Foundation Stage Curriculum
• We provide our children with a responsive curriculum that is designed to be flexible, engaging and exciting so that children’s unique needs, passions and interests are embraced.
• We promote cooperative and collaborative learning principles and place a strong emphasis on the Prime Areas of learning; Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language with a particular focus on developing children’s vocabulary and oracy skills.
• We recognise that promoting children’s spoken language improves children’s thinking and understanding skills and underpins all other areas of learning and development.
• Reading is at the heart our curriculum; we understand the importance of the power of exploring, listening to and enjoying stories and rhymes. We also know that children need to develop the ability to use their phonic knowledge to read with increasing speed and accuracy. We value story times and ensure our reading provision is enhanced in order to support the children in developing early reading skills, alongside their ability to use their phonic knowledge to read with increasing accuracy.
• We develop warm and positive relationships with children and parents. Adults have unconditional positive regard towards all children and in doing so enable children to develop their ability to self-regulate and become resilient and empathetic learners.
• Our enabling indoor and outdoor learning environments are safe, secure and promote high levels of curiosity, engagement and first hand learning experiences through extended periods of play and sustained thinking.
• By the end of the Reception year, our intent is to ensure that all children make at least good progress from their starting points and are equipped with the knowledge and skills to have a smooth transition into Year 1.
Across our Early Years Foundation Stage we follow
• DfE (2021) ‘Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage’
This framework specifies the requirement for learning, development and care in the Early Years (birth to five years).
Teaching and learning within the EYFS enables children to follow their own interests within stimulating and carefully structured, yet flexible indoor and outdoor provision which covers all 7 areas of our curriculum;
• Communication and Language
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
• Physical Development
• Understanding the World
• Expressive Arts and Design
The children are actively engaged in working towards the Early Learning Goals which are broken down into 17 distinct aspects.
In planning and guiding children’s activities, both indoors and outdoors we reflect on the different ways that children learn and the characteristics of effective teaching and learning, we introduce characters to the children to enable them to develop an understanding of how they are learning.
• Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’ with ‘Go For It Gorilla’
• Active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements ‘Marvellous Meerkat’
• Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things. ‘Creative Chameleon’
Using an enquiry approach based around core and supplementary texts, staff introduce a holistic topic plan to develop children’s experiences, knowledge and skills whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas. Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching and small group sessions during the day. The timetable changes throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of the children. Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ of experiences that are carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision.
Communication and Language
OINS Early Years setting is an accredited 'Communication Friendly Early Years Setting' and has embedded key strategies to support children to communicate effectively. Staff are trained to understand the importance of the development of communication skills in young children. They understand how and when to interact effectively with children to allow for the acquisition of contextual vocabulary and its development and use. We ensure that all children are given every opportunity to develop their Speech, Communication and Language skills within the setting and encourage home-learning by sharing key vocabulary with parents.
English / Literacy
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start. In EYFS we have carefully planned and sequenced Core Rhymes, Traditional Tales and Spine Books that are introduce every three weeks to expose children to a range of high-quality age appropriate texts which have been chosen specifically to develop children’s oracy, vocabulary and comprehension.
These texts are embedded in our provision through activities, story sessions and on display for children to access independently. Through this, children begin to internalise new vocabulary, language patterns and begin to retell stories. There is cohesion and consistency with our approach to align with the whole school Pie Corbett Spine Reading and Talk for Writing approach in KS1.
We follow the Read Write Inc (RWI) phonics programme to ensure consistency across the school. In Nursery children initially focus on Phase 1 Letters and Sounds to develop their listening, auditory discrimination and auditory memory skills which lay the foundations for the RWI programme. In Reception, children start with oral blending and learn the RWI Set 1 teaching programme and are assessed each half term to ensure the phonics teaching is carefully matched to their phonic skills. Children are provided with home-reading books that closely match their phonic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers.
In Reception, we follow the White Rose Maths Scheme of work which is divided into 3 weekly units. High quality learning environments and meaningful interactions with adults, support children in developing mathematical thinking and discussion. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives and pictorial structures and representations which are then rehearsed applied and recorded within their own child-led exploration. Children in Reception have daily, maths lessons with a counting introduction to develop fluency, revisit key concepts and address misconceptions. In Nursery, children develop a love of maths through games, songs, rhymes, and play using concrete manipulatives. There is a focus on the following counting principles; one to one correspondence, stable order and cardinal principle. Children’s fine manipulative skills are a focus to develop 1-1 correspondence so children count each object only once
The Wider Curriculum
At Oakwood Infant and Nursery School we believe that the mental health and well-being of our children is of paramount importance. We have been awarded the 'School Mental Health Award', accredited by Leeds Beckett University. Through the EYFS and into Key Stage One, children follow the 'Jigsaw' scheme. This is a comprehensive program to help support children in building resilience with an emphasis on emotional literacy.
We take every opportunity to reinforce our school and nursery rules; 'Ready, Respectful, Safe' and children receive recognition for displaying actions which support them. Their names are added to a dedicated display and the children are recognised for their desired behaviour and their achievements are celebrated with parents.
In the EYFS we also enrich the curriculum with activities and events such as forest school, cooking, the book café, and visits from local people who help us (including Police Officers, Postal Workers and Paramedics). We have animals in school that the children help to look after and visits from minibeast zoos, owl handlers and eggs that we can hatch. We hold 'Stories at Bedtime' sessions termly where children return to school in the evening in their pyjamas to share stories and hot chocolate with the head teacher.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of additional interventions and support for children who may require additional support such as sessions for developing speech and language, social skills, fine motor skills, phonics, and mathematics. In addition, we have a higher than average number of children on EHCPs, where bespoke plans have identified that learning may need to take place away from the classroom due to sensory needs.
Prior to children starting, in Nursery or Reception, staff spend time speaking to the child’s parents, previous settings and read previous learning journeys to gain an understanding of the whole child. During the first half term in Nursery or Reception, all staff use ongoing assessments, observations and conversations with the child to develop a baseline assessment. This identifies each individual’s starting points in all areas so we can plan experiences to ensure progress. The following baseline assessments are also carried out:
• The RBA (Statutory Reception Baseline Assessment) This assessment focuses on ‘Language, Communication and Literacy,’ and ‘Mathematics.’ The purpose of this is to show the progress children make from Reception until the end of KS2.
• Northumberland Language Toolkit – Nursery assessment of language understanding and speech-sound production. The assessment informs us if the child is at expected for their age or requires intervention / referral to specialist services.
• Language Link Assessment – Reception assessment of language comprehension that provides a standard score for receptive language levels and where necessary allocates an appropriate intervention which can be delivered in small focused groups.
All ongoing observations are used to inform weekly planning and identify children’s next steps. This formative assessment does not involve prolonged periods of time away from the children and excessive paper work. Practitioners draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgements through discussions with other practitioners, photographs and physical examples such as a child’s drawing to track progress in small steps using the Eazmag tracking system. Ongoing assessments inform decisions concerning next steps, continuous, enhanced and focused provision for the children to ensure they build on current knowledge and skills at a good pace.
Phonic and reading assessments are completed in Reception each half-term, the focus is on helping children to keep up with expected levels of progress. Where assessments indicate they may require additional support, 1:1 fast track support will be implemented in school which provides precise gap teaching and opportunities to revisit, practise, remember and then apply phonic knowledge to build fluency of reading.
In Summer Term 2, the EYFSP is completed where teachers will judge whether the child has met each of the 17 ELG’s. They will be assessed as either ‘emerging’ or ‘expected’.
We strive to ensure that children's progress across the EYFS curriculum is good and that children reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception. We also strive for children to achieve 'Good Level of Development' at the end of Reception as they move into Key Stage One.