Early Years Foundation Stage At Blackpool
At Blackpool Primary School, offer a curriculum that is rich in stimulating and memorable experiences designed to securing solid foundations for our children’s future learning. It is our intent that children in EYFS develop physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally whilst embedding a positive attitude to school and learning.
We believe that all children deserve to be valued as an individual and we are passionate in allowing all children to achieve their full, unique potential. With this in mind, we begin each new year by looking at the individual needs of our children and taking into account their different starting points, we then carefully develop our flexible EYFS Curriculum. Our provision follows the children’s interests and also enables them to follow the path of their learning journey that is suitable for their unique needs and stage of development.
Our school motto ‘Only My Best is Good Enough; Aspiring and Flourishing Together’ underpins our Christian ethos and values and are promoted in all aspects of school life to teach our children how to be respectful, tolerant and caring citizens who know how they can make a positive contribution to their class, school and wider world. Our Curriculum Threads ‘Values, Communication and Connections, Life-long Skills, Creativity, My Place in The World and Well-Being’ link to all areas of the school curriculum.
We strive for our pupils to be healthy, independent, self-regulated learners who interact positively with others and as such there is a strong emphasis on the Prime Areas of Learning; Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language, including Oracy.
We design our provision in the Early Years to ensure a good balance between adult-directed and child-initiated play to ensure all children are appropriately supported and challenged. Warm and positive relationships between adults and children, consistent routines in an enabling learning environment, and strong relationships between home and school, ensure that our pupils have the best support to achieve their full potential.
By the end of the Reception year we intend for all of our pupils to have achieved at least good progress from their starting points and ensure they have the right skills, knowledge and attributes for a smooth transition to Year 1 and beyond.
The content of the curriculum within the early years unit is set out within the EYFS Statutory Framework. Guidance is given on effective learning and teaching through the seven areas.
The prime areas are:
• Communication and Language;
• Physical Development; and
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
These are the four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
The specific areas are:
• Understanding the World
• Expressive Arts and Design.
Teachers introduce themes throughout the year to deliver the educational areas of learning outlined in the framework, whilst also providing flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas to promote high levels of engagement.
Within each of these areas there are 'stepping stones', (see Development Matters), which show the knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes children need to learn during the Foundation Stage in order to achieve the Early Learning Goals by the end of their reception year.
All areas of learning are taught in a practical way, allowing children plenty of time to ‘explore’ through a range of carefully planned experiences that are supported and challenged by the adults working alongside them.
There is a combination of adult-led, teacher taught sessions as well as a wealth of stimulating continuous provision opportunities alongside small group sessions and working with individuals. Throughout all of these areas of learning and at the heart of the EYFS Curriculum are the “Characteristics of Effective Learning”; “Playing and Learning”, “Active Learning” and “Thinking Critically” in order to give the children the skills that they will continue to draw upon throughout their development.
We prioritise a language-rich environment through the use of songs, nursery rhymes, stories, oracy activities and quality time for quality interactions with adults and peers. Trained staff ensure that interactions are positive and progressive, allowing children to flourish and gather rich and varied vocabulary to become confident communicators.
Symbols are used throughout the learning environment to support children to recall key information and vocabulary and become independent learners.
We understand the importance of parental engagement and how support from home is crucial in their children’s education. We provide parent guidance, workshops and newsletters to explain how they can support their children at home. Parents enjoy using Tapestry to engage in their child’s learning.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and we encourage a love of reading. Books shared with children are chosen with the aim of exposing them to a range of engaging quality texts chosen to develop oracy, vocabulary and comprehension, as well as exploration of genres and themes in books. These sessions are taught in daily teacher-led sessions and will also be used in continuous provision for children to internalise new vocabulary, language patterns and retelling stories.
The following guiding principles apply to our Literacy teaching:
- High quality texts- age and stage appropriate
- Modelling reading, re-telling and writing opportunities
- Structured comprehension questions based on Blank Level Questioning
- A focus on tier 1,2 and 3 vocabulary
- Dedicated phonics sessions, including tricky words and high frequency words
- Oracy activities to promote the effective use of spoken language and listening
- Vocabulary focus to broaden rich and varied word acquisition
At Blackpool we teach phonics through the Read, Write, Inc Scheme of Work. This progressive phonics-based reading programme provides a structured and systematic approach to teaching reading, spelling and writing. We use it to match our children with phase of phonics that is most suitable to their individual needs. The progressive approach ensures pupils develop as fluent readers, confident speakers and willing, successful writers at the appropriate pace. We aim for all of our children to be secure in phase 3 for reading and writing.
Children are expected to read daily at home and are listened to in school regularly. Their books match their phonics knowledge so that they can apply their learning successfully. Our children also have a choice of book to enjoy sharing at home at home from the school library.
In EYFS we follow NCETM and Numberblocks to guide our planning.
There are daily adult led sessions that focus on aspects of maths that develop fluency, revisit key concepts and address misconceptions.
The learning environment promotes meaningful interactions with adults and support children in developing mathematical thinking and discussion. Children are taught key mathematical vocabulary and learn ways to explain their thinking and reasoning.
Manipulatives, pictorial structures and representations are included in learning, which can then be applied and recorded in child-led exploration. Songs, rhymes, games and play-based activities using manipulatives are used to develop an interest in maths.
Our wider curriculum is taught through the Educational areas; ‘Understanding of the World’ and ‘Expressive Arts and Design’. The school have mapped out how the Early Learning Goals feed into the National Curriculum the progression to each of the foundation subjects in our whole school curriculum plan.
Teachers plan exciting, purposeful and contextual activities to build on children’s natural curiosity. For example- building a boat for their favourite toy enables them to be a ‘scientist’ and ‘engineer’ as they explore a range of materials and test their own ideas.
We encourage our children to use specific language and terminology that would be used in foundation subject disciplines, with vocabulary being modelled orally by supporting practitioners.
Our curriculum offers learning opportunities in the outdoor environment, and our children have the opportunity to use the outdoor learning spaces such as dens, sand-pit, mud kitchen, forest area and playgrounds to develop their sensory and exploratory skills. Physical Education sessions support our children in building core strength and co-ordination, as well as team building skills.
The children have a weekly Religious Education session, with a focus on leaning about other faiths and religions, how this links to their everyday lives and how to live respectfully together.
PSHE lessons are also taught weekly, and follow a whole school theme which covers aspects the important age-appropriate aspects of the whole school PSHE curriculum, including the teaching of RSHE.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together. There are opportunities for support and challenge during adult-directed group activities, as well as during continuous provision activities when adults work alongside our pupils.
Children who are not meeting their full potential in key areas will receive additional intervention with the view of closing any gaps as efficiently as possible.
Pupils who have a specific Special Educational Need will have a bespoke Personal Learning Plan or an Educational Health Care Plan with targets aimed to specifically support their needs.
Children’s outcomes can be seen in learning journeys, photographic and video records, displays around the school and the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. Regular revisiting of knowledge, skills and concepts to aid long-term retention. Ongoing assessment and observations, including half termly phonics assessments, inform our planning and children’s next steps in learning, enabling us to complete the profile and to deliver a curriculum which is both stimulating and specific to the individual children’s needs. This enables us, as EYFS practitioners, to ensure learning is not only embedded but also retrievable, enabling children to master concepts upon which to build as they move up through the school.
Teachers use a statutory baseline assessment, focused around Language, Communication and Literacy, as well as Mathematics in order to show progress during this phase of education in the Foundation Stage. Information gained from previous settings also helps to inform all of our children’s starting points and how these can be progressed effectively.
Children also have a Speech and Language Link Assessment as a tool to help identify levels of speech and communication and is useful to identify pupils who may need additional support in this area.
Parents are shared assessments regularly to see how their children are progressing in different areas.
Impact of our Early Years curriculum is also evident through our successful transition to Year 1. EYFS staff have a good understanding of how ELGs link to the national curriculum and through our whole school curriculum planning of all subjects, children leave EYFS stage with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey in the each of the foundation and core subjects.