a combination of puppets, animation, and a range of different hosts to teach young children skills such as letters, numbers, shapes, colours and emotions.
External Link: CBeebies Numberblocks – Covers key maths topics and skills that help children to build natural number sense and a solid foundation of mathematical understanding.
External Link: Oxford Owl – Interactive books and reading activities to share with your child at home.
External Link: Fun with Spot – A firm favourite with pre-schoolers, Eric Hill’s lovable puppy Spot introduces children to new experiences through friendship and play. Fun activities including making your own Spot story.
External Link: BBC School Radio – Nursery Songs
External Link: Crickweb Early Years
External Link: NRICH – EYFS Books linked with Mathematical Development
External Link: Barnaby Bear – Barnaby Bear helps children to learn about the world around them by showing a video diary of his adventures.
External Link: Top Marks – Games of varying quality to support a range of areas of learning
External Link: Cosmic Kids Yoga
External Link: Let’s Talk PANTS – This link takes you to the NSPCC website which will support you to help your child to stay safe and have confidence to say no if the feel vulnerable. There is a video with a song that the children will enjoy and delivers a valuable message for children.