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Welcome to St Patrick's Foundation Stage
Our EYFS is packed full of fun and meaningful learning through play experiences. Our indoor and outdoor environments are rich and enabling environments, which have been and continue to be, developed by practitioners who are dedicated to providing 'wow' moments and irresistible activities that enable our children to learn. Child initiated learning experiences are very powerful and enable children to cover all areas of the curriculum. Play does not just happen. We work hard to find the best possible approaches in all aspects of our provision. This ensures that our children receive an engaging and appropriate experience that both challenges and excites, motivates and celebrates individuality and achievement.
Engagement is a fundamental aspect of learning. Creativity in planning for learning is a priority and ensures that learning is enjoyable, active and fun. We use Curriculum Maestro to support our cross-curricular curriculum planning. We have the freedom to choose from a wide variety of projects as well as to adapt them or create our own. This ensures we are building a curriculum that both meets our children's needs in our particular context and allows them to follow their interests.
The length of our topics depend the on interest, engagement and learning of the children. Topics are broad and balanced and open questions leave room to follow the direction of things the children want to learn (as well as covering our own curriculum intentions). For example, our topic “Will you read me a story?” took lots of different directions from designing traps and wanted posters to catch the big Bad Wolf, designing a new home for the Three Little Pigs, to baking gingerbread men and then designing bridges, rafts and kites to help the gingerbread man to cross the river safely and then onto exploring floating and sinking.
Our team continually review and assess recent research and develop rationales which underpin our teaching strategies and enable us to continually develop our learning environment. This enquiry based approach to learning allows the children to play, explore and investigate and question and develop their own thoughts, ideas and responses.
At St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School we are always keen to be at the forefront of any changes in education and we are excited to be an ‘early adopter’ school before the statutory implementation in September 2021. Therefore our curriculum is designed to follow the EYFS Statutory Framework curriculum 2020 and is further guided by a document called ‘Development Matters’ that sets out the learning, development and assessment requirements for all children until the end of their reception year. All early years practitioners are required to pursue daily rich activities to support each child’s educational development across seven areas of learning. The EYFS framework has never prescribed a particular teaching approach and the new framework holds true to this value. Our philosophy of early year’s education remains the same with play and well-being at the heart of everything we do.
Early Learning Goals:
In the final term of the year, a profile will be completed for your child. This provides parents and carers, practitioners and teachers with a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their attainment against expected levels, and their readiness for year 1. Throughout their year in Reception, the children will be observed and assessed through their play in order to gain insights and make reasonable judgements against the early learning goals. We will use the terms ‘emerging’ or ‘expected’ to describe our judgements, under the new guidance the term ‘exceeding’ has been removed.
At St Patrick’s we follow the EYFS Early Adopter framework (2020). Within this framework there are four guiding principles which shape our practice. These are:
1. Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured.
2. Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
3. 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.
4. Children develop and learn at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
EYFS learning and development requirements
Our curriculum encompasses seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.
· Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships, and thriving. These are called the prime areas:
• communication and language
• physical development
• personal, social, and emotional development.
Four areas help children to strengthen and apply the prime areas. These are called the specific areas:
● understanding the world
• expressive arts and design
Throughout their time in the Reception Year our children participate in an ambitious curriculum which is designed in a sequential way to ensure progress towards the end of reception goals. These goals are defined as Early Learning Goals (ELGs). As previously outlined our curriculum incorporates learning through play, learning by adults modelling and scaffolding, by children observing each other and through guided learning and direct teaching. Play is far more important for children that many realise. It is actually the key to learning! Researchers and educators across the world have found that play can help enrich learning and develop skills such as inquiry, expression, experimentation and teamwork. It is also important to highlight that our plans are flexible to allow us to respond quickly to children’s new interests and/or needs.
Weaving throughout the EYFS curriculum at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary are three Characteristics of Effective Learning.
· Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
· Active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
· Creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
These elements underpin how we reflect on each child’s development and adjust our practice accordingly. Supporting children in their individual learning behaviour and observing the context of children’s play is essential.
We start teaching the programme in your child’s Reception year and then continue until they have worked their way through the whole reading scheme, usually this is during Years One or Two. We assess all children on the scheme every 6-8 weeks, to ensure that they are placed in the perfect group for their reading ability. This also allows us to quickly identify any children who need some support to access the learning at the level of the group. If this arises, we provide one-to-one tutoring for the child in accordance with the Read, Write, Inc scheme, to help them make rapid progress and once again be at the level of their group. Groups are taught by either teachers or LSAs who have had Read, Write, Inc phonics training; in utilising so many staff, we can ensure that groups are kept as small as possible and that the teaching the children receive is tailored to their needs.
Children begin by learning the Set 1 sounds in a specific order. They also begin learning to blend sounds together to make words after learning the first 5 sounds, firstly through practising oral blending. Then, when they can blend independently, they progress on to reading green words.
As soon as children can read green words, they begin to read stories in their Read, Write, Inc sessions. Each storybook is matched to the sounds they can already read, which sets them up for success and helps to build their confidence with reading. It is through these storybooks that we teach children red words, which are irregular words that are not phonetically plausible and cannot be sounded out (fred talked). Each storybook is taught in the same way, with children practising reading the green words in the story and also the red words, before they begin to read the book. Children will then read the book several times to help build their fluency and comprehension skills.
To expose your child to the idea of blending sounds together to make words, break down the words of the simple vocabulary you often use at home. For example, “please pass me that c - u - p”, “let’s sit on the r - u - g”. This will help your child to practise their oral blending as they can repeat the sounds back to you and then say the word.
Children need a rich vocabulary in order to develop high levels of comprehension. The more words your child has in their vocabulary, the more they will understand when they read. You could try using alternative words for things at home, rather than saying you are pleased that they have tidied their toys, you could say that you are delighted, ecstatic, overjoyed.
Reading with your child
Your child will bring home reading books to share with you:
a Book Bag Book which corresponds to the colour band they are on in Read, Write, Inc sessions
a story book linked to the RWI scheme.
a library book for enjoyment
Fred is a frog puppet we use in sessions. He can only speak in sounds.
sounding out a word, saying each of the sounds before blending
‘Pinching’ each sound from a word on your fingers to help spell a word
Irregular words that cannot be sounded out
Story Green words
decodable words that will be included in the storybook
Speedy green words
decodable words in the storybook that children should be able to read at speed rather than fred talking first.
Fred in your Head
still sounding out a word but doing so in your head rather than out loud, helps build fluency.
Two or three letters working together to make one sound e.g. sh, ch, igh, air, a-e, i-e.
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Ruth Miskin website, parents section- https://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents/