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Early Years

Intent  Implementation Impact

Intent: Our curriculum and why we teach Early Years like this at St George’s. What we expect the children to learn throughout their time in Early Years at St George’s.

 

Implementation: How we teach our Early Years curriculum and why. How we enable the children to develop a love of learning in the Early Years and achieve the best they can in this phase of their education at St George’s. How we assess the progress the children make and ensure they make good progress.

 

Impact: Using assessment to support all children on their Early Years journey. Ensure that prior knowledge is built on and look to how this knowledge will be used in future learning to create a rich and meaningful Early Years experience at St George’s. What will an Early Years child look like by the end of their time in Early Years at St George’s and how will their acquired skills support them as they transition into Year 1.

 

Intent

 

At St George’s we offer an Early Years curriculum which aims to inspire all our children as they begin their learning journey, through a range of experiences rich in awe and wonder. Whilst ensuring the children are able to participate in first hand real life experiences, enabling them to make concrete links in their learning. We provide a stimulating environment both inside and outside, which promotes challenge, exploration, adventure and a real love of learning.

 

It is our intent that all children develop in all areas of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage in an environment which values each child as an individual and their families. We aim for our children to be confident and believe in themselves as a lifelong learner and as an important part of our community.

 

We understand that play is an integral part of learning and this is at the heart of our Early Years curriculum. We believe that a balance between child-initiated learning and adult directed learning ensures the best outcomes for all pupils at St George’s.

 

At St George’s when a child starts our school, they join our school family, with this extending to their own families. We recognise the crucial role families have to play in a child’s education and work hard to develop positive relationships with the whole family to provide the best support and learning experience possible for their child.

 

We understand the importance of the Early Years in laying the foundations for learning for each child and know that without these firm building blocks in place a child will not flourish and achieve their full potential.

 

Supporting these aims is our vision “Inspire, Believe, Achieve. With God all things are possible”. This shared vision underpins everything we do at St George’s; enabling our children to become successful learners and caring, thoughtful individuals.  

 

Implementation

 
At St George’s we aim to inspire our children to have a life-long love of learning through an exciting Early Years curriculum, which meets the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and is guided by Development Matters, to ensure effective progression.

 

Our learning environment reflects each cohort of children and their interests, as it is easily adaptable to cater for these and to support the children’s progression over time. At the heart of our Early Years is our school vision of ‘Inspire, Believe, Achieve – With God all things are possible’.

 

We adopt a topic approach to our learning, based on the children’s interests, including all children in setting our curriculum at the start of the school year as a we discover what they would like to learn about during their time in Early Years. Our topics are supported by quality key texts and explore overarching big questions. The children share their starting points and these are then built around by the staff. We have a good relationship with many of our feeder settings and seek to develop on the children’s previous learning at nursery and pre-school by finding out what they have covered during their years before joining the St George’s family.

 

The children are supported to learn to work together, manage their feelings and ask questions. This is facilitated by experienced practitioners who have a wealth of knowledge of how children develop during the Early Years and are sensitive to each child as an individual. Children are supported to feel calm, included and respected through our daily routines and positive praise. As a Nurture School we consider the children’s personal and emotional development and facilitate this development through, circle times, ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ and ‘show and tell’ sessions.

 

At St George’s we develop the children’s fine and gross motor skills through our weekly ‘Motor Skills’ morning, our large apparatus in the outside area, taught P.E. lessons, ‘dough disco’ sessions, handwriting sessions and through our continuous provision. This enables the children to develop their core muscles, which supports them as dancers, footballers, gymnasts and writers.

 

We create a language rich environment for the children to rapidly learn new words and encourage children to ask about unknown words to develop their understanding on knowledge of these. We achieve this through clearly labelled resources, taught sessions and shared reading, whilst simply being woven through all of our interactions with the children. This enables our children to be confident communicators as they share their knowledge and understanding with others.

 

At St George’s, children are supported to become readers through the use of nursery rhymes, songs and story times, as this promotes an enjoyment of reading and an appreciation for books. Children have daily phonics sessions to enable them to learn the key skills of letter and sound recognition, which they use to sound out and blend words, learning at their pace new digraphs and trigraphs. Alongside phonics the children learn that not all words are phonetically decodable, learning to read targeted words from sight. The books the children read for themselves are carefully matched to their phonic knowledge and reading ability, empowering them as a reader as they feel success in their own abilities. Meanwhile, they have a range of books at a more challenging level read to them to develop their enjoyment of reading and to expose them to a range of different texts, including non-fiction books. Stories and communication and language skills are also developed through the use of ‘Helicopter Stories’, another tool for promoting enjoyment of stories as these enable the child to become the storyteller.  

 

Writing develops from mark making to written sentences throughout the year. This is taught in small adult led groups and is encouraged through our continuous provision, with mark making and writing resources available around the department, both inside and outside. We write for purpose to inspire our children, as they write letters to father Christmas to post or describe Cinderella’s glass slipper to help find it.

 

Our children develop as mathematicians through a daily adult led session and maths provision made during independent learning time. Maths is taught practically to the children, with them able to use concrete resources to help them develop a deep knowledge of number. We aim to link our learning to real life situations, so the children are able to appreciate the value of Maths and that Maths is all around them.

 

At St George’s we have two dedicated outside areas for Early Years, promoting an understanding of the world around them. The children learn through exploration and are encouraged to take care of the world around them, with our own dedicated pond area, growing areas and forest school circle.

 

Our learning environment promotes expressive arts and design through role play areas, the mud kitchen, creative areas, construction areas, our own staged area and the use of small world and open-ended play resources.

 

We understand the importance of a strong partnership with parents. We invite parents to be a part of the induction process with their child as we believe it is not just the child becoming part of our St George’s family, but their whole family. Parents attend stay and play sessions with their child prior to starting school, parent information meetings run throughout the year focusing on different areas of the curriculum, parents are invited into class to see learning in action and to share their skills with us in school. We have regular communication with parents through a variety of channels and hold formal parent consultations twice a year, in addition to a formal report at the end of the academic year. Parents receive a weekly letter to inform them of our current learning and how they can support their child at home. Parents are also actively encouraged to use our observation programme ‘Evidence Me’ to submit their own observations from outside of school to provide a full picture of their child. Resources are also sent home to support parents in educating their children outside of school, as they reinforce school learning. We tailor these resources to meet each individual child’s needs.

 

As part of the learning and teaching process, children are assessed in relation to their progress towards Development Matters and the Early Learning Goals. These judgements are made on the basis of accumulative observations and in depth knowledge of the children acquired through ongoing assessment. These ongoing assessments are used to inform planning and next steps in teaching and learning for all children throughout the year.

 

Impact

 

Our inspirational curriculum and its hands-on delivery ensure that our children typically make good progress from their own individual starting points, with many making beyond expected progress. Children in our Early Years, often arrive with lower than expected starting points. During their time with us many make rapid progress towards the national expectation for a good level of development at the end of the academic year.

 

Our children enter Year 1 prepared for the challenges of the National Curriculum, having developed their characteristics of effective learning, enabling them to apply their knowledge to a range of situations, make links, explain their ideas and understanding and have the confidence to ‘have a go’.

 

We believe our high standards are due to our carefully planned environment, enriched play-based curriculum, quality first teaching, the rigor of assessment and our constant desire to improve our offer to the children and families we serve in our community.   

 

Our curriculum is under constant review to ensure that the views of all are heard, including our children, parents, staff and governors as we seek to ensure all stakeholders are able to live our school vision of ‘Inspire, Believe, Achieve – With God all things are possible’.

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