OUR VISION OF EXCELLENCE
Early Years is a highly stimulating and safe environment which offers an exciting and challenging curriculum, that meets the needs of the children in our care. We provide a learning environment that excites and enthuses happy, curious and resilient children. All EYFS children have a desire and a joy for learning. Enthusiastic and inspiring staff develop the confidence of all children to enable them to communicate effectively and to move forward in their learning. The children in our care are fully prepared for the next step in their learning journey.
Here at St Augustine’s School, we believe that all children deserve an education rich in memorable experiences that allows our children’s creativity and curiosity to grow, alongside the development of key skills and knowledge. We believe that offering our children a strong foundation and a love of learning gives young learners the best chance to become well-rounded, happy individuals, ready to succeed in an ever-changing world.
We recognise the importance of giving our children the best possible start to their education by planning and implementing teaching and learning opportunities that support them in reaching their full potential. We know that our children enter our Nursery and Reception classes with varied life experiences and we aim to plan teaching and learning opportunities accordingly to address this.
The Foundation Stage Early Learning Goals, along with the Development Matters document, set out end of reception year expectations for children by the end of the Foundation Stage.
It is our intention to provide a stimulating learning environment where all children can work with adults and peers in a climate of mutual respect.
We aim to provide children with a well-structured, safe, active learning environment, both indoors and outdoors. This will enable our young learners to develop the skills, attitudes and understanding that support our children to become lifelong learners and encourage them to become active members of our ever-changing society.
At St Augustine’s we are absolutely dedicated to the success of all of our children. We know that our children, families and carers are amazing and deserve nothing but the best during their time with us. In EYFS we want to inspire children through a well-planned and immersive curriculum, ensuring that children are happy and eager to learn and are imaginative, curious and independent learners.
Teaching and learning in the EYFS aims to:
- Involve parents and carers as key members of our learning community. To give parents and carers the confidence and skills to support their child’s learning and development. To support our parents and carers to have high aspirations for their child’s future and for themselves.
- Engage the children in their learning by creating an immersive environment that broadens their interests but is also linked to the interests and assessed needs of the children.
- Support our children to become independent, self-motivated and innovative learners, encouraging the children to adapt their work, think critically and take risks with their learning.
- Prepare our children for the challenges of life in the 21st Century by ensuring that every child is literate and numerate, as well as empathetic towards others, able to be resilient and ambitious to succeed in whatever they set out to achieve.
- Encourage our children to be the best that they can be in all that they undertake, supporting each and every child to try new things, work hard and push themselves to persevere and achieve in any activity that is before them.
- Help our children to be world wise! Become curious about the world around them, enquiring about the world that they live in; rising to challenges and solving problems with confidence.
- We want our children to be aware of the wider community, starting with their local community. We will provide opportunities to experience and learn about other communities and cultures further afield. To respect diversity and difference and feel part of a global world. To understand that they can change the world and their community.
- Nurture the children’s social and interpersonal skills, ensuring that they have the opportunity to work as a member of a team and can share their experiences and knowledge with their peers.
At St Augustine’s, we actively safeguard and promote the welfare of all of our children. We recognise that children will learn most effectively when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met and when they have positive relationships with the adults who care for them. We aim to provide a setting that encompasses a safe and stimulating environment where children are able to enjoy learning and grow in confidence that helps them to achieve their potential. Our curriculum will be delivered by skilled staff to ensure the best possible outcomes for all children.
We meet the legal requirements for:
- Safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare;
- Providing suitable adults with appropriate qualifications, training, skills and knowledge;
- Maintaining records, policies and procedures for the safe and efficient management of the setting and to meet the needs of the children;
- Planning and organisation to ensure that every child receives an enjoyable and challenging learning and developmental experience tailored to meet their individual needs.
In EYFS, we begin with a strong emphasis on adult-led learning to build the foundation of the children’s’ learning skills, knowledge and understanding of the curriculum, so that they can apply this learning to both child-initiated activities and continuous provision.
Our curriculum design effectively underpins the learning at St Augustine’s School. The curriculum is planned and implemented using a thematic approach across the school using the Cornerstones Creative Curriculum. This approach gives children the opportunities to apply learning from across the curriculum that gives their work practical context and also opportunities to apply knowledge and skills they have learned through a variety of learning opportunities. Each half term, children will cover a main theme of work and an additional mini-topic. Each topic is delivered through a staged approach incorporating an initial engagement stage to capture the children’s imagination in their new topic or theme of learning. This learning then develops through a series of lessons that build skills, knowledge and understanding within that topic of learning. At the end of each topic, children are given the opportunity to evaluate their learning and celebrate their achievements. We regularly revisit learning to ensure that skills and knowledge are embedded. We work with a two year ‘rolling’ programme.
The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage reflects the three prime areas and four specific areas of learning identified in the Early Learning Goals. Our children meet these through different experiences – both adult-initiated and adult-directed activities, child-initiated and continuous provision. The Early Learning Goals and the Development Matters document provide the basis for planning throughout the Foundation Stage. For Religious Education lessons, we follow the Archdiocese of Birmingham Diocese’s own curriculum strategy called ‘Learning and Growing as the People of God.’ The Strategy covers a range of range cross-curricular activities in order for children to explore the Catholic faith.
St Augustine’s School Early Years provision provides safe, stimulating indoor and outdoor learning environments in order to enhance teaching and learning in engaging, problem-solving, investigative and explorative ways. Children have opportunities to access outdoor learning as part of their daily provision. We make full use of the school grounds including the ‘Forest School’, all-weather pitch and school playing field. We believe outdoor learning not only increases our learner’s levels of physical activity but it is also important to develop children’s physical, social and emotional development. Outdoor play provides endless learning opportunities and encourages our children to use and apply their newly-acquired knowledge and skills in a positive way within the natural environment.
EYFS Curriculum Planning
We aim to provide a stimulating and rich curriculum where every child can flourish in a caring environment which promotes effective learning and development. This curriculum is based on seven key areas and the Characteristics of Effective Learning. The Characteristics of Effective learning and the prime and specific areas of Learning and Development are all important and interconnected.
There are three prime areas, which are the building blocks of good learning and support. These three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.
The prime areas are:
Communication and Language
- Listening, Attention and Understanding
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Managing Self
- Building Relationships
- Gross Motor Skills
- Fine Motor Skills
There are four specific areas of learning which provide children with a broad curriculum and with opportunities to strengthen and apply the prime areas of learning.
The specific areas are:
- Word Reading
- Numerical Patterns
Understanding the World
- Past and Present
- People, Culture and Communities
- The Natural World
Expressive Arts and Design
- Creating with Materials
- Being Imaginative and Expressive
Characteristics of Effective Learning
The Characteristics of Effective Learning help us to know how each child learns. These characteristics are regularly assessed through observations and are planned for throughout the EYFS. The Characteristics of Effective Learning are celebrated through our weekly assembly and in the praise that we give to the children during their learning.
The three characteristics are:
- Playing and Exploring– children investigate and experience things and events around them and ‘have a go.’
- Active Learning– children concentrate and keep trying if they experience difficulties, as well as enjoying what they achieve.
- Creating and Thinking Critically– children have and develop their own ideas, make links between different and experiences and develop strategies for doing things.
Ultimately it is our mission to ensure that every child in our care feels part of a strong community; valued, important and able to learn. We want our children to ask questions and challenge us, to wonder about the world around them and to take meaningful risks in their learning. We want our children to move forwards into the world with a sense of determination and vigour and a belief in the transforming power of communities.
Assessment plays an important part in helping parents, carers and the Early Year’s Team to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs, and to plan activities and support accordingly.
Throughout Nursery and Reception, our children are assessed in relation to their progress towards the Early Learning Goals (see below). These judgements are made on the basis of accumulative observations and in-depth knowledge of the children acquired through ongoing assessment. Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process. It involves practitioners knowing children’s level of achievement and interests, and then shaping teaching and learning experiences for each child reflecting that knowledge. These ongoing assessments are used to inform planning.
Parents and/or carers are kept up-to-date with their child’s progress and development through Parental consultations, communication through Tapestry, termly report cards and an annual report which informs parents of their child’s end of year profile results. The Profile provides parents and carers with a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their attainment against expected levels, and their readiness for year 1. Each child’s level of development is assessed against the early learning goals (see below) and the report will inform parents and carers whether their child is meeting expected levels of development. The profile is also shared between reception and year 1 teachers about each child’s stage of development and learning needs to inform the planning of activities as they move into in year 1.
In addition, EYFS staff promptly address any learning and development needs in partnership with parents and/or carers, and any relevant professionals.
What do we assess and when?
- Assessment at the start of the reception year – the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is carried out in the first six weeks in which a child starts reception. The assessment is carried out for any child who joins St Augustine’s throughout the year if not completed in a previous setting.
- Termly assessments in all areas of learning.
- Progress against the Early Years Foundation Stage and next steps in teaching and learning for all children throughout the year. In their interactions with children, practitioners respond to their own day-to-day observations about children’s progress and observations that parents and carers share.
- End-of-year assessments are finalised during the summer term, summarising each child’s development at that point against the Early Learning Goals.
- The end of year assessment, (Profile), informs an ongoing dialogue between practitioners and year 1 teachers about each child’s learning and development, to support a successful transition to key stage 1.
We believe the successful implementation of both a creative, well-planned early years curriculum and a safe, stimulating learning environment (both indoors and outdoors) allows our young learners to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding that enables them to be successful learners.
Our children will be actively engaged in their learning and the enjoyment of this learning will be apparent in their daily provision. All children will have experienced a curriculum that provides, exciting and enriching learning experiences and opportunities for them to learn through direct teaching of skills and knowledge, practical experiences, problem-solving activities, and. educational visits.
By the end of Foundation Stage at St Augustine’s School, our young learners will:
- be able to appreciate and understand the world around them by experiencing and learning about different cultures, celebrations, music, dance, art and history.
- actively ask questions about the world around them and their learning experiences.
- be able to take risks as this as an opportunity to learn.
- make links between with their learning and develop their skills by using and applying what they have learnt across the curriculum.
- make sense of the world around them, to develop tolerance, compassion and an understanding of their rights and the rights of others in an ever-changing world.
- have developed the characteristics of effective learning and the essential knowledge and skills required for everyday life and lifelong learning.
- be happy, inquisitive and successful learners who have bright futures.
- be successful learners and fully prepared for the next stage of their education as they transition from Early Years Foundation Stage to Key Stage One.
Expectations at the end of EYFS – Early Learning Goals
At St Augustine’s we recognise the vital role that parents have in supporting their children’s learning and development. The expectations in relation to your child’s development at the end of EYFS are outlines below: