Early Years Foundation Stage
Our vision for EYFS at St Mary and St Michael’s School is to inspire, engage and enthuse our pupils to be active learners every day. Our children in EYFS learn in a stimulating environment with high quality provision areas inside and outdoors. This includes our construction area, sand and water area, mud kitchen, home corner and the creative area, playdough area, and many more which are enhanced on a daily basis.
Through exciting provision the highest quality Early Years experience is delivered by establishing a firm foundation on which to build future academic, enterprising, social and emotional successes focusing particularly on well-being and attitudes to learning.
High aspirations are instilled in our pupils from a very early age and pupils self-belief and ownership of learning allow them to take risk and develop resilience on a daily basis.
Children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning is ignited, along with the development of skills needed to learn, form relationships and thrive. Whilst recognising that every child is unique and joins St Mary and St Michael’s with differing levels of learning and social skills, our aim on leaving Reception is that children are:
- Confident learners, who are resilient and willing to take risks.
- Positive about their learning and are able to self-regulate .
- High expectations of themselves and others.
- Inspired by their Faith to take care of the world around them.
Our Learning Approach
In our EYFS class we follow the children’s interests on a daily basis through our play based curriculum. Our highly effective practitioners work with the children in the environment to encourage the pupils to explore and investigate problems, to ensure the best outcomes for all pupils. Their knowledge of the Early Years Curriculum allows them to support pupils progress during play, allowing each child to have ownership of their learning.
At St Mary and St Michael’s we believe the adults role is to facilitate opportunities for pupils to learn through sensitive interactions. By responding to pupils needs in this way, pupils see their play as meaningful and being valued by adults. This empowers our early learners to develop by leading their own play, and at St Mary and St Michael’s this won’t be adult led with limited predetermined outcomes.
Examples of this include, developing mark making skills by encouraging children to write a recipe in the Mud Kitchen. Also, designing and labelling a picture of a pattern they have created on the light box. Our child led approach means that pupils are constantly engaged in their learning and learn under real life contexts. All adults in EYFS are trained to a high standard to ensure they are skilled to further a child’s learning through questioning. They have a good knowledge of each child’s next steps so can extend their learning whilst ‘at play’.
At St Mary and St Michael’s all of our planning, with the exception of Literacy, Mathematics and Religious Education, is based around our pupils’ interests and needs. Links are made between the seven areas of development through purposeful play. Introducing concepts and knowledge into the children’s play by enhancing our provision.
When children are engaged in play, practitioners are trained to identify teachable moments for children to progress. Based on what the children are already deeply involved in, this way of planning relies on skilled practitioners using quality interactions to draw out the children’s knowledge and build on it there and then.
This means that the practitioner needs the skills to be able to spot a teachable moment from the child’s perspective and be skilled enough to know when to intervene and when to stand back and observe.
Our pupils free play is an opportunity for us to capture the moment of your child’s engagement and run with it to make sure we build upon their knowledge and skills.
At St Mary and St Michael’s we teach reading through the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves.
We start by teaching phonics to the children in the foundation stage. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are. The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.
The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.
The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books.
They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.
All the staff have been trained to teach reading in the way we do it in this school. The Reading Manager watch other teachers teaching to make sure that the children are learning how we want them to learn. You will be invited to observe your child learning phonics so that we can explain how we teach it.