In our Reception class we intend that our ambitious and inclusive environment educates all the children in knowledge, skills and understanding in a logical progression, to be effective, inquisitive, curious, independent learners and influence their wider thinking across all areas of learning.
We endeavour to give the children the skills and knowledge they need for future success i.e. giving each child the best start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their full potential and achieve future success. We are passionate about creating opportunities for children to communicate more easily through developing language and communication skills and specifically teaching vocabulary. We wish our children to believe in themselves and their abilities and capabilities, to belong to the school learning community and the wider community and to become successful in their academic career and beyond.
Our Early Years curriculum has been planned as the first stage of our whole schools curriculum and supports children with the transition into Key Stage 1. We provide experiences which create opportunities for children to develop the knowledge, skills and vocabulary they will need on their Key Stage 1 journey.
The EYFS seeks to provide:
Quality and consistency + equal opportunity
We are passionate that teaching for mastery starts in Early Years. We believe in giving all pupils access to equitable classrooms; classrooms where pupils can all participate and be influential, and classrooms where pupils are encouraged and supported to develop a deep connected and sustained understanding of the learning and development being explored. This practice ensures that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind.
A secure foundation
The learning and development opportunities at Stokenham Area Primary School are planned around the needs and interests of the children in the cohort. Child lead learning is at the heart of our practice in Reception. Timely Assessment for Learning (AFL) allows us to tailor the learning to the needs to of the children to ensure their next steps in learning are planned for.
We are fortunate at Stokenham Area Primary School to be part of the South Hams Federation, this allows us to work closely with other practitioners to plan for the best learning environment for our Reception children. We also work closely alongside parents and/or carers as we know a positive and prosperous relationship between school and parents helps to provide a supportive basis for lifelong learning playing a crucial role in children's education. We work hard to create strong partnerships between home and school. Parents receive planning letters to inform them of what their child is learning each term and to explain how they can support this at home. Parents enjoy coming to look at their children’s books and learning journeys every half term and this allows children to share and articulate their learning and successes with their parents.
Learning and development
We have ensured that teachers of the EYFS shape activities and experiences to meet the needs of the children in their cohort. Focussed lessons build on key concepts and milestones over a period of time ensuring that progression in skills prepare all children to succeed in achieving a good level of development in line with the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Reception year. An introduction of ‘teachable moments’ has also refined our practice so that we are led by the children’s progress and interests rather than a timescale of key objectives.
Early Learning Goals
All the staff in our Reception class have a deep understanding of the knowledge, skills and understanding of each Early Learning Goals and how children can achieve these milestones by the end of Reception. We are not lead by predesigned objectives, through good teacher subject knowledge provision is planned and adapted in line with a deep understanding of the progression of skills for each area of learning. Planning is adaptable and reviewed in line with daily AFL.
The four guiding principles as set out in the EYFSP shapes all practice at Stokenham Area Primary School.
o A unique child
o Positive relationships
o Enabling environments
o Learning and development
We are aware that children learn at different rates however through well planned focussed teaching opportunities, that concentrate on small steps of learning as well as carefully scaffolded independent learning and child interactions we believe that all learners can make good progress and children are successful.
Ethos and Growth Mindset
Instilling all our pupils with a 'growth mindset' is a key priority for our school and we have actively promoted this with the children. Children are expected to relish challenges; embrace their mistakes as part of the learning process; value the importance of effort; respond carefully to feedback and take inspiration from others. We believe in challenge and have a high expectation of pupil’s response to challenge. We are also helping our children to develop their metacognition, ensuring key concepts are embedded in their long term memory by connecting new knowledge (working memory) with their existing knowledge (long term memory).
Cultural capital is about preparing children with the essential knowledge and skills for what comes next. Through the exploration of new skills and experiences we help to nurture resilience, curiosity and creativity. Through this journey children develop new forms of cultural capital that makes a difference in individual mind-sets, which consequently shapes their future.
“Good quality teaching takes into account all children in the class and plans small enough steps for the vast majority of children to achieve success with scaffolding and support, and for others to be challenged in the same concept to a greater depth of reasoning.” (EEF)
The seven areas of learning as detailed in the EYFSP shape the setting within our Reception class. We understand that these seven areas of learning are of equal importance and are all interconnected in preparing children to obtain the knowledge, skills and understanding required to achieve the Early Learning Goals at the end of the Reception year. At Stokenham Area Primary School we follow a thematic approach to teaching in Reception, the topic areas are outlined on our curriculum map and are supported by quality texts. We have a variety of focussed sessions alongside independent learning time. When working as part as a focussed group all children will be working on the same focus with varying support to enable all pupils to access the skills being taught. Teaching is responsive and adaptable, with clear progression in steps between lessons that is driven from the children’s learning. Through reflective teaching the vast majority of the cohort will be moving through the content at the broadly the same pace. Our independent learning opportunities are child lead igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning.
A coherent sequence: Reflection, re-cap and worked examples
As a school, we have developed our understanding and use of a variety of pedagogical approaches that focus on how children learn. We believe that these approaches enhance and develop our approach to teaching. We are using the 10 principles of Instruction (Rosenshine) to underpin our planning; specifically carefully planning opportunities for retrieval through the use of carefully scaffolded questioning. We understand that with retrieval practice, regularly visiting areas already learnt before, helps to connect new ideas to ones that are already known.
Small step learning and mastery pedagogy
Pedagogy at Stokenham Area Primary school focuses on breaking down learning into small steps and utilising teaching for mastery techniques such as: Carefully chosen examples and representations to draw out the structure and essence of the concept, discussion in the form of mix ability pairs, talk partners and whole class discussion, mini plenaries – small steps providing sufficient scaffold for all pupils to access, precision in the use of new vocabulary to further develop understanding as well as working alongside the interests and needs of the children in our cohort. Current research on retrieval practice and cognitive load theory are at the forefront of our planning process in these areas.
Oracy and questioning
The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning. We are passionate in providing a learning environment where a rich and varied use of language develops understanding, vocabulary and an ability to communicate effectively with others. We have introduced a vocabulary wall, a word wall as well as adapted our timetable to engage more frequently with stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems. Opportunities are then given for children to embed these new words in a range of contexts including conversation, story-telling and role play. Children are also encouraged to become early readers through enjoyment of books and the systematic teaching of phonics. Teachers will use questioning throughout all learning opportunities to elicit children’s understanding and promote and challenge children to deepen understanding of concepts. Questions should be precise and develop thinking as well as develop the use of specific vocabulary.
Responsive Teaching and Feedback
There are a range of teaching techniques in our Reception class. Where focussed work is planned, this will be delivered in small groups where learning can be tailored to the needs of the children and where staff are able to scaffold the learning. Where necessary teachers will intervene immediately to enable pupils to make progress in their learning. During independent learning time extensive opportunities are available for children to embed new learning as well as re-visit prior knowledge in a range of contexts that is led by the child.
Assessment for Learning
Teachers will build opportunity for AFL into all areas of learning and will use regular opportunities for discussion and use strategies to check and deepen a pupil’s understanding. Teachers will allow for AFL in a variety of ways including the interaction with children in focussed groups, observing independent learning opportunities as well as discussions with pupils.
Where children are working significantly below the expected development milestones of the EYFSP, scaffolding and targeted work takes place on a daily basis. These activities are planned by the teacher in discussion and collaboration with the SENDCO, parents and the TA working within Reception. In Reception where extra support is needed teachers and teaching assistants follow a bespoke evidence informed intervention as well as plan opportunities to further the development and progress of these pupils during their independent learning time.
Each child with specific SEND difficulties will have targets that are agreed and monitored every half term to ensure progression.
Collaborative and Reflective CPD
We are fortunate at Stokenham Area Primary school to be part of The South Hams Federation of schools. This gives us an opportunity to reflect and collaborate on all EYFSP drivers as well as keeping up to date with current CPD.
The most effective way to find out about a child’s learning journey will be to talk them. Through conversations with pupils we are also able to understand how they learn and if they are able to connect prior learning to the learning they are undertaking.
The Early Learning Goals and Development Matters are used to support teachers and teaching assistants within our Reception class to make holistic, best- fit judgements about the progress of the children within our class and their readiness for Year 1. Teachers are required to draw on their knowledge of the child and their own professional judgement when tracking progress. Effective monitoring and evaluation as well as informed and adaptable planning ensure progress is evident for all learners through the work in their individual books, observations in learning journeys as well as pupil discussions. Progress can be seen week on week as well as over a whole unit, termly and over the course of the academic year. Timely ‘book looks’, cross federation moderation and learning walks review progress in relation to the progression of skills for the key areas of learning and guarantee consistency and high expectations are maintained.
The learning environment seeks to challenge, inspire and aid all learners at Stokenham Area Primary School. We understand that the environment in our Reception class is responsible for the ignition of curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. We are passionate that our classroom is one where children learn, investigate, form relationships and thrive. Our learning environment is adaptable in order to reflect children's interests and progression. The working walls in each class showcase the curriculum being taught and the sequence of learning for the unit. The work on display celebrates the achievements of the learners and the progress they are making.
Books and Learning Journeys
We use learning journeys throughout the year in Reception, supplemented with individual exercise books, which evidence their successes throughout their time in Reception. Children recording in books is to allow teachers to measure whether pupils have understood the concept being taught and the level of depth to which they have understood it as well as allowing our children to deepen their understanding of the content by working individually, independently and at greater depth. We value a very practical, hands on approach to learning in Reception and our books show a child’s journey through this using photographic evidence, independent learning and adult annotations.