All children in Foundation Stage at St Leonard’s Lower School are given equal opportunities to discover their strengths and abilities through an exciting, engaging and challenging curriculum. Practitioners are equipped to support, listen and respond to the children through every stage of their development and share the vision that each child is individual and unique. We aim to provide an environment where children can flourish, grow in confidence and are prepared for a happy and successful journey through school. In order to achieve this, we focus on developing social skills, enabling them to work successfully within a group situation, sharing ideas, turn taking and to develop empathy. Parents are valued as partners in their child’s achievements and next steps in learning through effective communication and regular opportunities to share and celebrate progress and attainment together.
Teaching and learning is meaningful, systematic and progressive, enabling all children to have a clear understanding of the knowledge they are discovering. Each child is supported to explore their developing skills across all areas of learning, taking into account their individual needs and abilities. Children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) will be educated in accordance with the Code of Practice; the curriculum will be modified wherever possible to cater for their needs and guidance from the school SENCo will be followed. No child will be excluded solely because of their individual needs. The focus will be on removing barriers for children where these already exist and on preventing learning difficulties from developing.
The topics and themes that we teach are designed to enhance the immediate and wider diverse community our children belong to and to reflect their personal interests. Our continuous provision in the classroom and outdoor learning environments are engaging and challenging, enabling children to have the highest quality of education.
A significant part of our work with the children is to prepare them for the next stages in their learning and development. Children are given carefully planned, daily opportunities to work together with their friends and teachers in a collaborative way to develop fundamental social, emotional, behaviour and communication skills. They are equally encouraged to explore independent learning so that they gain a greater understanding of their unique personal qualities in order to achieve their best. Our high expectations for positive learning behaviours, high engagement and creativity are in daily practise, enabling all children to feel safe, motivated and valued.
Our aim is to support all children to develop, consolidate and deepen their knowledge, understanding and skills across the 7 areas of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.
Personal, social and Emotional Development is central to all the experiences that we offer the children across Early Years. They are the life skills though which we encourage the children to have respect for themselves and others, develop their social interactions and positive dispositions to learn.
Communication and Language is fundamental to the teaching and learning in Early Years. We encourage the children to become confident at speaking, listening and in using their imaginations to communicate. Having high aspirations for our children to use and apply more complex language impacts on their ability to talk, express their thoughts, read, write and spell.
Physical Development of the children is encouraged through opportunities for them to be active and interactive and to improve their skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement. We teach the importance of keeping healthy and being aware of their bodies.
Literacy, reading and writing skills are promoted through carefully planned and systematic teaching and activities throughout the year. We share a range of books and rhymes with the children and encourage them to explore writing and mark making though role-play and creative activities. Phonics is taught systematically (RWI) and children have sustained opportunities to apply their developing skills in their speaking, reading and writing.
Mathematical Development focuses on the knowledge and skills which enable young children to become confident and independent in the use of numbers. The children are given opportunities to recognise and use numbers reliably, to develop mathematical ideas and to solve problems. Shape, space and measure is also explored.
Understanding the World is an exciting part of our curriculum which includes designing and making, computing, time, place and communities. Carefully planned activities help to support the children in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world in which we live.
Expressive Arts and Design enables the children to explore their creativity. These include art, music, movement, dance, imaginative and role-play activities. We will support the children in exploring and sharing their thoughts and feelings through a variety of areas of learning.
Early Years is very much a part of the whole school and the children take part in (whole) school assemblies, visits to the Church, trips and social events.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring, assessment, evaluation, observations and record keeping will be ongoing and reviewed regularly to ensure that each child is making progress towards achieving the Early Learning Goals and is ready to enter statutory education and commence the National Curriculum. Evaluation of the children’s work and development will be made in and out of the classroom to assess outcomes and progress; samples of work will be taken; children will be talked to in order to find out what they know, understand and can do. The results will be checked against planning and the early learning goals and it will be finalised through observing the child to see if they are emerging, exceeding or expected. This allows individual children to be identified for additional support. Parents will be informed on a regular basis of the progress of their child through written or oral feedback. All staff within the EYFS class will have access to Target Tracker which they will use to observe and assess the children. Observations and assessments will be used to plan and cater for individual needs.