Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum Overview / Policy
2022 / 23
Staff Responsible- Head of Early Years
Review – Yearly
Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the 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, DfE, 2021)
Aims of the EYFS in the Vale of Evesham School
- To provide a relevant curriculum which is play based, child led and is also broad, balanced, enjoyable and exciting.
- For pupils to reach their full potential during the Early Years.
- To prepare pupils for lifelong learning and nurture an enjoyment for learning and building the foundations for learning
- To develop partnerships with people that are important for the child
- To support and promote all the EYFS areas of development and the Characteristics of Effective learning
- To ensure that all children are safeguarded
- To provide equal opportunities for the pupils.
We will follow the over Arching Principles of the EYFS which are:
- 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 benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
- importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates
Due to all of the children within Early Years at the Vale of Evesham school having additional needs and already being identified as having a delay with their development, working in the 0 – 3 years band of the Development matters before they start with us we intend to focus on the Prime areas of development: Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development. Characteristics of Effective Learning. Thinking and Literacy (including synthetic phonics) are also given high priority in Reception. We also plan to develop all areas of development from the EYFS with all children, we offer plenty of creative and understanding the world opportunities. We also develop the characteristics of effective learning and cultural capital as well as continued work on the prime areas that arise during these activities.
In the EYFS classes children are supported to develop the essential early learning skills that allow them to sit and take part in adult led activities as part of a group and to actively learn.
School age children will have an Education, Health and Care plan naming the school.
We can accept children on assessment places in school in exceptional circumstances with agreement from Worcestershire Children First and the School.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is for children from birth to the end of Reception (the academic year in which they turn five).
Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning
The characteristics of effective learning help us to focus on and understand how children learn. Following characteristics of young children’s learning enables them to become effective lifelong learners. We look for and think about how the children learn when accessing all areas of development.
The characteristics of effective Teaching & Learning will feed into the engagement scales in Key Stage One Complex Curriculum.
The characteristics of effective Teaching & Learning are split into three different areas:
Playing and Exploring
Our classroom environments are set up to actively encourage and offer children the opportunity to play, explore and investigate using open ended activities. Play is essential for children’s development. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults.
We provide opportunities for children to follow their interests for extended periods of time, fully engaged in what they are doing and concentrating deeply. In their activities, children will be encouraged to persist in the face of challenge or difficulty, thereby developing a resilient disposition.
Creative and Critical Thinking
Children will have many different opportunities to be creative – generating new ideas, being inventive, finding problems and challenges and figuring out their own ways to solve them. Adults will be attentive to individual children’s interests and will provide new materials and experiences to extend and enhance these processes. We try wherever possible to give children more autonomy in how they approach tasks and focusing on the process of problem solving, not just on the final outcome.
Areas of Development
In the EYFS framework there are 7 areas of development 3 prime and 4 specific areas. The prime areas begin to develop in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas. The prime areas continue to be fundamental throughout the EYFS. The prime areas are the main focus alongside the characteristic of effective learning. At the Vale of Evesham School Thinking Skills incorporates Mathematics and the other specific areas. The specific areas grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning. The prime areas of learning, Characteristics of Effective Learning as well as Thinking and Literacy are given priority in Early Years.
Communication and Language (CAL)
This is also taught throughout the day every day and built in to every situation. In reception the children have adult led communication groups working towards personal targets at least twice each week.
CAL will feed into Communication in the Complex curriculum and Semi Formal in Key stage One.
Personal Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
This is taught throughout the day every day and in every activity. It will be a priority in child-initiated learning both inside and outside. We will work at building relationships, with peers and staff, sharing and turn taking as well as making a choice. Managing behaviours and emotions throughout the day is also a high priority. We also work towards the children being able to play and access adult led learning in a group.
PSED will feed into All about Me and beyond in the Semi Formal Curriculum and Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) in the Complex Curriculum at Key Stage One.
Physical Development (PD)
We try to develop personal care and independence skills during snack, lunch and toileting routines every day. We also provide activities to develop gross and fine motor skills in child initiated play. We also have adult led activities with physical skills as the main focus. For many of our children their gross motor skills are a strength. For these children a big part of their physical development will be around the sensory processing and this will be supported by a range of sensory diet opportunities. Children with more significant issues around movement, physical development and mobility may follow physio plans
Thinking skills incorporates early maths skills as well as developing skills around object permanence, anticipation, cause and effect and problem solving. Some mark making, book skills, imaginary play and construction. There are adult led sessions with a thinking focus as well as developing thinking skills in child initiated play.
Is mainly taught in thinking skills but our most able Reception pupils will have more of a Mathematical focus during the adult led activities as well as opportunities to develop any interests around mathematics during child-initiated play.
Thinking and Mathematics will feed into Cognition in the Complex Curriculum and Thinking Skills and Numeracy in the Semi Formal Curriculum at Key Stage One.
Every early years class has a book area with a selection of suitable books for all the children in the group. We also have an adult led story time each day. Mark making opportunities are available in child initiated play and may include activities to develop fine motor skills. We also have adult led mark making activities. In adult led sessions we also develop understanding of letters and sounds In Reception we continue to work on early reading skills including systematic synthetic phonics (Read Write Inc where appropriate/accessible), symbolic development and book knowledge.
Literacy will feed into Communication and Literacy in the Semi Formal Curriculum and Communication & Story Sharing in the Complex Curriculum at Key Stage One.
In EYFS Adults support children to develop a love of books and stories. The children have a story time each day when they explore a story in a multisensory way as part of a group. In reception children have Literacy each day (Step 5 and above). They take part in small group or 1:1 activities to develop communication and language skills and early decoding skills using a range of approaches including ‘reading’ pictures and symbols, whole word recognition and synthetic phonics (Read Write Inc scheme where appropriate / accessible).
Understanding the World (UW)
This includes the areas of: people and communities, the world and technology. We use a topic based approach. Much of this links to the learning the children do within PSED and the characteristics and effective learning.
The children will learn about cultures and celebrations in relation to their group and topics. They will also work on being a part of the class and school community. We will explore the world around us with our senses, this is supported with messy play and other exploratory activities. Use of technology in to other activities but we also try to limit the screen time available to young children in Early Years. As many have a lot of screen time at home and the use of tablets and screen devices can be a trigger for some behaviours.
UW will feed into Cognition and SEMH in the Complex Curriculum and How my world works and My Place in the World at Key stage One
Expressive Arts and Development (EAD)
We provide opportunities to be creative in imaginative play activities, arts and crafts, music and dance in both adult led and child led situations. An important part of this area is around developing characteristics of effective learning and Personal Social and Emotional Development. This is often delivered through a topic-based approach.
EAD will feed into Sensory in the Complex Curriculum and Creativity in the Semi Formal Curriculum at Key Stage One.
The planning cycle of planning, observing and evaluating is used and observations of the children and assessment will inform all levels of planning. We use aspects of the In the Moment Planning approach (Anna Ephgave)
Each class will have a continuous provision document which outlines what is available in the learning environment to meet the needs to that class each year promoting and supporting the areas of development and characteristics of effective teaching and learning.
Long Term planning
This is completed on a two-yearly cycle and makes sure that there is an appropriate balance of all the areas of development and a range of themes ensuring continuity and progression as they move up the school.
Medium Term planning
This is completed for each theme by the class teacher each half term. The planning is around the learning opportunities and activities and enhancements to the continuous provision that will be carried out. In Reception there will be detailed planning for adult led Literacy and Thinking sessions as well as the other areas of development. Planning incorporates differentiation through individual learning intent for individual children.
Short Term Planning
This is completed weekly or when required and outlines what learning opportunities that will be available that week and the intent behind those opportunities. This will include adult led learning times and child led time plan. This is influenced by feedback from the previous weeks plans and learning that has taken place. All planning should be kept on the server within Curriculum Planning – Early Years. Short Term Planning should be available in class for all the class team.
Observations of the children will be made throughout the day and adults will respond in the moment. Observation will be recorded using Evidence for Learning. Observations during adult led learning may also be recorded in writing and link to the desired learning intent of the adult led activities. These will be used to inform planning and target setting. All staff working with the children will take part in observations and recording them. Each child should have Evidence for Learning observations with a balance across all areas of development. Recorded observations should show new learning and wow moments. There is no requirement for a set number of observations to take place as our primary objective for our children is high quality interactions with adults. Adults need to spend time playing and learning with the children so we can guide them effectively in their next steps.
Child Initiated learning
Play is vital to the Early Years Foundation Stage as it underpins all development and learning for young children. Some of the children at our school will need adult support to play or learn to play; however, many will play on their own and with peers. For child initiated learning we follow the planning in the moment approach set out by Anna Ephgrave. Adults teach the children during play by modelling communication and language, demonstrating, supporting, encouraging, facilitating challenge, commentating on play and having fun. We have a continuous provision for child-initiated learning where opportunities for all areas of development are available. The learning environments are thought out to meet the continuous provision and learning needs of all the children in the class. We provide opportunities both inside and outside. We follow Elizabeth Jarman’s communication friendly approach to learning environments.
Within the child initiated learning there will be opportunities for children to practice and apply what they have learnt in previous adult led activities to help secure this in their long term memory.
Adult Led Learning
There are a range of adult led activities throughout the day. Some may be 1:1, or small group and some may be with the whole class they will also vary on length of time depending on the child. Adult led activities will have a focus of an area of development but may have opportunities to develop other areas too. For children to access adult led learning, attention and listening skills are taught. This may be supported by Language for Learning resources. Many of the children need a high level of structure and routine to complete adult led learning and for these children we use aspects of the TEACCH approach where they will access their adult led learning using workboxes. There is a balance between pupil led activities and adult led activities preparing for more structured and adult led lessons as they move up the school. Adult led sessions for literacy & thinking will be taught in small groups or 1:1. There will also be a circle time and a story each day. Alongside this there will be a different curriculum area in an adult led activity. The school day will be structured and follow routines to support the children’s learning and understanding.
This is an approach used with many of our children devised by Dr Dave Hewitt. This approach is a way of implementing our aims to develop Communication and Language and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Intensive Interaction is also a fundamental part of communication and play within the Early Years.
Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage will access learning both inside and outside and both areas are of equal importance. We will have times throughout the day when both inside and outside areas are available but each day we will have times where only the outside or only the inside are available to ensure that all children access each area. The environment is carefully set up each day for learning play opportunities and the safety of the environment and the equipment is also considered. Risks that are in the environment are assessed, these are shared with all staff, they are available in the classroom and on the server. They will be updated when the situation changes, adapted for weather issues and reviewed regularly. Part of learning is to allow the children to learn to assess risks themselves.
Working with parents / carers
We work very closely with parents and carers sharing information and learning with them. We use class dojo to share learning that has happened during the school day and this will happen regularly. Parents are also able to share observations from home by messaging us on Class Dojo. . We also share information with parents at termly meetings, through regular contact by phone alongside chats at pick up and drop off times, to promote partnership working with parents.
Parents will also access Observations completed on Evidence for Learning. This is a new system for Early Years introduced in September 2022. Individual Learning Intents for each child are shared with their parents 3 x a year.
Parents are invited in to ‘Stay and Play’ events regularly so they have a chance to see their child in the school environment, as well as the whole school events.
We also try to offer some ‘Time to Talk’ sessions for parents to meet one another and share their experiences or concerns. We aim to share supportive information on our Class Dojo pages as well – this can be sharing documents from other services such as NHS SALT or OT, or local workshops that we have been made aware of which are relevant
Working with other professionals
All our children have some health needs and we work closely with health professionals that are supporting our children, especially with Speech and Language Therapists. We also work with social care where appropriate. We work with other professionals – Physiotherapist, Speech and Language Therapist and other therapists which link to the school. We carry out programmes set by them to achieve specific targets for the individuals. We share the programmes and targets with parents/ carers and other settings.
We use total communication in the Early Years Foundation Stage. This includes, sign a long, TaSSels (on body signs), photographs, objects of reference, situational cues, symbols as well as key word language and body language. All staff will carry object/ photo / symbol visuals on them when with the pupils, dependent on what is relevant for that group of students. For pupils with sensory impairments we will work to reduce the barriers and make all activities accessible. All children use their senses to learn. Activities are made as sensory as possible and the children access sessions in the sensory room. We have many pupils that have difficulties with sensory processing and a range of sensory diet activities will be available for these individuals.
EAL and children with different cultures
Children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) are supported to develop their knowledge and understanding of English. They will be supported with visuals and key word language. We work with parents to access translation services where needed to help them access the information and support that the school offers. We celebrate the different cultures and disabilities of all the pupils in the EYFS this is reflected in learning resources as well as activities.
Key Person Approach.
We tend not follow the typical approach for key people within our setting. All adults work with all the children and the legal Key Person will be the Class Teacher for all of the children. A key person may be given to pupils in Reception that still need to work on developing positive relationships with adults. This is especially important during transition times.
Educational visits and learning outside the classroom are encouraged where appropriate. Classes will have regular Outdoor Learning opportunities and Swimming opportunities and aim for an educational visit each half term. We follow the school’s policies on educational visits and learning outside the classroom.
In the early years the children are assessed using the Vale of Evesham Early years assessment framework, which is based on the Worcestershire Early Support Document which is used in Worcestershire Early Years settings to support children with SEND.
The early stages of development are broken down into small steps in the areas: Communication and Language Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Thinking Skills, and Literacy (for Reception children working at step 5 or above)
All staff in EYFS will observe learning during both child initiated and adult led times. These are recorded on Evidence for Learning. These are then shared with parents and used as a basis for a teacher’s summative assessment. Observations may also be recorded in writing for some adult led activities. Observations are also made on their response to the learning environment and continuous provision and these inform the following weeks planning.
Formative assessment is key at the Vale of Evesham School and staff are continually reviewing children’s interests, progress and attainment. Using Evidence for Learning enables staff to have a good overview of what children are learning and achieving. This is reviewed regularly by the class teacher to inform ongoing planning and assessment.
On entry to Reception children have a period of assessment. Baselines are completed by October Half term and individual next steps are written from these. We record which step a child is secure at in CAL, PSED, PD, Thinking and Literacy (if step 5 and above), using the Vale of Evesham School Early Support assessment framework. Our assessment informs planning, target setting and any interventions needed. Summative assessment is then again completed in the summer term.
We aim for the children to work towards achieving the Early Learning Goals. Many of the children are still working towards these and we break down the steps before this in our Vale of Evesham Early Support Assessment Framework. If children are working past this framework, we also use the birth to five matters to support further assessment.
Every term the EYFS teachers will meet with a member of SLT to discuss pupil progression, they will discuss pupils who are make expected progress and who are not and interventions needs to be put in place. This will be reviewed termly.
We complete the EYFS profile for children at the end of reception and report this information to parents, Year 1 teachers and the local authority.
We will complete the Reception Baseline Assessment for children in their first six weeks of Reception with all children, however, it is not suitable for all our children and the Head Teacher will disapply children that this applies to.
Each year class teachers will complete a short report to go to parents and carers. This will describe progress the child has made within the areas of development and characteristics of learning. They will also report the levels that the child is working is using the Vale of Evesham School Early Support Assessment.
All children will have an Assessment Book within Evidence for Learning where all their observations are stored. These help to inform a teacher’s assessment as well as the individual learning intent for children. These will be part of the school’s work scrutiny and monitoring routines.
Internal moderation occurs each term and all Early Years staff look at observations and the step it links to in the Vale of Evesham School Early Support Assessment Framework. We also take part in Network meeting with the other special schools in Worcestershire with Early Years classes. As well as this we are developing links with other schools in the trust with Early Years and SEN. This moderation will form part of the supervision staff receive.
Children have Individual learning intents set by the class teacher and these are reviewed termly. These are set from information provided by the assessment and will inform planning. These targets will link with a child’s EHCP (once the final copy has been received by the school).
There will a focus for monitoring set by the Senior Leadership Team. Monitoring takes place termly with different foci.
Monitoring will include: learning walks, lesson observations, scrutiny of Tapestry, learning journeys, planning, BSPs, Risk Assessments and Safe systems of work, targets / next steps. SLT and Heads of Phase or Curriculum will take part in the monitoring of all classes.
Pastoral Information for Early Years
First Aid and Medicines Management
There will be a minimum of 1 paediatric qualified first aider in each Early Years class and they can also access support from other paediatric first aiders in school. There must be a qualified Paediatric first aider with the group when they go off the school site. Pupils with medical issues and medication will have a red folder with care plans and record of medication given. These will be kept in class and medication is locked in the medicine cabinet in the class. Early Years classes will follow the school’s medication policies.
Each phase meeting mental health issues for pupils are raised and discussed. We record ACE using sleuth and CPOMs to inform staff of these in the future. We follow the school procedure for mental health. Some Early Years staff will have training in trauma and attachment as well as mental health.
We follow the school’s behaviour policy. Behaviour incidents are recorded on Sleuth this is monitored by SLT, Head of Early Years and shared at phase meetings with all staff. Children that have shown difficulties with their behaviour will have a Behaviour Support Plan. This is shared with parents, the class team and others that work with the pupil. It is reviewed regularly as behaviours or the situation changes.
Safeguarding and Child Protection
Safeguarding is given a top priority in Early Years and we follow the schools safeguarding policy. Food and Drink There will be daily snack sessions in Early Years classes and dinner time too. This is important learning time. All staff will be aware of allergies and eating and drinking plans for individual children and this will be displayed in the classroom.
Staffing, Continuing Professional Development
The classes within Early Years will have suitable people working in them. The school follows safer recruitment and the ratios for the different age groups and the staff’s qualifications. Staff are experienced in working with both young children and children with additional needs.
We offer a range of professional development for all staff. Some training will be around supporting the specialist needs but we also have some Early Years specific training in place for all Early year’s staff. This supports the staff that do not have a formal Early year’s specific qualification.
During the curriculum time on alternate Wednesday after school meeting is when we look at Early years specific training as well as moderation and Supervision.
Staff will have group and individual supervision. The focus of this is to discuss any issues arising around the child’s development, behaviour and well being and Identify solutions to these issues. As well as continuing to improve their practice and effectiveness in supporting the children.
TAs will have supervision with the class teacher and teachers will have supervision with the Head of Early Years. The Head of Early Years can have supervision with the SLT.
Supervision will also be provided around child protection concerns; this will be supported by DSL / DDSLs where appropriate
If an Early Years class or bubble has to close due to Covid 19 or Covid 19 related issues or if a child has to self-isolate due to covid then staff will post home learning on Class Dojo . Where suitable, resources will be sent home to support learning. Daily contact will be made using tapestry, email or phone calls. Home Learning will include a mix of the curriculum areas and activities and advise given to parents around how to support the learning.
Recommendations for timings within EYFS
In Reception there will be daily circle time, story, & reflection time. Literacy/CAL and Thinking skills will be 4 times a week. Across the week they will have an Outdoor Learning session and a PE session. Swimming will take place across the year – there will be 15 sessions, usually in blocks of 5. There will be four sessions each week for EAD and UW. There may be opportunities to focus on UW for longer such as a theme day or afternoon. PSED is intrinsic across all activities but it is a part of the circle time as well.
When completing Literacy, Thinking and CAL there will be a mixture of small group and 1:1 adult led activities. Many children will access these curriculum areas through a workbox approach. When children are not taking part in these they will access child led learning in the continuous provision.
Some children will access additional interventions and these will be jointly planned between the class teacher and the intervention teacher.
Assemblies – 30 mins per half term and join in with wider school events where appropriate to the individuals.
|Circle time||15 – 20 mins twice a day – PSED CAL Literacy|
|Literacy /CAL|| 4 times a week – differentiated focus
-often a workbox approach
– Includes Reading for pleasure as well as phonics, Read Write Inc, & reading books where appropriate
|Thinking||4 times a week – Often a workbox approach|
|Physical Development||2 x 30 mins weekly PE session in the hall OR 1 x PE and 1 swimming
1 Outdoor Learning session per week
30 mins swimming session 15 x a year, in 3 x 5 week blocks usually
Outside patio available throughout the day
45 mins daily – Snack and dinner
Access to the Big playground where appropriate
|EAD / UW||4 x 30 min sessions a week
Including at least – 1 X Music focus and 1 Media and Media
UW – Across the year a mixture of our world, communities and people and technology
Topic days and afternoons including educational visits
|Story and Reflection||15 mins daily|
|CIL / Continuous Provision||All other times both inside and outside
Literacy and English Text Map
This is a working document to show progression in texts across the school. The literature suggested in the table below are linked to the units being taught within English lessons. Where possible, texts also relate to the overarching theme for the term. Teachers can select 1 or more texts from the list to study each half term between KS1-LKS2. Once in UKS2, teachers will usually focus on one text per half term and teach using multisensory approaches to suit the learning styles of pupils within the class.
Pupils will engage with literature above their reading ability; covering a broad range of themes, eras and cultures. They will access a range of motivating reading materials through a variety of medias, both for pleasure and for purpose. Texts will be high quality often using adapted versions (particularly in UPK2 onwards) and promote meaningful discussions. The texts chosen will go on to inspire and support pupil’s writing.