Children in Well Green’s Foundation Stage are happy and secure. Staff work with families to maximise each child’s development. Following the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework which includes Development Matters, the children develop excellent characteristics of effective learning which are the bedrock for the next stage of their learning journey. At Well Green, every unique child fulfils their potential through the development of these key skills:
In the Nursery and Reception classes we each have an overview map which outlines the delivery of our bespoke curriculum for Well Green. The Foundation Stage have ‘Learning Challenges’ (see separate policy) which promote critical thinking through a carefully designed set of open-ended questions which have been adapted by staff to ensure exciting and pertinent investigations, tailored to the needs of our children. These Challenges are complemented by visits and visitors which greatly enliven and consolidate the children’s learning. Children’s natural curiosity about people and the world is enhanced through seasonal activities and opportunities to vote which dovetail with British Values. Learning is recorded in a variety of ways, including the Floor Book, which parents can sit and share with their child during ‘Open Afternoons’ and Parents/ Teacher meetings.
The child’s voice is valued. Wall displays and books provide numerous examples of the children’s spoken language. Staff model language at an appropriate level to extend the children’s understanding, listening and speaking skills. Vocabulary is extended through reading, visits and activities. New words are displayed, sent to parents/ carers and promoted on each half term’s Word Mat linked to the Learning Challenge. Children share their learning with a Talk Partner which promotes active learning.
Children are taught phonics, using ‘Letters and Sounds’, ‘Jolly Phonics’ and Essex’s ‘Ultimate Phonetical Guidance Activities’ (in Nursery). The combination of these activities support the different ways children learn and provide a rich diet of phonic work, together with lots of fun incidental teaching such as alliterative names and opportunities to listen to environmental sounds. The EYFS team work with families to promote reading through book lending schemes, a reading workshop followed by ‘Watch and Read’ sessions (Reception) and a home-school diary. A love of books is supported by practitioners, whole school World Book Day together with each class having a high profile book area which includes a cosy corner to promote well- being. Practitioners have a clear understanding of the content and expectations in each of the Letters and Sounds phases throughout the Foundation Stage.
Writing begins with the children’s names in Nursery. Continuous provision, one-to-one activities and small group work provide plentiful opportunities to write. Staff provide a rich variety of gross motor and fine model activities to support physical development to facilitate mark making. Children work towards the correct ‘tripod grip’ and follow a whole school agreed letter formation. Reception children use the Nelson handwriting scheme.
Mathematics is in every area of the indoor and outdoor settings. From arriving at school, the children are supported in developing their skills and knowledge of number, problem solving and shape, space and measure. Staff work with the class, small groups and individuals during regular focus sessions. Children experience real life problems and are supported in their journey from concrete to pictorial then abstract. Both manufactured and natural resources are used to support learning, together with Number Blocks, Numicon and Number Frames.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development is central to a happy, secure learner. Through sessions with parents/ carers before their child has started at the setting, staff are equipped with personal knowledge and understanding of their future class. Children have favourite toys and activities waiting and relationships have a firm foundation. Staff support the children to be independent and resilient when managing clothing, toileting, turn taking and eating. Resources are provided to allow children to stay warm, safe and ready to learn.
Staff plan intervention work to support children with gaps in their knowledge, skills and understanding. This need is realised following a rigorous baseline assessment followed by daily impact and termly assessments. Every child has a focus/ VIP week. This enables staff -and input from parents and the child themselves- to provide accurate ‘Next Steps’ in their learning. These steps are shared with children and families, wall displays document each child’s learning journey.
Staff have continuous professional development to enhance the teaching and provision in Early Years. Lead and network meetings, moderation internally and externally support staff in their assessment decisions.