Our intent for Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) at Castleton Primary School is to inspire, engage and enthuse our pupils to be active learners every day so that they become confident and independent thinkers. It is important that our children feel happy, safe, secure and cared for within an enabling and nurturing environment. Before children start at Castleton School, our staff make regular visits to nursery settings throughout the year to help build valuable relationships with the children, making the transition to school seamless and enjoyable. Castleton School is at the heart of the community and we take part in many community events, giving children a sense of belonging and understanding of their locality. Our children also take place in many school trips across the year. Our high-quality provision areas both indoors and outdoors ignite curiosity and enthusiasm and promote the development of skills needed to learn, form relationships and thrive. Through skilled interactions, quality-first teaching inputs and an enabling environment, we aim to support children’s love of reading, writing and number. 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.
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.
- Able to effectively express themselves.
- Able to form positive relationships and work collaboratively with others.
- Prepared and confident to take on the challenges of Key Stage One and beyond.
Our approach is implemented through our play-based curriculum which follows the EYFS curriculum. All areas of the EYFS curriculum are followed and planned for ‘in the moment’ to ensure there is a broad, balanced and progressive learning environment and curriculum. The children will learn new skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate understanding through the seven areas of the EYFS curriculum:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development,
- Communication and Language,
- Understanding the World,
- Expressive Arts and Design
The impact of COVID has lead our Prime Areas to be of greatest importance in EYFS, in particular Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language.
Our dynamic curriculum is planned and regularly adapted to meet the needs of the children with the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning at its core: Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking. This supports our children’s learning and development in preparation for Key Stage One as well as encouraging the children to explore, take an active part in their learning, and use their creative and critical thinking through a range of purposeful and engaging activities, both indoors and outdoors. The children particularly enjoy our Forest School sessions in local woodland, where they explore nature and learn important life skills. We love to learn through play and activities are based around the children’s interests and fascinations so that children have ownership of their learning. Play is enhanced through meaningful interactions with highly effective practitioners to ensure that the development of the whole child is supported and extended. All adults in EYFS are highly skilled at furthering the children’s development through open ended questioning and they have excellent knowledge of the children’s next steps so that they can facilitate opportunities and extend learning within the moment that is personal to each child. The provision both indoors and outdoors encourages independence so that children can access and select a range of creative materials. Loose parts provision supports the children’s creativity and imagination through carefully selected and versatile objects. We also promote a language rich environment which enables children to communicate and express themselves effectively, and as a result grow in self-confidence. Adaptations to these areas are regularly assessed by our skilled team, focussing on what the skills and knowledge the children need to develop, what they are currently curious about, what embedded learning have we observed in this area and what can be changed in a way to exploit the learning and interests of the children in this area.
In Early Years, reading is a vital part of our curriculum. We have a rigorous approach to phonics teaching following Read Write Inc., this ensures that children make rapid progress so that the vast majority of children meet good outcomes for reading at the end of reception and in turn the year 1 phonics screening check. Each child has a phonics pack and a Read Write Inc book that they take home to support their early reading skills. Their reading books link to the Phonics sound they are being taught and they can choose a library book to read for pleasure. We enjoy daily story time sessions where we enjoy books together and promote a love of reading as well as using a variation of Helicopter Stories to encourage story writing from the children. We learn a new Poetry Basket poem each week to encourage an early love of language.
Parents may wish to access the following link on how we teach the Read Write Inc. sounds: LINK
Mathematics in Early Years at Castleton is based around the White Rose Mathematics programme of study. This is taught through a short, daily teacher-led session as well as a range of planned and structured play situations, both independent, and supported by teachers as play partners, where there is plenty of scope for exploration. Not a moment is wasted throughout the day, as Maths is emphasised in all aspects of the daily routine e.g. snack-time, lining up time and at self-registration each morning. Maths through real-life and meaningful experiences, using practical hands-on resources is key here.
Parents as Partners
We value parents as partners in the children’s learning and use the secure online learning journey Tapestry to record photos, observations and comments. Tapestry is used to celebrate children’s achievements both in school and at home. This system allows us to work with parents and carers to share information and record the children’s play and learning inside and outside of the classroom on a daily basis and it builds up a record of your child’s experiences during their time with us.
The impact of our curriculum is measured by assessment procedures which allow us to measure outcomes against all schools nationally. We measure the percentage of pupils achieving age related expectations throughout the academic year, putting supportive interventions in place if and when needed. The Statutory Reception Baseline Assessment is also completed within the first six weeks of the Reception year. At three points during the year, observations and knowledge of the children are recorded and tracked onto our assessment tracker, which is modelled on the OPAL system. Phonics assessments are also completed regularly, which quickly informs us of any children who are not making expected progress. Class teachers use observations to make formative assessments which inform future planning for adult-led activities and ensure that all children build on their current knowledge and skills at a good pace. This ensures that children make good progress from their starting points. In the final term of Reception the EYFSP is completed for each child and this is used to form the transition into Year 1. The impact of our Early Years approach is that children become independent and curious thinkers who carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable future citizens.