EYFS Curriculum Statement and Action Plan 2021-2022

Part 1 –  EYFS Curriculum Statement

Intent 

Our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum is designed to meet the individual needs of every child, ensuring no child’s achievements are limited, regardless of their backgrounds, circumstances or needs.

Our practice is shaped by four guiding principles:

  • Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient,capable, confident and self-assured
  • Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
  • Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time
  • Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates

The EYFS curriculum consists of seven areas of Learning and Development.

The three prime areas of learning are:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

The four specific areas of learning are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the World (UTW)
  • Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)

We place heavy focus on the prime areas, ensuring children learn to communicate effectively and build foundations essential for future learning. Building on what children know and can do, we introduce phonics and maths skills and knowledge in a sequenced and systematic way, to develop confident readers and mathematicians. Within the area of UTW, children will begin developing the knowledge and skills that they will then build upon in the National Curriculum subjects of Science, History, Geography, Computing and RE in Key Stages 1 and 2. Through EAD children will begin to explore early concepts and skills that will support future learning in Design and Technology, Music and Art & Design.

Personal development, including the promotion of British Values and IB Learner Profiles, is at the heart of our curriculum. Children develop their own character and are provided with opportunities to build resilience, independence, confidence and responsibility, whilst learning strategies to support positive physical and mental health.

Implementation

Within the Early Years Framework, there are three characteristics of effective learning which detail the ways that children should be learning from their environment, experiences and activities. These characteristics are split into three main areas and we have assigned the IB learner profiles to each area to show :

  • ‘Playing and Exploring’ – children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’ 
  • ‘Active Learning’ – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
  • ‘Creating and Thinking Critically’ – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things

Children should be displaying the characteristics of effective learning every day and in order to make this possible, children are given prolonged periods of time in which to lead their own learning through play and exploration. During these periods, children are able to pursue their own interests in an enabling environment supported by skilled staff, enabling them to benefit from the most meaningful learning opportunities.

The environment plays a crucial role in children’s development. If the environment is right, it will inspire, motivate and support children’s learning, create high levels of involvement and provide challenge in the absence of an adult. Classrooms, both indoors and outdoors, are carefully designed and a variety of high quality, open-ended resources are made accessible to the children, so that they can make thoughtful decisions when playing and exploring. Resources are chosen to meet the children’s needs and promote learning. Resources are not restricted and children are encouraged to find new ways to use or combine them. Throughout the environment there are many opportunities for the children to take risks within their play, supporting them to be active and develop physically.

At COPA we follow the IB PYP programme, leading children’s inquiries across a number of Transdisciplinary Themes. Staff decide on a Central Idea which is then discussed with the children so that their input, ideas and questions create a unique learning journey, based upon their interests and experiences. In order to respond quickly and effectively to children’s curiosities and needs, the teaching cycle of observation, assessment, planning, observation is carried out on a moment-by-moment basis. Adults’ observations of children at play lead to identification of teaching moments which are acted on immediately, when they will have the biggest impact on the child’s development. The role of the adult is to take the teaching to the child, supporting or extending their learning. This teaching takes many forms, including communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges.

Adults lead group sessions a number of times throughout the day, in order to introduce or teach key concepts, knowledge or skills. Sessions are planned in advance but are very flexible depending on children’s progress, interests, understanding and any misconceptions that arise. These sessions also give children the opportunity to learn how to participate in group discussions, listening and speaking at appropriate times. Phonics is taught daily by trained staff, using Read Write Inc., a systematic, synthetic phonics programme. During whole-class story time, staff read a range of high quality texts in engaging and exciting ways, whilst also introducing new ideas, concepts and vocabulary. Maths sessions teach numbers and early maths concepts in a clear and sequenced way, allowing children sufficient opportunities to practise using and understanding numbers. 

Personal Development

Throughout all teaching and learning, staff promote children’s emotional development and help them develop their own character. High quality texts and our ‘Talking Time’ approach support children to understand and use the language of feelings, encouraging them to self-regulate. We teach and model kindness towards self and others at all opportunities and use techniques such as mindfulness to maintain balance and positive wellbeing. 

Records of Learning

We record teaching and learning using Tapestry Online Learning Journals. In order to prioritise positive interactions over evidence collecting, we use a focus child system, with interactions being recorded for 10% of each class per week. The majority of evidence of progress and learning comes from the adults’ knowledge and understanding of the individual. In addition, ‘wow’ moments are added to journals as and when significant or new learning occurs. Each child has their own journal which parents are able to access and contribute to. Prior to each focus week, parents are encouraged to provide information about their child’s current interests and any significant events taking place, which feeds into their learning that week. It is also an opportunity to share any questions or concerns regarding children’s progress. A summary of each child’s focus week provides information to parents about how to support their child’s learning at home and staff also share details about whole class teaching of phonics and maths.

Impact

Through monitoring, lesson observations, learning walks and discussions with staff and pupils, school leaders will ensure:

  • Children are developing the knowledge and skills required to meet their endpoints (Early Learning Goals)
  • Pupils are prepared for their next stage of education

Through purposeful planning, high-quality interactions, formative and summative assessment, teachers will ensure:

  • Children are highly motivated and are eager to join in. They share and cooperate well, demonstrating high levels of self-control and respect for others. They consistently keep on trying hard, particularly if they encounter difficulties
  • Key knowledge and skills are consolidated before introducing new learning
  • Assessment of pupils’ learning feeds into planning and adaptation of the curriculum
  • Children are displaying the characteristics of effective learning
  • Children are developing the knowledge and skills required to meet their endpoints (Early Learning Goals)
  • Children are able to use knowledge of phonics to read accurately with increasing speed and fluency