Early Years Foundation Stage
At Greenmount Primary School we aim to provide high quality early years provision that meets the needs of all children and their families. Our provision is based on the understanding that ‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life.’ Through a range of activities and opportunities we work alongside each child and their family to provide 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. (Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage March 2014)
Early Years Provision
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of the Reception year. At Greenmount Primary School, children join the Reception Class in the year that they turn five. Our provision is based on the four Early Years Foundation Stage principles of: A Unique Child; Positive Relationships; Enabling Environments; and Learning and Development.
A unique Child
We value all children and their families at Greenmount Primary School and the diversity of individuals and communities is valued and respected. Children are treated as individuals and have equal access to all provisions available. We recognise that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates. All children are encouraged to achieve their personal best and planning is adapted to meet the needs of all groups and abilities. Through the use of our assessment tracker, ‘Tapestry’ we are able to provide activities to support and enhance every child’s development. Any child with potential Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) is identified at the earliest possible opportunity. Concerns are always discussed with parents/carers at an early stage and the school’s Inclusion Lead is called upon for further information and advice. Appropriate steps are taken in accordance with the school’s SEND Policy.
We recognise that children learn to be strong, confident and independent from being in secure relationships. We aim to develop caring, respectful, professional relationships with children and their families. We have very strong links with our on-site pre-school and other feeder pre-schools and childminders. The Early Years Team meet with providers to discuss each individual child and their transition into school. We offer several opportunities to talk to parents about their child before their child starts in our school including information evenings, one to one meetings and school visits. The children are given the opportunity to spend time in the Reception Classes before starting school through class visits during the last half of the summer term. Once the children start school they are allocated a key person for their time in Reception and specific time is timetabled to work with these groups regularly. We recognise the importance of developing a positive relationship and secure attachment with their key person enables children to feel safe and supports their emotional needs and development. We operate an open door policy with Early Years staff available to talk to parents/carers at the beginning and end of every school day. Each term parents are invited to meet with their child’s teacher to discuss their progress using the Tapestry programme. At the end of the year we provide a full report on children’s attainment and progress which is shared with their Year 1 teacher.
We are fortunate at Greenmount to have ample of outdoor space which we are continuing to develop to ensure we provide a rich and varied outdoor environment that supports children’s learning and development. Learning outdoors offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and on different scales than when indoors and the children have free flow access to the outdoor environment at all times. Throughout the Reception year the team observes the children and assesses their interests, development and prior learning to ensure that opportunities and experiences respond to the individual needs of the child. We recognise that some children prefer to learn outside rather than inside. Activities inside also support this process.
Learning and Development
The EYFS framework enables us to consider all areas of children’s learning and development as equally important. (physical, cognitive, linguistic, spiritual, social and emotional) Our provision and teaching reflects this and the key principle that children learn through: playing and exploring; active learning; and creating and thinking critically. Through play children explore and develop learning experiences which help them make sense of the world. Staff will enhance play and extend it as needed to further individual learning. Our Early Years Team understand the importance of engaging the children in stimulating learning experiences, interacting with the children and encouraging the use of language to extend their understanding. Children will be encouraged to communicate with one another and with the adults in the setting at all times. Adults model good language skills and encourage children to participate in role play activities and scenarios which will stimulate and excite their imagination. We encourage children to ask questions and find answers through first hand learning experiences. Through sensitive questioning the children will be encouraged to think deeply and to extend their learning. All children are encouraged to show respect towards one another by sharing, taking turns, using language such as “please” and “thank you” and showing consideration towards others. The children are encouraged to be independent learners, following their own interests, accessing their own resources and helping to tidy the environment at the end of each session.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum Framework provides a structure of learning opportunities through which we develop the different aspects of early education. All of the areas of learning are delivered through planned, purposeful play, with a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities, both indoors and outdoors.
Prime areas – Personal social & emotional development, Communication and language and Physical development.
Four specific – Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the world and Expressive arts and design.
Topics and themes are based on children’s interests taken from meetings during the Summer term before they start school and updated/adapted during the year as needed.