Foundation Stage Curriculum
At Oakwood Infant and Nursery School we passionately believe that young children learn best through play and exploration. We value every child as an individual and aim to provide them with skills, knowledge and understanding that will support them in becoming happy, curious, resilient lifelong learners who go on to be active citizens of society.
Our curriculum is therefore the cultural capital the children require for future success. At Oakwood Infant and Nursery School the Early Years curriculum provides opportunities for child-led exploration within enabling environments which help to develop and support deep-level engagement and learning. Adopting the 'In the Moment' model of working, children have the opportunity to develop confidence, make decisions and evaluate their own ideas and learning. Coupled with skilful, warm adult interaction children begin to understand the links between their play and learning and between present and prior learning.
In the Early Years we place a great deal of emphasis on the Prime Areas of the curriculum. We understand the huge impact acquiring a wide and varied vocabulary at an early age, can have on a child's future prospects. Children need to be able to communicate effectively throughout their school life and beyond. As a result of this, we prioritise Speech, Communication and Language and promote a language rich curriculum.
As outlined in our school's 'Recovery Curriculum' rationale, 'Teaching with Compassion' states that 'our curriculum needs to be focused on (re)building positive relationships built on mutual trust and compassion'. In Early Years we strive to ensure that every child is ready to engage with their learning by providing a safe and welcoming environment, where children feel comfortable - both emotionally and physically and where all adults display positivity, patience, humility and compassion. Prioritising Personal, Social and Emotional Development in our curriculum hopefully allows children to become independent and confident and learn the skill of self-regulating.
In Early Years, 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 believe that our first experiences of school life should be happy and positive. Throughout their time in EYFS, the children develop a sense of belonging to our school community.
Across our Early Years Foundation Stage we follow
This framework specifies the requirement for learning, development and care in the Early Years (birth to five years).
Teaching and learning within the EYFS is primarily child-centered and child-led. In Nursery and Reception we use 'In the Moment Planning', which 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;
The children are able to immerse themselves in self chosen, appealing and inspiring activities that feed their curiosity and support the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning;
The Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning are seen as an integral part of all areas of learning and are reflected in observations of the children.
All staff work with specified 'focus' children throughout the week. This enables staff to engage in quality, timely and targeted interactions to ensure the children's learning is being embedded and extended (if appropriate) in that moment.
These observations are recorded daily and staff then assess on a weekly basis using their professional judgement and understanding of child development, alongside the 'Development Matters' document to identify next steps for the children. This allows staff to ensure that the learning environment, teaching and subsequent adult interactions support all children in reaching these next steps. We include adult directed, whole class teaching, interventions and focused provision for groups or individuals to facilitate children's ability to reach identified next steps.
Communication and Language and Reading are important drivers in our curriculum. Our Early Years setting has been awarded the status of 'Communication Friendly Early Years Setting'. 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.
Children in EYFS follow the reading strand of the structured Read, Write Inc program to ensure they make rapid progress in applying their phonic knowledge to support reading skills.
Both Nursery and Reception children are exposed to high quality texts read by the staff. We use the Pie Corbett Reading Spine to enhance our curriculum. One text is chosen every three weeks and the provision is enhanced to reflect the chosen text and embed the story through different areas of learning. Planning the enhanced provision around these quality texts also ensures the teaching will address gaps in understanding that have been identified as part of ongoing assessment of the children.
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.
To support our wider curriculum, we provide regular opportunities to work alongside parents and carers-sharing their children's success with them. 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 then invited to spend time with the Headteacher as recognition for their desired behaviour. They share hot chocolate and parents are informed of their achievement. We hold formal parent consultations three times a year and share more informal communication with parents and carers using our Class Dojo system. Having this system enables staff to share children's achievements and provide information on next steps. We are hoping to resume 'stay and play' sessions and parent workshops in the near future.
In EYFS we also enrich the curriculum with activities and events such as forest school, yoga, 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 adults and EYFS children are also involved in our newly created 'Book Cafe' where they cook or bake food inspired by stories and share their fare with parents and carers.
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.
Our curriculum needs to meet the needs of our children; including disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND. We ensure this is achieved by observing the children's learning experiences and interacting with them, looking at their work, weekly formative assessment and termly data analysis of classes, individuals, groups and cohorts. Our formative assessment procedures inform our 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.
This information is tracked using the EAZMAG system. The system allows us to assess the impact of teaching for all children and also enables the analysis of progress for specific groups and individuals. We are then able to target provision and focused support where needed to drive pupil's progress and achievement.
Evidence of children's learning including photographs, written interactions and work samples are kept in paper learning journals.
Our assessment judgements have been moderated in school. We hope to resume moderation between local schools in the near future. The EYFS staff have also participated in Local Authority Agreement Trialling and have been involved in the Local Authority Moderation Process, which has validated our capability in correctly awarding end of Key Stage judgements.