What fantastic trips to Chester Zoo Eaton Park has had! 🤩 The trips during the…
Early Years Leader: Miss E. Hayes
Early Years Leader: Miss E. Hayes
Here at Eaton Park Academy, our vision for our Early Years Foundation Stage is to ‘Lay solid foundations which enable children to achieve success throughout their school life.’
We are committed to providing children with the best possible start to their school journey by creating an inclusive, safe and stimulating environment where children can engage in high-quality teaching and learning, maximising their potential.
At Eaton Park Academy, we are artists, mathematicians, writers, problem solvers, and innovators. We aim to inspire learners today to reach their full potential in whatever they aspire to do. Within our immersive learning environments, we nurture curiosity, develop creativity and foster a lifelong love for learning.
Through our shared vision and culture of success and achievement, we aim to develop happy, confident, and well-rounded individuals who are well-equipped for the next stage of their school life.
Our curriculum approach at Eaton Park Academy is underpinned by four over-arching principals. Devised by the EYFS statutory framework (2021), these principals underpin all aspects of teaching and learning and help to support pupils in becoming resilient, independent and confident learners.
Teaching and learning in EYFS focuses on embedding the core skills and knowledge which children require in order to fully access and be successful in Key Stage One.
Through our interactive learning opportunities, children follow the curriculum areas to develop skills within seven areas of learning. The EYFS framework (2021) outlines these seven areas of learning and development which our curriculum follows and is built upon. They are split into prime areas and specific areas.
Children will mostly develop the prime areas first. These are: communication & Language, Personal, social & emotional development, physical development.
The development of the prime areas will help children to develop the specific areas. These are: Literacy, Maths, Understanding of the World & Expressive Arts & Design.
Our rich curriculum focuses on embedding key skills and knowledge. English in EYFS is taught through a range of engaging texts which include both fiction and non- fiction. We want pupils to enjoy and demonstrate an understanding of stories and begin to understand and use vocabulary acquired from these.
As an Academy, we follow the phonics programme, ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds.’ Our Nursery pupils embed phase 1 phonics which focus on skills such as oral blending and rhyme. This then enables them to access the Little Wandle programme in Reception. During the Reception year, pupils learn phase 2 and 3 graphemes and apply these to reading and writing. Children take part in reading practise sessions each week to embed reading skills and develop fluency.
Within Maths, we focus on developing number sense and mathematical fluency within the core skills needed to access the Year One curriculum. We have an emphasis on number composition, subitising and counting. All of which are vital skills and the foundation blocks for Maths in Key Stage One.
In both Nursery and Reception, children follow four main topics throughout the year, which include appropriate sub-topics to further enhance learning. Each topic is carefully selected to facilitate the key knowledge we want children to learn throughout the year. These topics are relevant to the real world and help to provide context to what is happening around them, for example the seasons or annual celebrations. We use our children’s interests as a stimulus for our planning and provision enhancements. Staff tune in to what children are currently interested in and use this to enhance their play and learning opportunities. We also take part in ‘Wonderful Wednesday’ each week as a form of character development. We aim to enrich learning through hands-on activities such as cooking, gardening and dancing.
Characteristics of effective learning in the Early Years
While the seven areas of Learning and Development outline what children learn during the Early Years, the Characteristics of Effective Learning describe how children learn.
Staff in EYFS are aware of the characteristics of effective teaching and learning which they use to ensure that pupils are able to learn well within their environment. The three characteristics of effective learning are as follows:
Playing and exploring
Creating and thinking critically
Staff observe the ways in which children approach their learning through decisions and interests and how they tackle challenges and adjust their practise accordingly to best support each child.
Our approaches to learning at Eaton Park
Staff within the EYFS work with the children to help immerse them into their learning and play. Teachers and support staff work closely with the children each day to understand what they can do, how well they are learning and what their next steps are to help them to help move their learning forwards.
Within the provision, we support children in developing their interests and expressing their ideas by encouraging free-flow and self-selection of learning resources. We have well defined spaces within classrooms to support children in becoming confident learners.
In the nursery, the children are placed into a key worker group of up to 20 children. This gives the children the opportunity to form close bonds with both their key worker and also their peers. The three key worker groups are then over seen by the class teacher who is responsible for planning and assessing the needs of the children with the support of the key workers. The nursery day consists of short 20 minute adult led inputs which are phonics, maths, English and topic. The rest of the time is spent immersed in the continuous provision with adults working alongside the children to scaffold and challenge the children as needed. There are also dedicated times for stories, rhymes and singing throughout the day.
In reception, the children are placed into two classes which each have a class teacher and member of support staff. The approaches in reception are slightly more formal than in nursery, with the children mostly engaging in whole class learning. The children engage in daily phonics, maths, English, handwriting and topic lessons. Within Reception, we focus on developing the children’s independence when managing the school day and accessing learning activities to help best support their transition into Year 1.
In order to ensure that we are fully aware of exactly where each child is working, we undertake assessment points throughout the year. During these assessment points, we use teacher knowledge of each pupil and any evidence supporting this to understand whether a child is working ‘on-track’ or not. We do this using our assessment tool which outlines what we expect pupils to be able to do and know at specific points throughout the year. Where children are not ‘on-track’, rapid intervention is put in place to support pupils’ specific needs. Teachers are aware of each child’s most pertinent next steps and use this information to provide tailored learning opportunities or intervention.
In addition to our assessment points, staff in EYFS use formative assessment daily to pinpoint pupils who may need additional support in order to prevent them from falling behind. This is provided through spontaneous intervention as required and is monitored closely.
Across EYFS, we take part in both the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (Reception) and ‘Talking Time’ (Nursery). As part of the NELI intervention, children are screened using an assessment tool which allows us to quickly identify children who are not working at an expected level within their communication and language. We are then able to use appropriate intervention to support their needs. ‘Talking Time’ is universal and offered to all Nursery children via small group sessions with the aim to support the development of early language skills.
Parents as Partners
Here at Eaton Park Academy, we know how important it is to work in partnership with our parents to help each child achieve their full potential. We build this partnership through our use of school Dojo, which provides a constant link between home and school allowing learning to be shared and communication between school and parents to be fluid. Throughout the school year, parents are given the opportunity to come into school and get involved with their child’s learning through parent workshops, interactive lessons, shared story times and craft sessions. Information is also shared termly with parents, detailing their child’s level of attainment and targets for their child to develop even further.
Transition to Year 1
The transition from Reception to Year 1 can be seen as a big change for some children and so we want to make this transition as smooth as possible. As part of the transition process, children meet their new class teacher in the summer term. The Year 1 teachers regularly pop into the Reception classes during this term to become a familiar face and to get to know the children. We take the Reception children down the Year 1 classrooms and playground to help them get used to the environment. We take part in a transition week where pupils move up to their new class within a gradual timetable, completing activities within their new class and with the new staff. Where we identify pupils who may find this transition especially difficult, we put additional transition in place to support the change and make it as smooth and easy as possible.
To further support pupils’ transition from the EYFS curriculum to the National Curriculum, Year 1 teachers use a transition tool to ensure pupils are ready to access the learning. Where specific pupils need to embed knowledge or skills in order to access the Year 1 curriculum, teachers use the planning tool to address these gaps in their learning.
Harper (Nursery) “I love playing in the home corner and making food.”
Roman (Nursery) “I like playing in the water and the sand.”
Noah (Nursery) “I like doing painting.”
Aurora (Reception) “I like playing doctors with my friends.”
Mia (Reception) “I like playing outside in the mud kitchen.”
Brodie (Nursery) “I like reading books. We share them with our friends. I like ‘Stick Man’ the best.”
Francesca (Nursery) “I like playing in the water! I play with the baby dolls. I wash them in the water!”
Noah (Nursery) “I like building with the blocks. I do big towers with my friend.”
Rose (Reception) “I like painting pictures and making things in the construction area.”
Bella-Rose (Reception) “I love reading stories. My favourite is ‘Room on the Broom’. I like it when the frog is in the shower.”
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