Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
At St Patrick’s, our Nursery and Reception classes follow the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.
You can find the EYFS Framework here:
Further information is available at www.foundationyears.org.uk.
EYFS Curriculum: our intent, implementation and impact.
Intentional and Responsive Pedagogy
At St Patrick’s Catholic Voluntary Academy, the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and Educational Programmes has helped us form the underpinning curriculum of knowledge and skills for all the children in our care. We intend to enable our children to learn holistically, through a balance of our directed input, as well as play, experimentation and exploration, all while making friends, developing social skills and cultural capital.
Our curriculum is the ‘top level view’ of all the things we want children to experience, know and be able to do as a result of coming to St. Patrick’s Foundation Stage. Much of children’s best learning is driven by their interests and fascinations so we intend to facilitate this through their own play and self-directed exploration as we know this is best way for them to learn. However, we recognise that children in St Patrick’s often enter our school with limited spoken English and/or wider experiences, therefore need additional and targeted adult support and direct instruction to widen their experiences, interests and subsequent language.
Our staff team implement our curriculum by providing our children daily opportunities to build on their existing skills and knowledge through communication, sustained and shared thinking, cooperation, physical challenge and play.
We have created an enabled environment, both indoors and outdoors which is underpinned by children’s needs. Our environment fosters spoken language, the characteristics of effective learning, as well as reflecting British Values and the development of self-esteem to take forward into school and beyond. Our environment, which is accessed every day through self-directed play, provides a rich, varied and safe space in which children can play, explore and learn. We ensure there are plenty of open ended and accessible resources for the children in which they can select to develop particular interests or skills and to build on these skills over time.
Our staff team during the children’s self-directed time, have an awareness of which pupils need specific support and therefore ensure the children receive a differentiated learning experience, where ‘next steps’ occur through purposeful interaction and careful observation. This ensures that all teachable moments are utilised with the intention of moving children’s learning forward using their very specific needs, interests and independent lines of enquiry. This can only happen where the adults are ‘present’ in our environment, playing alongside the children and engaging in quality conversations. Therefore, we have always made this is a fundamental element of our practise. To help adults implement our curriculum we use Ofsted’s definitions of teaching to support the children to develop new skills. Therefore, St Patricks FS staff are supporting learning through modelling, suggesting, providing resources, explaining, demonstrating, encouraging, exploring ideas, reminding, narrating, facilitating, challenging and pondering.
Our nurturing approach, direct teach, teachable moments through play, as well as the children’s independent lines of enquiry, ensure we respond timely our children, their developing knowledge or possible misconceptions. We know that our approach, underpinned by the EYFS framework, provides an optimal environment that perfectly suits the way that young children learn and therefore thrive and this is measured by their love of coming to school every day.
We check the impact of our curriculum through our developing ‘checkpoints’, which guide our approach to assessment. When we know a child is at risk of falling behind, we can act quickly. by monitoring a child’s progress closely, provide targeted adult support, changes to provision and therefore make the right decisions about what sort of extra help is needed. If necessary we share our concerns with specialist professionals to gain additional advice, ensuring that our curriculum supports children with special educational needs or disability. You will find inclusion for all children is evident across our Foundation Stage. Our checkpoints are shared termly with parents so they are also aware of what we are expecting of the children at specific points of the year and we use their crucial knowledge to help us shape our judgements as well as timely advice to help them at home.
Because we are clear about what we want children to experience, know and be able to do, we are therefore clear about what we need to assess, resulting in our adults spending more time with the children and subsequently having a positive impact on their development.
As a result of the clear, progressive and sequenced curriculum which we have adapted based on the new EYFS educational programmes, alongside the quality interactions all that our staff provide our children supported by our assessment approach, we know our children will continue to make at least good progress towards the statutory assessment at the end of the reception year, as well as being prepared for the KS1 National Curriculum.
We understand that children learn at different rates, so we ensure they all receive the best start to their early years at St Patrick’s, as we know their love of school and lifelong learning begins in our Foundation Stage.
What we do for them today gives them every chance of success for tomorrow.
- NEW What to Expect When… https://foundationyears.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/What-to-expect-in-the-EYFS-complete-FINAL-16.09-compressed.pdf
- EXTRA support for children with delayed speech and language https://ican.org.uk/media/3224/tct_univspeak_0-5_update.pdf
- St Patrick’s Sight Word Assessment Booklet EYFS & KS1
- Nursery Rhymes
- Articulation of phonemes video (PURE phonic sounds) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqhXUW_v-1s