St Mary’s R.C Primary School
St Mary’s Early Years staff are committed to ensuring that the best provision, resources and learning opportunities are available to the children in their care.
Our intention is to ensure that the 4 key principles underpin our practice in the EYFS at St Mary’s RC Primary School:
- A Unique Child
- Positive Relationships
- Enabling Environments
- Learning and Development
Our Early Years’ Curriculum is broad, balanced and ambitious, with first hand real- life experiences that are planned and designed to provide all children with the opportunities and experiences that they need in order to develop positive dispositions and attitudes. Children’s interests and opinions are sought and possible lines of development are explored to ensure that children are motivated to learn, and the best possible, ambitious learning outcomes are achieved. The topics and experiences are cross-curricular which engage the children and provide a strong foundation for future learning and an in-depth knowledge of a variety of subjects.
Parents are supported to ensure their role in the children’s learning, progress and development is valued and they are recognised as their child’s first-educators.
All staff share the same commitment to high expectations within the setting, fostering excellent attitudes to learning by providing effective and timely adult interactions to ensure that learning is instantly captured and enhanced.
Our focus on PSED and an ethos of respect, kindness and friendship is woven into our daily life enabling children to feel safe and secure quickly and be ready to access learning
We aim to provide children with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to succeed as they transition from Early Years to Key Stage 1.
Our Underpinning Curriculum
The characteristics of effective teaching and learning underpin our entire approach:
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.
The content of our curriculum is drawn from:
- The statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation stage and Development Matters Guidance
- RWI Phonics scheme
- Power of Reading
- White Rose scheme/ NCETM/ Numberblocks- Maths
- Come and See Religious Education scheme (which focuses on the key messages of the Catholic faith recognising how special and unique we are as individuals and we should celebrate differences and different kinds of families)
- Caritas in Action (themes provides children with opportunities to discuss and learn about relationships, personal health, wellbeing, safety, including anti-bullying work, differences and aspirations)
Our teaching is a balance of adult-led sessions, where new skills and knowledge are taught and modelled, along with extended periods of child-initiated play within an enabling environment (indoors and outdoors) where children can practice these skills and further embed their learning and develop their knowledge and understanding.
A consistent behaviour policy is promoted and adhered to.
Our well established routines, for example: calculating how many children are present and absent, days of the week song etc., allow the children to revisit previous learning on a daily basis which supports them to commit this knowledge to long-term memory.
Our Long Term Curriculum Map is made up of a broad range of topics which offer exciting opportunities to the children. Our initial topics are heavily based around the children and getting to know them. By starting from where the children are we are able to find out about the unique child, their interests, their families and their viewpoints.
Some of our chosen topics will be revisited as the children continue their journey through Key Stage 1, building firm foundations in knowledge that can be embedded. We also provide new and exciting opportunities which foster the children’s fascinations, curiosity and love of learning.
The natural rhythm of the year, seasons, festivals, celebrations and key events, is interwoven in our learning through topics, activities, observations, stories, art etc.
Interests of the children are considered and help to shape our planning and delivery, for example, dinosaurs, space etc.
Ongoing observations and assessments (formative assessment) are used to inform weekly planning, in the moment planning and to identify children’s next steps. All staff work very closely with the children, co-playing with them and providing skilful adult interactions which move children on in their learning. Practitioners draw on their knowledge of the child and their own expert professional judgements to ensure the provision in all areas is effective for allowing all children to make progress. We look for children’s application of taught learning in continuous provision and the characteristics of effective learning, to demonstrate that learning is embedded in long term memory.
Parents are kept up-to-date with their child’s progress and development and given help to enable them to support their child.
RBA and EYFS profile are completed as appropriate. Quality assessments and interventions such as Neli and Wellcomm are used to identify those in need of further support.
All information is shared with Year 1 staff to ensure that children’s needs are met and they are supported to achieve, as they move into Year 1.
A focus on safeguarding all children and identifying children who are vulnerable or at risk of delay and who require additional intervention and support ensures that progress is made by all.
How does St. Mary’s curriculum meet the needs of the children at our school?
The teachings of Jesus are central to every aspect of our learning, so we:
- Demarcate our day with prayer, with times set aside to pray each morning, before and after lunch, and home time.
- Ensure that the teachings of Jesus permeate all our teaching and learning.
- Ensure our altars are a focal point in our classrooms and are changed each liturgical season to support our learning and prayer.
- Must nurture their physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing by recognising and developing their God-given talents to their full potential.
- Value the unique nature of every child by teaching them to respect and care for the wonder that is them! Teaching the importance of keeping our minds and bodies healthy. (E.g. healthy diet, exercise, yoga and mindfulness etc.).
Key life skills for learning
Provide a curriculum that will equip children with the values, skills and attributes needed to be independent thinkers and courageous learners, so we:
- Provide children with opportunities to rehearse, apply and master our core learning behaviours, being able to focus, co-operate, reflect, work independently, be inventive, show resilience, self-belief and curiosity.
- Understand that skills and concepts can be used in all other areas of the curriculum.
- Allow children to further develop a growth mindset and understand improvement is something that can be acquired through hard work & effort.
Pupil Premium Grant:
Have expectations that all children will achieve highly:
- Have expectations that all children will achieve at a level that is appropriate for them.
- Ensure that staff are all aware of children in receipt of PPG and support through interventions and pre-teaching.
- Remove the barriers for children allowing them all to take part in all planned activities and challenges (resources, cost etc.)
- Set home learning challenges that are based on the learning that has taken place in school.
- Ensure that all parents are given the help they need to support their child e.g. through meetings, dojo posts, website information etc.
Opportunities to embrace cultural capital is part of our school ethos, so we:
- Take advantage of the places there are to visit in the local area e.g. post box, church, parks, canal etc. and the opportunity to have visitors e.g. parents, pet owners, health workers, musicians, emergency service workers etc.
- Ensure our lessons help to develop pupils’ thinking and decision-making skills as this will help them live their lives as knowledgeable citizens, aware of their own local communities in a global setting.
- Celebrate and embrace different backgrounds, including those of children in EYFS. Focus on language, traditions, and cultural heritage (art, music, dance etc.) through our chosen topics and daily learning. I.e. teaching about Chinese New Year and Diwali.
- Ensure we teach about heroes and role models in the sporting, art, religious, literary world etc.
- Embrace the great outdoors through our Forest School site, our EYFS outdoors area.
The most common barriers to success for children entering St Mary’s are: -
- Underdeveloped spoken language skills, including a restricted vocabulary
- A lack of experience of children’s literature (stories, poetry and rhymes, non-fiction)
- A lack of knowledge and experience of the wider world
By achieving our vision/ intent, we will address these barriers. Our children will develop a wide vocabulary and enjoy a wide variety of high-quality literature. Through access to a broad and engaging curriculum, our children will develop an excellent foundation of knowledge of the wider world which means they will leave the EYFS with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey as scientists, historians, geographers and artists as they move into Key Stage 1.
Children leave Early Years, capable of managing their own feelings and behaviour and understand how these have an impact on others. As a result of the creative, stimulating environment we provide, by the end of the Foundation Stage, children flourish and develop into confident, motivated and independent learners ready for the next stage of their education.