Idle C of E Early Years strategy 2023 - 2024
At Idle CE Primary School we aim to provide the highest quality care and education for all our children, giving them a strong foundation for future learning.
In our Reception setting, we encompass the school values of Joy, Love and Courage and have created a safe, motivational, inclusive team where children are happy and thrive in a nurturing environment with learning experiences that enable children to become confident and independent. We value the individual child and work alongside families to support and meet their needs, so that every child has the best future life chances. We adhere to the statutory framework of the EYFS and use the development matters framework to shape practice within our early years’ setting.
We base our curriculum around 50 books, carefully chosen to allow our pupils to develop alongside the early learning goals. This is coupled with ‘experiences’ throughout the year. We want our pupils to have a range of experiences that they learn from and the eight elements to being a pupil here at Idle. Adventurous, imaginative, supportive, confident, responsible, adaptable, creative and most importantly happy!
British Values and our core school values of Love, Joy and Courage play a fundamental role in our curriculum and everything we do; we focus on promoting the more general concepts of British Values within the Early Years Foundation Stage and understand that the children’s development within these areas is key to promoting the values in the long term.
Throughout our pupil’s time in Early Years we aim for them to become lifelong learners.
Implementation of our Early Years curriculum
We plan an exciting and challenging curriculum based on our observations of children’s needs, interests, and stages of development, across the seven areas of learning, to enable them to achieve and exceed the early learning goals, at the end of their reception year. All the seven areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. The three prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. They are communication and language; physical development and personal, social and emotional development. As children move through Reception and become more secure in the prime areas, the four specific areas of literacy; maths; understanding the world and expressive arts and design are developed in line with children’s individual needs. Our areas of provision are constantly being developed to meet the needs of each individual cohort and ensure learning is exciting and engaging for our pupils.
Children are provided with a range of rich, meaningful first-hand experiences both indoors and outdoors, to encourage exploration, creativity and active learning. We aim to develop positive attitudes towards learning, confidence, communication and physical development.
Medium term plans are theme based. They offer diverse experiences in all seven areas and reflect the learning experiences needed as an outcome of assessment and observation. We also follow the children's interests where appropriate. These plans then inform our short-term weekly planning, which is based on observations, children’s interests and topical issues.
Our curriculum is flexible and it allows us to meet the needs of each cohort. This means that topics do not stay the same each school year, but are developed to meet the needs of the current cohort.
Children have whole class and small group time daily with a variety of different activities. We have daily phonics sessions that follow the ELS scheme and are in line with Year 1 where the scheme is continued whole class. Whole class sessions involve guided writing, phonics games, story-telling, maths inputs, thematic inputs, circle times, nursery rhymes, show and tell and a variety of enhanced provision activities that follow on from the weeks learning and prior learning to further embed knowledge and challenge pupils further.
The curriculum is delivered using a play-based approach as outlined by the EY Framework. We plan a balance between children having time and space to engage in their own child-initiated activities and those that are planned by the adults. During children’s play, practitioners interact to challenge children further. When delivering and guiding children's activities, we reflect as practitioners on the different ways that children learn and we reflect these in our practice.
We have a large and varied outdoor space for Reception that includes a mud kitchen, bike and scooter area, a sheltered area, water/ sand area and other opportunities for outdoor learning. We encourage children to use the outdoor space regularly and ensure the correct staff to pupil ratios are always maintained to help ensure our pupils safety.
Children’s safety and welfare is paramount. We create a safe and secure environment and provide a curriculum which teaches children how to be safe, make choices and assess risks. We have stringent policies, procedures and documents in place to ensure children’s safety. We keep to the legal ratios in the setting
Class Teacher with QTS has a ratio of 1:30
Nursery Nurse has a ratio of 1:20
Teaching Assistants have a ratio of 1:13
To ensure ratios are adhered to, class teachers in the setting are responsible for staff deployment which is recorded on a timetable.
Regular site walks are undertaken and safety of outdoor and indoor areas are regularly reviewed.
We value all our children as individuals. We plan a curriculum that meets the needs of individual children, follows their interests and supports them at their own pace, so that they can make effective progress towards the early learning goals. Our personalised approach means that we can identify any additional needs early and support children and families. We promote equality of opportunity and provide early intervention for those children who require it, through our personalised approach. We work in partnership with parents and we plan challenging learning experiences informed by high quality formative assessment observations alongside the children’s interests. We provide opportunities for both adult-initiated and child-initiated learning. We provide a secure, stimulating and safe learning environment indoors and outdoors.
Personal development and wellbeing
Here at Idle we place a great importance on our pupil’s personal development and wellbeing. Personal, social and emotional development is a prime area within the Early Years Curriculum. However, here at Idle we aim to go above and beyond that through daily collective worship opportunities, introducing Growth Mindset, Reception buddies with Y6 pupils, charity events and carefully planned interventions where appropriate to support with personal development.
We follow a daily routine that enables the children to feel safe and secure. Our children take part in a balance of adult-led and independent activities. They can follow their interests by accessing continuous provision and we support their personal interests, fascinations and schemas by developing their interests throughout the environment. We back the display boards with neutral colours to help promote a calm environment. We follow the basic principles of A.R.C - Active Responsible Citizens – where pupils across school and Reception contribute to the wider community, for 2023 – 2024 we are working with a local care facility. We use zones of regulation as a tool for pupils to understand their own feelings and develop strategies to manage them. A sense of community is further enhanced through regular whole school assemblies and shows/events with parents.
Parents as partners
We strive to create and maintain constructive partnerships with parents and carers as we recognise that, together, we can have a significant impact on a child’s learning. We welcome and actively encourage parents to participate confidently in their child’s education and care in numerous ways. We have an online communication tool, Marvellous Me, which is used throughout the school to alert parents to upcoming events and share positive moments throughout the day. We send home reading books weekly. We keep parents informed through letters, face to face communication and Marvellous Me. We invite parents to come in at different points throughout the year and to talk about phonics, reading and maths. Working with other services and organisations is integral to our practice in order to meet the needs of our children.
At times we may need to share information with other professionals to provide the best support possible and we ensure that in doing so we follow our Data Protection Policy, seeking consent from parents where required.
At any transition, we acknowledge the children’s needs and establish effective partnerships with those involved with the children and other settings, including nurseries and childminders. When we hold transition for our new pupils we aim to do it in a structured and nurturing way with several transition points including parent meetings, PTFA events, transition days in school involving parents, half days and extra visits where appropriate. Children attend introductory sessions to reception to develop familiarity with the setting and staff. In the final term in reception, the year 1 and early years staff meet to discuss each child's development against the early learning goals in order to support a smooth transition to year 1. This discussion enables the year 1 teachers to plan an effective, responsive and appropriate curriculum that will meet the needs of all pupils transitioning to year 1.
At its core, assessment in our Reception classes at Idle CE Primary School reflects our curriculum intent. It is to inform planning, next steps and curriculum development so the we can best enable our children to achieve and be lifelong learners who are creative well-rounded individuals. Our learners will have had rich experiences and have acquired the eight elements of an Idle learner in Reception.
Our pupils who leave Reception are well rounded and confident learners. They have secure behaviours for learning and are resilient and determined. They have a love of learning and are enthusiastic. They can identify feelings and resolve conflict (being given support where needed). They have had a wide range of experiences that enables them to access further learning and increase their understanding of the world.
Day to Day Formative Assessment
We use this type of assessment to inform teaching on an ongoing daily basis. This assessment is based upon the class teacher’s professional knowledge of what the child knows. As a Reception team we record observations using class floor books and children’s individual books and engage with children in the areas of provision. These observations can be gathered during child-led learning time, or during routine interactions or during an adult led sessions. When it comes to next steps the class teacher and the Reception team will reflect upon the skills and understanding that the child(ren) demonstrate in the course of everyday learning to plan what to teach next. When a child’s learning is embedded it will be seen consistently in a range of situations.
This assessment is used to understand a child’s performance at the end of a period of teaching and are measured against the early learning goals. In the beginning of the year children will have their baseline assessment to inform teachers of where the children are around their entry point into school. The purpose of these assessments are to inform the child’s learning and modify the curriculum to their needs.
As we are a local education authority school, we use nation statutory assessment to understand a child’s performance in relation to national expectations. At the end of each term, a short report sharing every child’s progress in line with the early learning goals is shared with parents.