The EYFS at West Kirby Primary School ensures that every child feels valued, happy and safe. Play and learning is effectively combined to ensure high expectations for all and to allow children to consolidate, explore, problem solve and work together. Through exciting enrichment opportunities, we strive to equip all children with a love of learning and create lasting memories. Our community and family centred approach ensures we work in partnership with parents to support our children's learning, development and wellbeing. We are committed to giving our children the best possible start in life, teaching them the knowledge and skills necessary to be happy and successful in an ever-changing world.
- Positive Wellbeing - Through our safe, nurturing environment and our caring, child-centred approach, we ensure holistic support for the whole child’s development. It is our priority to promote an atmosphere of respect, love and joy, where children are happy and develop a love of learning. The curriculum is carefully structured to ensure that all children are given the motivation and tools required to become inspired, resilient, enjoy learning and achieve their full potential.
- Unique Child - Every child is valued as a unique individual and we take care to promote their interests and passions. Children are encouraged to be creative and follow their imaginations through natural curiosity and exploration with their learning. We have high expectations, helping all children to reflect, recognise and achieve their own personal goals. We aim for children to be masters of their own learning by understanding their own learning behaviours (that is, the Characteristics of Effective Learning). They can then be carefully guided and extended by staff when necessary. We celebrate diversity and provide equal opportunities for all and always strive to promote a love for learning.
- Positive Interactions – We aim to provide high quality interactions between adults and children to positively affect the progress of learning, communication skills and development. Staff will act as role models to the children they teach in order for children to develop their own speaking and listening skills and use high quality questioning and interactions to check understanding and address misconceptions. Children will be provided with opportunities to initiate learning themselves, but also activities planned by adults to enhance their learning. The children will be evaluated and assessed through observations, which are recorded on Tapestry and shared with parents/carers. These are used to inform the next steps of learning and meet individual needs.
- Engaging Curriculum – Our curriculum is carefully designed to be broad, balanced, progressive and engaging. We want to provide children with important foundational skills and knowledge as well as provide opportunities for them to practice and gain mastery. We recognise children’s prior learning and various starting points, and create a well-rounded curriculum that maximises cross-curricular links whilst building strong foundations for their future. Development of the Prime Areas of the EYFS Framework are a particular priority for this, as these provide the building blocks for all learning and development. We ensure that Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development as well as Physical Development are closely weaved throughout all we do to ensure children develop holistically.
- Quality Provision – We believe that all children deserve an education rich in wonder and memorable experiences that allows their natural creativity and curiosity to flourish, alongside the purposeful acquisition of skills and knowledge. We believe that an education that does all of this gives children the best chance to become well-rounded, happy individuals, ready to succeed in an ever-changing world. We pride ourselves on the exciting enhancements and real-world experiences that we offer our children and also aim to provide open ended, natural and inspiring continuous indoor and outdoor provision. There are opportunities for children to engage in activities planned by adults and those that children plan or initiate themselves through play and exploration and, just as importantly, have fun!
- Parent/Carer Partnership - We want to work in close partnership with parents and carers throughout the year to develop positive relationships, encourage good communication and support children’s learning.
- Positive Transition - We aim to promote a smooth transition from EYFS into KS1 by providing children with the knowledge, skills and independence they need to succeed throughout their education and continue their love of learning.
EYFS is based on four overarching principles as outlined in the ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, 2021’:
Unique child – Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
Positive Relationships – Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
Enabling Environments – 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.
Learning and Development – The importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates. Four guiding principles should shape practice in early years settings.
The ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, 2021’ details the seven areas of learning and development as well as their associated Early Learning Goals, that children should be expected to have attained by the end of the EYFS:
These are the Prime Areas:
- Communication and Language - Listening, Attention and Understanding / Speaking
- Physical Development - Gross Motor Skills / Fine Motor Skills
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development - Self-Regulation / Managing Self / Building Relationships
These are the Specific Areas:
- Literacy – Comprehension / Word Reading / Writing
- Mathematics – Number / Numerical Patterns
- Understanding the World - Past and Present / People, Culture and Communities / The Natural World
- Expressive Arts and Design - Creating with Materials / Being Imaginative and Expressive
The advisory EYFS document ‘Development Matters, 2021’ highlights that when planning and guiding what children learn, practitioners must reflect on the different rates at which children are developing and adjust their practice appropriately. The three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
- Playing and Exploring – pupils investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
- Active Learning – pupils keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy their achievements.
- Creating and Thinking Critically – pupils have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
- To enable our children to become engaged, resourceful and resilient learners, now and throughout their education, the children in our setting will be taught to understand and implement these learning skills independently, in an age-appropriate manner. This will be done through communication, modelling and an effective learning environment.
Our structure of EYFS
- We have two mixed F1 and F2 classes (Robin and Skylark) with a maximum of 60 pupils across the EYFS setting. Our Local Authority intake is set at 37 F2 children.
- The EYFS Team consists of two Class Teachers and two Teaching Assistants.
- The Early Years Lead Teacher (Holly Catt) monitors teaching and learning to continually raise progress, standards and outcomes.
- The Link Governor (Mrs Catherine Howell) liaises with the EYFS Lead Teacher and the Headteacher in order to monitor all aspects of EYFS.
- Our curriculum covers all areas of the EYFS Framework, is broad/balanced and builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all pupils, from individual starting points.
- Children will take part in a careful balance of child-initiated play based and adult led activities.
- We use a combination of ‘in the moment’ planning, topic themes and enrichment opportunities to develop a deep understanding and mastery of concepts and to address next steps of learning.
- We ensure the needs of all pupils (including SEND, EAL and Pupil Premium) are met, initially through quality first teaching. Adaptive teaching is then used to support the less able, enabling them to access the same lesson as their peers. Where necessary, specific and personalised support plans are guided by our SENDCo and EAL Lead Teacher and, following discussions with parents, we make referrals to outside agencies to ensure maximum support for all our learners.
- Opportunities for meaningful, ‘real world’ experiences such as trips and interesting, relevant visitors to broaden knowledge and bring the curriculum to life.
- Regular flashbacks are used at the start of each lesson and throughout topics to strengthen recall.
- We introduce collaborative learning strategies to promote high levels of pupil engagement.
- In English we follow the ‘Talk for Writing’ scheme which uses spoken activities to develop writing skills. Quality writing is created by first expanding and developing students' oral language skills and then teaching the necessary steps for exceptional sentence, paragraph and text construction. It is planned in 3 week blocks as follows: Imitation, Innovation, Invention.
- In Maths we follow White Rose Maths objectives and tasks and challenges are planned for F1 and F2 weekly.
- In Phonics we follow the ‘Rocket Phonics’ scheme. Children take home a phonetically decodable reading book each week.
An Engaging Learning Environment
Research has shown that an engaging learning environment increases pupils’ attention and focus, promotes meaningful learning experiences, encourages higher levels of engagement, develops language skills and motivates children to practice higher-level critical thinking skills. At West Kirby Primary School, we are developing our learning environment to promote the Characteristics of Effective Learning in order to best meet the needs of individual learners.
- Pupils are able to regularly access both indoor and outdoor provision, to develop all areas of learning.
- Children use the provision enthusiastically and effectively.
- The classroom is a calming environment and this is reflected in the children’s emotional development and listening and attention skills throughout the day.
- Resources are of a high quality and organised to ensure effective use and accessibility for both children and adults.
- The children’s independence is developed and they are able to take ownership of their learning though play, exploration, creativity and investigation (Characteristics of Effective Learning).
- Children are able to review and practice what they have learned through challenging, enhanced and engaging activities.
- Activities and resources promote and support inclusion to develop a broad understanding of others (EAL, SEND, Understanding of the World).
- Learning and achievements are celebrated to build self-esteem.
- All senses and areas of learning are engaged through stimulating and challenging activities.
- Children are able to review and practice what they have learned through challenging, enhanced and engaging activities.
- Activities and resources promote and support inclusion to develop a broad understanding of others (EAL, SEN, Understanding of the World).
Positive Staff Engagement
- Good communication between adults and children is vital in our EYFS provision. We are developing a language-rich environment to ensure children acquire important communication skills, become confident in using language and positively impact on their learning. Staff seize every opportunity to use high quality interactions and develop skills. Activities and resources also provide a starting point for adults to extend learning and develop mastery through questioning and good communication.
- Strong relationships are built and nurtured between children and staff to ensure pupils feel valued, happy and secure.
- Staff are equipped with the necessary professional development to deliver our curriculum, including good understanding of the new EYFS Framework, Knowledge on how to encourage and develop the Characteristics of Effective Learning with the children and knowledge on how to extend and deepen learning through modelling and questioning.
Parents/Carers in Partnership
West Kirby Primary School believes that for children to receive quality care and early learning that suits their individual needs, parents/carers and staff need to work together in a close partnership. We recognise that parents/carers play a fundamental role in a child’s development as their first educators and our aim is always to support their role. The two-way sharing of information is key to this. The EYFS Team welcomes parents as partners and this relationship is built on trust and understanding. It is important that we, as practitioners, can support parents/carers in an open and sensitive manner. The EYFS wishes to ensure parents/carers are an integral part of the care and early learning team.
We wish to:
• Recognise and support parents/carers as their child’s first and most important educators and to welcome them into the life of school.
• Provide opportunities for parents/carers to learn about the EYFS and about young children’s learning in school and at home, e.g. “Meet the Teacher” meetings, half termly “Home Learning Activities” on our school website, Parents’ Evenings, Phonics and Maths workshops.
• Determine the needs and expectations of parents/carers through regular communication, electronically and in person, which are evaluated by the EYFS Lead to inform good practice and policy.
• Support two-way information sharing regarding each child’s individual needs, both in school and at home, via written “Wow Moments” and our online learning journey “Tapestry”. This app enables parents/carers to log on to see their children’s learning and development in school in real time, as well as upload their own examples of their child’s progress and achievements.
• Generate confidence and encourage parents/carers to trust their own instincts and judgement regarding their own child.
• Welcome all parents/carers into the EYFS setting, as much as is possible and as flexibly as is possible, e.g. to support the settling in period, “Stay and Play” sessions during transition, hearing F2 readers, “Mystery Reader” sessions, etc.
• Provide opportunities and support for all parents/carers to contribute their own skills, knowledge, and interests to the activities of the EYFS, e.g. “People Who Help Us” meetings.
• Maintain regular contact with parents/carers and be readily available and the start and end of each day, to provide practical and emotional support and to help build a secure and beneficial working relationship for their children.
• Inform parents/carers on a regular basis about their child’s achievements, progress and next steps through “Tapestry” posts and Parents’ Evenings.
• Ensure concerns or issues are shared and discussed between parents/carers and staff, to facilitate early intervention and plan next steps of support, to ensure all children’s wellbeing and educational needs are being met.
• Support parents/carers in their own continuing education and personal development where necessary and inform them of relevant conferences, workshops, and training.
• Create opportunities for parents/carers to talk to other adults in a secure and supportive environment through such activities as open days, “Stay and Play” sessions, workshops etc.
• Inform parents/carers about EYFS activities and events through regularly distributed Memos on “Tapestry”, our school website and school “Twitter”.
• Ensure school communications can be easily adapted to a format to suit individual needs, following identification and discussion with the parents/carers, e.g. multi-lingual, electronic/paper communications.
• Respect the family’s religious and cultural backgrounds and beliefs and accommodate any special requirements wherever possible and practical to do so.
• Provide a written contract between the parent(s)/carer(s) and the school regarding conditions of acceptance and arrangements for payment and funding where necessary.
• Ensure that all parents/carers are aware of school’s policies and procedures. A detailed parent prospectus will be provided, and our full policy documents are available on our school website.
• Inform parents/carers that all queries, compliments, complaints, or suggestions are to be registered through school and more information on this is found on the school website. Safeguarding concerns will be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), Mrs Bailey or in her absence to Mrs McCann (Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead), as per school policy. Compliments and complaints concerning Early Years Providers can also be reported to OFSTED by calling 0300 123 1231 or you can write to Applications, Regulatory and Contact (ARC) Team, Ofsted, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester, M1 2WD.
- Children are assessed through observations and adult led tasks which are recorded on Tapestry and shared with parents. These are used to inform the next steps of learning and meet individual needs.
- Attainment and progress is assessed termly which is moderated internally and externally with other schools, where possible within current Covid-19 restrictions. This is used to produce gap analysis to identify areas of focus and individual needs.
- The ‘Reception Baseline Assessment’ (RBA) is a statutory assessment and must be administered with all eligible pupils in the first six weeks after they enter reception. As with all statutory assessments, RBA resources are highly confidential. Data is submitted online and a copy saved in the Foundation Group on Teams.
- Children are assessed as being ‘On Track’ or ‘Not on Track’ throughout the year. By the end of F2 children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals (ELGs).
Through implementing the above:
- All children are provided with opportunities to succeed.
- Children are happy, well rounded, enjoy school and have a love of learning.
- Children’s progress is good or better from their varied starting points.
- Most children reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of EYFS and the percentage of children achieving a Good Level of Development is above National Average.
- All children learn new skills and some children achieve a higher level of learning represented by the development of a mastery of concepts.
- Formative assessments, which inform planning, ensure that all pupils build on their current knowledge and skills at a good pace.
- Children demonstrate curiosity, independence, resilience and other characteristics of effective learning.
- Children are ready to transition from the EYFS curriculum to the National Curriculum in Year 1.