At the Huntspill Federation, we aim to provide an Early Years setting where the children feel happy, safe, respected, included and valued. We always welcome and value children’s thoughts and opinions, giving them the opportunity to speak and be listened to. All staff support the children to become confident, independent learners with a positive and curious attitude to learning. We always ensure that we are supporting children to explore, to grow and to develop the characteristics needed for effective learning.
The characteristics of effective learning 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
- Keeping 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 understand that children develop rapidly during the early years, physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. We provide all children with a broad and balanced curriculum, to extend their knowledge and skills to allow them to reach their full potential. We prepare children to reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of the Foundation Stage and ensure children make good progress from their starting points. The positive relationships that we build with parents enable us to work effectively with them to help their children flourish.
In our setting, we always ensure quality and consistency within our teaching and learning so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind. Our provision offers a balance of child initiated and adult-led learning using continuous provision and small group activities.
All areas of the EYFS curriculum are followed and planned for to ensure there is a broad, balanced and progressive learning environment and curriculum. The children learn new skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate understanding through the seven areas in the EYFS curriculum. These are:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design
Children have access to our indoor and outdoor spaces, all year round. They can choose where they would like to learn and the resources they would like to use. We have a variety of spaces in which they can learn, some of which are: an outdoor kitchen, maths areas, ‘loose parts’ zone, fine motor control table, the quiet garden, a builder’s yard, role play area, water play, sand play, arts and crafts, message centre, book corner, small world play and a workshop. The children have the freedom within continuous provision to be in control of their own learning and to follow their interests. Continuous provision enhancements change on a regular basis to extend children’s learning, follow children’s interests, enhance our topic, promote curiosity and encourage exploration.
Adults in the EYFS act as facilitators and scaffold children’s learning. They carefully monitor and observe children in their play, looking at ways to deepen their knowledge and understanding and allow them time and opportunities to consolidate their learning. All staff support them in meeting their next steps. We take time to get to know the children well and find out about their interests.
Observations are recorded using ‘Tapestry’, an online learning journal. Staff upload photos and observations, linking these to the EYFS curriculum and noting any of the characteristics of effective learning that the children have shown. ‘Tapestry’ also allows parents to view the learning that has taken place in school and make comments. Parents can also upload and share learning that takes place at home too. All staff discuss observations and help to assess children using the ‘Development Matters’ document. Planning, adult interaction and the learning environment is carefully thought out to meet the needs of the children and help them achieve their potential.
We make close links with parents/carers through home visits (prior to COVID-19 restrictions), regular communication, parent’s evenings, phonics meetings, ‘stay and play’ sessions, picnics, ‘Classdojo’, ‘Tapestry’ and via the school website or Facebook page. Methods of communication may change slightly due to COVID-19 restrictions. We also have a close partnership with the onsite pre-school at both schools, to share good practise and support transition for the children and their families.
All staff take the time to get to know each child well and find out about their interests and their home life. We value what children have to say and encourage them to share their experiences with us when they feel confident to do this. Through observations of the children in play and monitoring the areas of provision, we make alterations to our provision as necessary. This enables us to continue to meet the needs and interests of the children. If an area within our continuous provision is no longer being used or is less popular, we discuss ways to enhance this provision as a staff and also involve the children in decision making. This supports the children in taking ownership of their learning environment.
Staff complete a range of short and longer observations, take photos and videos, these are uploaded to ‘Tapestry’. The class teacher oversees all observations and photo uploads to ‘Tapestry’. EYFS staff discuss their observations on a daily basis and support each other to find ways to further enhance provision and support children’s learning. Following discussions as a whole EYFS staff, the ‘Development Matters’ document supports us to make a ‘best fit’ judgement on the children’s current level of development. This is completed as a baseline, on entry (by the beginning of October), in December, in March and then a final entry in June which indicates those children that have achieved a Good Level of Development (GLD).
Summative assessment, using the school’s assessment tracker ‘Insight Tracker’ compares children’s attainment to age related expectations, using month bands in the ‘Development Matters’. This is tracked to ensure rates of progress are at least good for all children, including vulnerable groups such as those with SEND or who are disadvantaged. The EYFS Lead, the assessment co-ordinator and Head Teacher closely monitor this data and regularly discuss any areas for development. Internal and external EYFS Moderation takes place yearly to help support us in the judgements that we have made.
For detail about our phonics provision, click here