Early Years Foundation
Early Years Foundation Stage
“Every child is an individual to be respected and taught to the best of her or his ability.”
“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to their full potential. A child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure safe and happy childhood is important in its own right, and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. When parents choose to use early years services they want to know the provision will keep their children safe and help them to thrive. The Early Years Foundation Stage is the framework that provides that assurance.”
At Mathilda Marks-Kennedy School we aim to provide within an orthodox Jewish environment an Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) with strong parental involvement that nurtures each individual child. Within a safe, secure, caring and stimulating environment we ensure that all children reach their full potential and grow in confidence and self-esteem both academically and socially.
We recognise that every child is a competent learner from birth and that entering the EYFS is a very crucial stage in his /her development. We recognise that children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. Within our EYFS we ensure that we cater for and meet these differing needs.
Learning and Development
The principles which guide the work of all the early years’ practitioners at Mathilda Marks-Kennedy are grouped into four themes:
- A Unique Child – every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Positive Relationships – children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.
- Enabling Environments – the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.
- Learning and Development – children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and inter-connected.
The EYFS curriculum encompasses seven key areas of learning.
The three prime areas of learning are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
The four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied, are:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
In our school Jewish Studies forms the 8th area of learning, ensuring it is an integral part of the children’s learning and development.
All staff involved with the EYFS aim to develop good relationships with all children, interacting positively with them and taking time to listen to them. At our school, the EYFS teachers takes overall responsibility for teaching and learning and academic progress for the children in their class. All staff take joint responsibility for the children’s welfare and ensure good communication between home and school.
All areas of learning are taught through topic work and is linked to the needs of the children as well as to the Chagim and other areas of Jewish interest.
MMK EYFS Curriculum - Intent, Implementation and Impact
Intent: why do we teach what we teach?
At MMK we place great value on the development of children as individuals and providing them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage 1 and beyond. Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations rooted in academic success as well as around the emotional development of the children so that ultimately our pupils can be happy, curious life-long learners.
Our curriculum is therefore built around what we know our pupils need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. They can only do that if we embed good habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking.
Many of our pupils arrive in our Nursery already having experienced attending a setting for younger children. Our enabling environment and warm adult interactions support the children as they learn through play and build up the skills set they need to achieve successful outcomes by the end of the Nursery year.
As the pupils move into Reception, we invest time and energy into helping pupils set and reflect on their own goals by aiming high and developing a love of reading, writing and number. This is delivered through an all-inclusive curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking following children’s interests and ideas. We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through a vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside outings and visitors which enhance their experiences.
Care for ourselves! Care for each other! Care for our world!
Implementation: how do we teach what we teach?
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, maths and phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED. These sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets. This focused group time means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. We follow the Letters and Sounds to teach the children phonics to ensure that they meet good outcomes for reading with almost all children passing the Year One phonics screening.
We follow the NCTEM (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics) approach in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. Nursery pupils begin to develop these key skills during daily maths meetings where they explore sorting, quantities, shape, number and counting awareness. These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional intervention and support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or moving on children who are doing very well. This includes, for example, Talk Boost or additional ‘catch-up’ provision in phonics, fine motor skills or maths.
Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
Our curriculum needs to meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, so we spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning. ?This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences and analysing data and progress by year group, class, groups and individuals.
Before the children start, the staff meet with parents and previous settings to gain an understanding of each child and where they have reached in their learning. During the first half term, staff in both Nursery and Reception undertake assessments and observations to establish a base line and plan next steps. In Reception, the RBA (Statutory Reception Baseline Assessment) is also carried out. This assessment focuses on ‘Language, Communication and Literacy,’ and ‘Mathematics.’ The purpose of this is to show the progress children make from Reception until the end of KS2.
Every member of staff is involved in assessing the children. The information gathered is tracked on Target Tracker which enables us to measure our starting points and observe progression.?? It also allows us to assess the impact of teaching. Evidence of children’s learning including observations, work samples, photographs and contributions from parents are kept in on line ‘learning journals’ on Seesaw.
Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress. We aim to exceed the national expectation for GLD at the end of the year. We believe our high standards are due to the enriched play-based exploration alongside the rigour of assessment and teaching the children have as they move through the early years.