Intent, Implementation and Impact
At Altham St. James’, we provide a safe environment in which children can experiment, explore and progress in their own creative ways.
Through our EYFS curriculum, we aim to ensure our children develop the necessary skills, knowledge and attitude to achieve fulfilling lives.
We teach to the Development Matters and EYFS Framework. We use Tapestry online learning journals to keep track of children’s progress; we collect data from observations at home and at school. We track data using Tapestry grids, phonics grids, and general overview of the Early Learning Goal (ELG) areas. We follow the Read Write Inc. Phonics Programme and use White Rose Mathematics.
We endeavour to provide high quality teaching and learning in a language rich environment. We value, respect and care for all of our children. Each child is unique and brings an irreplaceable value to our classrooms. We provide a curriculum which is based upon their interests, accessible to them and links to the world around them which they know and understand.
The principles that guide the work in the EYFS are grouped into 4 themes:
- A unique child
- Positive relationships
- Enabling Environments
- Learning and Development
The EYFS Curriculum consists of the seven areas of Learning and Development; three core and four specific areas.
The three prime areas of learning are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Understanding of the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
We teach a wide range of foundation subjects across the EYFS. Science investigations and curiosity is developed through our ‘Understanding the World’ themes. Social, moral, spiritual and cultural development, including studying British Values, is incorporated into circle times alongside both ‘Understanding the World’ and ‘PSED’. We learn about different cultures and places in the world many times throughout the year including Chinese New Year, Christmas, Diwali and Eid celebrations.
Our children’s interests and curiosities are used to develop our topics. Each year, some topics will be similar (for example, Traditional Stories and Recycling) and others will be completely based on what the children would like to learn about…keeping us on our toes! This ensures the curriculum is broad, diverse, balanced and stimulating for the children in our care.
We plan and create language rich environments based upon children’s interests. Learning is enhanced by quality continuous provision, to which enhancements are added to support topic and focus work. A mixture of adult lead and child initiated learning is evident each day.
We follow the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme and teacher lead sessions take place on a daily basis. Reading and writing opportunities are planned for in continuous provision.
Mathematics in the EYFS should be relevant and accessible; we teach the children about everyday mathematics and how exciting it can be. We follow the White Rose Mathematics Scheme. As well as a daily teacher lead session, mathematics focuses are available in our continuous provision.
Speech and Language
We are passionate about providing a language rich environment that encourages an increase in development in children’s communication and language. EYFS staff work closely with, and receive training from, the Speech & Language Service. Ginger Bear groups are run by staff and one-to-one support is given to those children who need it.
Child Initiated Learning
During independent learning, we are able to encompass new ideas and thoughts there and then. In the moment planning allows staff to harness teachable moments and use these to move learning on. Using a combination of effective questioning and narrative commentaries, we assess in the moment the child’s level of understanding. We then support them with new vocabulary or ideas to develop their understanding or address misconceptions. We understand and appreciate that sometimes an adult unintentionally interferes instead of interacting. Adults in our classroom will use their experience and knowledge of the cohort to decide whether to observe from afar, interact or comment on a child’s learning.
We use a combination of observing, commentary and effective questioning to find out what children know.
We track children who are consistently receiving less observations and specifically target new activities and ideas designed for them to progress and be observed doing so.
Mrs. Woods, the school SENCO, is the person who works in partnership with parents, classroom staff and a range of other agencies to enable children with additional needs to make progress.
On entry, we complete the statutory reception baseline assessment. Throughout the year, we use a combination of online and paper learning journeys to store evidence.
Phonics assessments are completed every six weeks. The information gathered is used to put booster groups in place and change phonics groups.
We track how many observations each child has each week on Tapestry and use this to target the next week’s activity. We also track which areas of the curriculum have the least observations tagged to them, and increase the adult led input surrounding these areas to allow full and deep coverage of the curriculum.
Through Tapestry, we are able to find gaps in children’s learning and provide opportunities for 1:1 or group sessions to address misconceptions.
Our next steps are done in the moment. When an adult is interacting with a child during independent learning, they talk to the children using effective questioning to ask what that child knows, identify an area for development (understanding, misconception, vocabulary, sentence structure etc.) and then fill that gap in learning through running commentary. This enables the child to fill that gap in learning and to progress to understanding. An adult then helps that child to share their newfound understanding to check progress has been made.
• E.g. Child A is struggling to take their jumper off. An adult says (Show me how you take your jumper off). The child replies “I don’t know how to do that” (OK, let me show you. First you could bend your elbow and pull at your sleeve. It works best if you raise your arms in the air). The child tries this. (Well done, I can see you are working really hard to push your elbow down low). “I did it” (Well done, you can now take your own jumper off, fantastic learning!)
Parents are encouraged to put observations up from home and are given support/guidance/tips on Tapestry in regards to Reading, Phonics, developmental guidance and links to topics/songs being covered at school.
We have an annual phonics and Tapestry introductory evening to discuss phonics vocabulary and teaching alongside how we assess their children throughout the year. Parents also have access to a Tapestry Forum online to answer any questions and provide support with early reading, supporting phonics and everyday mathematics ideas.
Our behaviour management policy is based on a positive reinforcement strategy. Children are rewarded for their kind and helpful efforts; having a go and trying hard; and trying new learning opportunities.
If children make a choice which is not following our class/ school rules, then they are given two verbal warnings (Please stop I don’t like it when you….) and asked to stop. This is followed by a ‘Time Out’ where a child sits in the classroom with an adult to think about what went wrong, how they can fix it and how we can stop it from happening again. This is based on a restorative justice strategy.
All staff follow the school cycle for Safeguarding training and the school Safeguarding Policy.
Children are reminded and encouraged to go to the toilet independently. If this is not accessible, the steps of going to the toilet are supported by adults. If toileting advice or cleaning is required, the child is encouraged and coached through how to wipe if appropriate. Parents are ultimately responsible for toilet training their children, but staff will assist and support when needed.