Early Years Foundation Stage
Healthy bodies, Healthy minds, Healthy futures
In our Early Years setting, we want all children to get the best possible start to their school life and build strong foundations for future success, wellbeing and lifelong learning.
Our EYFS curriculum aims for all children to be:
- Happy, independent and curious learners
- Physically and mentally healthy
- Skilful communicators
- Emotionally aware and form positive relationships with others
- Resilient and able to persevere when they encounter challenge
- Competent learners, acquiring a depth and breadth of knowledge, skills and understanding across the seven areas of learning.
In our Early Years setting, we want all children to flourish regardless of their backgrounds, circumstances or needs. We passionately believe that this is achieved by always putting the child at the heart of all our decisions.
We work closely with families and previous settings to ensure a smooth and successful transition into our EYFS. The first half term is always focussed around forming caring and positive relationships with the children and helping them to feel safe and secure in their new surroundings.
Every child is recognised as a unique individual, and we acknowledge and celebrate their different interests. We recognise children’s prior learning and various starting points, and use this to create an exciting and engaging curriculum.
Our indoor and outdoor classroom is carefully planned for and provides enriched learning experiences and opportunities for children to develop their creativity and become curious life-long learners.
Children learn through a balance of child initiated and adult led activities. Our weekly timetable ensures that all children receive directed teaching in Maths, Phonics and English. We also have planned topic sessions which cover the seven areas of learning and provide engaging and challenging activities which embed skills and knowledge and promote independence through our continuous provision.
At Thorn Grove, we recognise play and first hand experiences as being fundamental to our children’s development and wellbeing. During child initiated learning, adults support children’s play by helping them explore and experiment with new ideas and develop their creativity. We also model how to share and take turns and support children in regulating their emotions and behaviours to help them develop friendships and act in a positive way towards others. Great emphasis is also placed on the importance of outdoor learning, which includes our weekly visits to the forest for our Woodland learning. This encourages our children to be risk takers and adventurous learners.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. In Nursery and Reception, we follow the highly successful Read Write Inc programme. Children in Nursery read a lot, talk a lot and sing a lot, particularly in the autumn term, developing the spoken language which underpins all 7 areas of the curriculum. Nursery children begin to learn the individual letter sounds in the spring term, focussing on saying and recognising each sound. Phonics is taught daily in Reception and covers reading, spelling and handwriting. We also instil a love of reading through using high quality texts as part of our weekly provision. This supports language development and engages and
supports children to become motivated and independent readers.
In maths we follow the Math Mastery approach which is supported by the Mastering Number by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics and Herts essential maths. We focus on deepening and extending mathematical thinking and language through learning key skills in number, calculation and shape. Children learn through adult directed, practical sessions which incorporate games and activities and the use of concrete manipulatives, allowing all children to make sense of abstract concepts and problems.
Children’s happiness is key to becoming a successful learner, and we strongly value the importance of our children being physically and mentally healthy. In addition to having daily opportunities to explore the outside area, the children take part in weekly PE sessions to develop core skills and promote physical activity and wellbeing. We also have regular PSHE circle time sessions, which focus on forming positive relationships and how to take care of our bodies, including brushing our teeth and eating a healthy, balanced diet. Each year, we also
take part in an annual whole school health and happiness week.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together. To support individual needs, we provide a variety of additional small group or 1:1 interventions. This includes, for example, sessions for developing speech and language, social skills, fine motor control, phonics and mathematics.
The impact of the EYFS curriculum is reflected in having well rounded, happy and confident children transitioning into Year 1. We ensure good outcomes for all children at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage and aim to exceed the National and Local Authority data for children achieving Good Level of Development.