Early Years Foundation Stage Policy
Early Years Foundation Stage Policy
Academy: Co-op Academy Princeville
Policy owner: Ryan Lewis
Date: March 23
Date shared with staff:
Date shared with governors:
At Princeville we encourage children to immerse themselves in learning opportunities that inspire them. We are passionate about nurturing children’s aspiration, independence, determination, creativity and collaboration - we encourage children to take risks in their learning. Princeville learners are equipped for success; we empower them to make a difference in their future.
Having the skills, knowledge and disposition to design and realise our future. Aspiring to make the world the best it can be by being the best we can be. Having the confidence and self-belief to risk failure. Demonstrating humility and compassion; understanding the value of others and the value of happiness. Knowing when and how to work with others but having the initiative to work alone.
Aims of the Early Years Foundation Stage
- To provide quality learning experiences for all children. Learning will be through practical and play based activities, which are structured, balanced, relevant to the child and related to the real world;
- To give each child a happy, positive and fun start to their school life in which they can establish solid foundations on which to expand and foster a deep love of learning;
- To offer each child a wide range of new and exciting experiences and give them the opportunity to consolidate, explore and test them out along with their own, individual experiences;
- To enable each child, through encouragement and high expectations, to develop, to the full, socially, physically, intellectually and emotionally;
- To offer a structure for learning that has a range of starting points and unlimited opportunity for development;
- To encourage children to develop independence within a loving, secure and friendly atmosphere;
- To support children in building relationships through the development of social skills such as cooperation and sharing;
- To help each child to recognise their own strengths and achievements through experiencing success and developing the confidence to work towards personal goals.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) classes at Co-op Academy Princeville we aim to provide a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum which addresses the children‘s social, emotional, physical, intellectual, moral and cultural development within a safe, secure and stimulating environment.
Our curriculum enables the child to learn and develop skills, attitudes and understanding in these areas of learning:
The prime areas being:
- Personal, Emotional and Social Development. (PSED)
- Communication and Language. (CL)
- Physical development. (PD)
The specific areas are:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Art and Design
Throughout the EYFS we plan activities to give children learning experiences and opportunities to work towards the Early Learning Goals and prepare them for the National Curriculum. Teaching and learning will take place within the classroom, Learning Street and outside areas. Within these areas children will participate in a variety of activities, both adult led and independently.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
The EYFS also includes the characteristics of effective teaching and learning. The Nursery and Reception teachers plan activities within the Talking Twos, Nursery and Reception classrooms with these in mind. They highlight the importance of a child’s attitude to learning and their ability to play, explore and think critically about the world around them.
The three characteristics are;
- Playing and Exploring – engagement
- Finding out and exploring
- Playing with what they know
- Being willing to have a go
- Active Learning – motivation
- Being involved and concentrating
- Keep trying
- Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
- Creating and Thinking Critically – thinking
- Having their own ideas
- Making links
- Choosing to do things
We believe that play, both indoors and outdoors, is the fundamental way in which young children learn. Play can be enjoyed and challenging. When playing, children behave in different ways. Sometimes, their play will be boisterous, sometimes they will describe and discuss what they are doing, and sometimes they will be quiet and reflective as they play. Through play, children will be developing skills across all the Prime and Specific areas of learning, working towards achieving the Early Learning Goals. The adults role is to extend the children’s learning through sophisticated questioning, sustained shared thinking, modelling, playing alongside and through role play.
In a secure environment with effective adult support, children will be able to:
- Explore, develop and represent learning experiences that help them make sense of the world.
- Practice and build up concepts, ideas and skills.
- Learn how to control impulses and understand the need for rules.
- Be alone, be alongside others or co-operate as they talk to rehearse their feelings.
- Take risks and make mistakes.
- Think creatively and imaginatively.
- Communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems.
- Express fears to relieve anxious experiences in controlled and safe situations.
Adults in the setting will support play by:
- Planning and resourcing a stimulating environment.
- Supporting children’s learning through planned play.
- Extending and supporting children’s spontaneous play through questioning and sustained shared thinking.
- Extending and developing children’s language and communication in their play, through modelling and 2 way discussions.
- Listening to all forms of children’s communication and their ideas and taking these into account when developing play and planning.
- Narrating children’s play.
- Asking questions about children’s play, observing, assessing and extending learning.
We ensure there is a balance of adult led and child initiated activities across the day. Although much of the time is spent with children self-selecting tasks, the interaction between the adult and child is essential as the adult’s response to children builds understanding and therefore guides new learning. The adult’s role is to continually model, demonstrate and question what the child is doing. In some cases the adult will ask a child to come and complete a task or game with them; at other times they will participate in a child’s game, extending it where possible.
By the Summer term in Reception the children will experience many more adult directed tasks as they prepare for their transition to year 1. These tasks are often based around the children’s interests.
We include direct, carefully planned, adult led experiences for children in the form of structured adult led teaching and adult led group activities. These are particularly important in helping children to learn specific skills and knowledge and it is often through children’s play that we see how much of this learning children have understood and taken on. Each day we follow a timetable with set routines in place. This looks quite different in Talking Twos, Nursery and Reception classes. We set aside times each day when the children come together to be taught in the more traditional sense, gathered together on the carpet as a class. In these slots we focus on our topic work, maths, literacy, phonics, discussion and stories. These sessions help to develop vital habits of learning: learning as a group, listening to the teacher, taking turns to answer, sitting still, sharing ideas and opinions etc.
Reading and story play is an important part of the day. We want to make sure our children develop a love of books and will leave the EYFS with a bank of stories they know well, both fiction and non-fiction. We make sure there is always time for a whole class story at the end of the day but also that there are many opportunities to enjoy books at other times throughout the day. Every child is given their own book bag and has a designated day when they will have a one-to-one reading session with an adult and, in Reception, a small group phonics session.
We believe many children need to be given a starting point to learn new things and find topics are a great way to fire the imagination. We have a two year topic cycle; topics are usually based on the following areas of learning, ‘Understanding the World’, ‘Literacy’ and ‘Communication and Language’; and range from a topic on ‘Marvellous Me’ to ‘Spookies and Sparkles’ or ‘Traditional Tales’. The topics are flexible to ensure we also follow the children’s interests, school themes and local or national events e.g. the Olympics. Every half term (and occasionally termly) teachers plan the next topic, and arrange visits or visitors that will enhance the children’s learning experience.
Teachers plan in more detail on a weekly basis using daily notes, observations and interactions with children to inform where the learning journey should move to. Although class teachers are responsible for writing plans, the EYFS plan as a team, with Teachers, Nursery Nurses and Support Staff all give input whenever possible.
Change according to new plans
Visits and Visitors
The part that visits and visitors play in the curriculum at Co-op Academy Princeville is given great emphasis, particularly in the Early Years. We aim to have at least 1 trip per half term, ranging from a local visit to town or a coach trip to the farm. Visitors also enhance a topic and we like to have ‘experts’ coming in to talk to the children, for example, a police officer. We like to ask parents if they can (and brave enough!) share knowledge or a skill e.g. cooking, how to bathe a baby, painting mehndi patterns on hands or playing guitar.
Our Early Years classrooms have defined areas with clearly labelled resources to ensure children can access them easily. Each classroom is set up in a way to provide children with experiences and activities in all of the seven areas of learning. Classrooms have a writing area, maths area, creative area, dough area, painting area, sand area, snack area, book corner, role play area, construction/small world area, outdoor area and carpeted teaching area. We also have a Learning Street with a loose parts area, light box/projector area, artist studio, clay area, water area and writing area. A variety of activities are planned for and set up in the different areas each day. The adults move to whichever area their focus for the session/day is as well as doing spontaneous observations throughout the areas. The outdoor area is an important part of the classroom with many children choosing to learn outside for much of the day. We try to ensure that the range of activities outside reflects the different curriculum areas, for example setting up quiet spaces for a maths game, reading and for construction.
Assessment is split into the following areas:
- Reception age children are required to undertake the National Baseline and practitioners have 4 weeks to complete this from the date of entry.
- Planned activities (1:1, small group and informal observation) to internally baseline all pupils within the first 4 weeks.
- Informal observations happen daily - practitioners should not be trying to capture and evidence this electronically or on paper.
- Observations might be:
- set away form the child watching and listening
- as part of small group work
- as part of 1:1 tasks and interactions
- ‘Notable Achievements’ are the exception for recording hard evidence. We keep this simple and use Class Dojo.
- We have a system for ‘focus children’ to ensure that all children are being focussed on across the week.
- We have a WOW moment system with parents to share the special moments from home.
- Children each have a workbook in which they record their focus tasks.
Role of Staff
The Class Teachers Role;
- Enable young children to make good progress in their learning by building upon the skills they have when they join the school in nursery or reception class.
- To assist all pupils to develop emotional security, self-belief and mature social skills.
- To assist all children to develop a love of learning and an excitement about coming to school each day.
- Make effective use of assessment information on pupils’ attainment and progress when teaching and in planning future learning.
- Establish positive relationships with pupils and their parents/carers
- Ensure that learning is appropriately differentiated so that the learning is well pitched and all pupils are challenged at their current level of understanding.
- Create a high quality, rich, stimulating and enabling learning environment containing items that will capture pupils’ attention and lead to independent exploration.
- Set high expectations for pupils’ behaviour, establishing and maintaining a good standard of discipline through well focused, engaging teaching and through positive and productive relationships.
Early Years Practitioners and Cover Supervisors Role;
- Help ensure that every child’s care is tailored to meet their individual needs and to help the child become familiar with the setting.
- Develop an ethos where risk taking is actively encouraged, so that even the most reluctant child will be happy to have a go at writing without fear of ‘getting it wrong’.
- Encouraging learning and development, through play and teaching.
- Creating a secure environment, using imagination to help children to learn.
- Working with parents to support their children.
- Enabling children to build their literacy, language and numeracy skills
- Establish positive relationships with pupils and their parents/carers
- To provide a stimulating, educational and safe environment for children in which they can develop to their full potential
- To effectively deliver the EYFS, ensuring that the individual needs and interests of the children in the setting are met (in conjunction with other team members)
Partnership with Parents and Carers
We believe that parents and carers are a child’s first educator and therefore work very closely to ensure they are involved in what we do with their child at school. We want parents to feel they can speak to us about their child at any time and feel comfortable in our setting. As well as the Nursery and Reception transition days we offer a New Parents Meeting at the end of Summer. This allows staff to meet the parents and inform them of key information in preparation for September. We also offer stay and play sessions for new Talking Two’s and Nursery starters. All new children are offered a home visit. Throughout the year we also offer parent workshops and other sessions, such as a Tuesday morning library or family learning events.7
Health & Safety and Safeguarding
Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met, and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them. We follow the safeguarding and welfare requirements detailed in the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Guidance (2014) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/299391/DFE- 00337-2014.pdf.
It is important to note that members of staff do not use their mobile phones or personal handset devices in the classroom and are prohibited from taking photographs with their personal handsets. This is in line with Co-op Academy Princeville Safeguarding Policy. Members of staff do, however, use school iPads to take photographs as evidence to support the regular observation assessment cycle in the EYFS. These photographs are used in children’s portfolios, in class displays and on the school website.
All parents are asked to state if they give permission for their child’s image to be used on the school website through the paperwork in their initial starter packs.
We are a healthy school and our children receive free fruit and milk from a Government scheme but we ask that parents contribute £1.00 per week for alternative snacks such as cereals, crackers and cheese and more exotic fruits such as pineapple or mango.
We take all accidents seriously and always log and phone home immediately if a child bangs their head. We have cold compresses stored in the freezer which are used during first aid administration. We encourage all children to start school without nappies but will support any children struggling with this. We acknowledge that young children often have ‘accidents’ (i.e. wet themselves!). We have a collection of spare clothes and we change anyone who has had an accident. We ask parents to help keep our collection of clothes high by returning anything their child has borrowed. Children are changed in a changing facility to protect their dignity. All large climbing equipment is checked by our site officer and fire alarms are held regularly in line with whole school policy. There is an annual external check of equipment. We follow whole school procedures for child protection (see separate policy). Ryan Lewis (Head Teacher), Naureen Majid (Deputy Head), Sam Day (Assistant Head), Kate Wilkinson (Assistant Head) and Asma Majid (Assistant Head, Inclusion) are the named Child Protection Officers and all concerns can be discussed with them. We have separate policies for medicine in school and off-site visits.