“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their potential. A child’s
experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances.”
Department for Children, Schools and Families 2012
We have a Nursery and two Reception classes (for application procedures please see ‘Admissions’)
Our Nursery and Reception classes follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Our aim is to provide the children with a play based curriculum that is tailored for each child’s individual needs. We offer a welcoming, safe and secure environment where children’s excitement and love of learning can be sparked and developed.
We provide a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum which offers continuity and progression through our indoor and outdoor classrooms. In both Nursery and Reception we have a long term overview highlighting the learning opportunities from the seasons and festivals and topics for the year. We are always keen to plan through children’s interests as we firmly believe if they are interested and motivated they will learn. Half termly topics and themed weeks are used in both our Nursery and Reception class as a creative vehicle in delivering the EYFS curriculum. Both classes will focus on the same topic allowing for collaborative learning in our shared indoor and outdoor areas.
At Yerbury we ensure that we have a safe, secure and stimulating environment both indoors and outdoors in which children can explore; make choices; ask questions; extend their skills and develop confidence. Happy children learn best so we plan activities that are challenging and fun. We encourage children to be independent and resources are well organized so children can access what they need.
Staff join in with children’s learning, extending their language and thinking at the child’s level and help them to make progress.
We encourage children to use their curiosity and imagination in this supported environment and we look at what children already know and plan activities based on their needs. Sometimes this will be activities planned for a small group or resources provided for children to develop their own learning.
We do not make a distinction between work and play. Children learn through planned play activities and staff will decide when child initiated or adult led play activities will provide the most effective learning opportunities.
Overarching principles of the EYFS
Four guiding principles shape practice in early years. These are:
Learning and development
There are seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.
Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
These three areas, the prime areas, are:
Communication and Language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Physical Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
There are also four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:
Literacy involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials including books, poems, and other written materials to ignite their interest.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
Understanding The World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment
Expressive Arts and Design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
Assessment plays an important part in helping staff to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs, and to plan activities and support. Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process. It involves staff observing children to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles, and to then shape learning experiences for each child reflecting those observations. To this end we make systematic observations and assessments of each child’s achievements, interests and learning styles. We then use these observations and assessments to identify learning priorities and plan relevant and motivating learning experiences for each child.
Parents as Partners
An effective partnership between home and school is crucial so that our children feel secure and develop a sense of well-being and achievement. When parents and early years’ staff work together children make better progress. By sharing information about interests and needs we can ensure that children make good progress in their learning.
We recognise that parents are children’s first and most enduring educators and we value being partners with them in their child’s education through:
We value all our children as individuals, irrespective of their ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, background, needs or gender. We plan a curriculum that meet the needs of the individual child and support them at their own pace. We believe that early identification of children with additional needs is crucial in enabling us to give the child the support that they need and in doing so, work closely with parents and outside agencies (see our separate policies on Equality of Opportunity and Special Educational Needs).