“The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child's own natural desire to learn.”
Here at Brereton, we believe that children need to be completely emersed in an Early Years setting which aims to expose them to as many experiences as possible. We acknowledge that we have high expectations from the moment the children come into school and we believe this gives them a strong, positive start to their school life.
Our broad and balanced curriculum aims to instil independence and aspiration in all children, therefore we plan our content and lesson structure to promote these skills.
The children need to master everything prescribed in the Early Years Curriculum in ways described in Development Matters. The Early Learning Goals, along with milestones and other progression documents, are used throughout the planning process to ensure that we are capturing every opportunity to recognise success.
The skills the children will develop are taken from Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and Development Matters document. Our primary aim is to promote and ensure the Characteristics of Effective Learning, through enabling environments and positive relationships.
We are a small, rural church school in an affluent area with close links to the farming and wider community. However, our intake extends from Crewe, to Sandbach, to Congleton, through to Holmes Chapel. Therefore, our children come from a large number of preschool and nursery settings and our social demographic is widening.
Sequence & Structure
We follow the Early Years Curriculum and the supporting document, Development Matters. We have a progression of skills in place for Literacy and Maths to enable to the children to achieve a good level of development by the time they leave Reception.
At the start of the year when we make our baseline assessments, we look at the interventions we need to put in place and then assess every half term; the aim of this is to ensure pupils ‘keep up, not catch up,’ and reach a point where they are able to access the curriculum independently through continuous and enhanced provision.
Curriculum match to our intention
Our curriculum in Early Years has evolved over the last three years and we are confident that it supports the new Early Years framework being released in September 2021.
Our curriculum has been closely planned with the rest of the school, paying particular attention to how our teaching can be built on in Key Stage One.
We have taken into consideration our local area and events that are significant to them, such as the Bear Festival that runs each year. We look at the topic of ‘Bears’ in Autumn 1 to provide them with familiarity of a local event but also stories and nursery rhymes pupilswill be familiar with.
The topics that we teach are based around building skills stated in the Early Years Curriculum and aiming to make the children active learners and critical thinkers.
Phonics is an integral part to EYFS so we teach this first thing in the morning and then it is built upon throughout the school day.
We aim to have formal sessions for 15 minutes in Autumn 1. We believe a formal and structured approach creates a routine and practise for all children. Phonics is taught in groups of 6 in Autumn 1, progressing into larger groups in order to support the transition into Year 1.
In Literacy and Maths, all children will have a group input together in the carpet before heading to their formal learning activity, as well as their continuous provision. Activities are differentiated depending upon individual needs. The classroom is designed to promote maximum learning opportunities for all children at all times. This includes Literacy and Maths apparatus in all areas to promote the skills being taught.
We have learning journeys for all children, as well as an independent literacy and phonics book. The learning journey aims to capture a variety of experiences, with photo evidence. We feel it is essential that the adult is present whilst interacting with the child, facilitating and extending learning, rather than using an iPad to get evidence to record. Tapestry is also currently in place.
When the children come into Reception, we used the standardised baseline assessment that is compulsory from 2021. We also conduct further base line assessments to gain a full picture of the child.
We conduct half termly reading assessments in line with the Read, Write, Inc phonics scheme.
Maths assessments are conducted when appropriate and they are designed in line with the learning from the Power Maths books. We aim to purchase the actual scheme tests once they are released.
All other areas of learning are assessed on a half termly basis. Any gaps that appear in the data, whether it be on a individual or class basis, are all incorporated within the planning for the next week or unit.
As children leave Reception, our aims are:
• that all pupils will have a love for learning, a desire to advance and the confidence to succeed.
• pupils will have built positive and trusted relationship with staff and we will established excellent relationships with parents and carers.
• pupils will demonstrate respect and manners to others, so becoming upstanding citizens of their community.
• all pupils to have a secure basis for Year 1, to transition smoothly in their new class, and to flourish throughout their time and Brereton and beyond.