Curriculum Information and Year Group Topics
A child’s journey through our foundation unit, endeavours to prepare them to become successful learners for the rest of their primary education. The majority of our children enter our school at low starting points and often have challenging external circumstances. We have identified that holding the prime areas of personal and social development and communication language and literacy at the heart of our EYFS curriculum, are keys to unlocking children’s full potential, making the rest of the curriculum accessible and achievable. We also view these elements as a priority as we believe they are fundamental to their success as learners but also, as happy, emotionally literate citizens of the wider community. Children are encouraged to strive and be the best that they can be through tight development of the characteristics of effective learning.
Our curriculum is centralised around a series of purposely chosen topics, key questions, a core story and key vocabulary. It has been a conscious choice to repeat the topics each year, so that the concepts, vocabulary and knowledge set out in the plans becomes secure and embedded. In F0 and F1 the children will be explore and experience the curriculum, building the foundations for the next phase in their learning. Whilst in F2 we take the content deeper and we advance and master the identified vocabulary.
We believe that children learn best through hands on approaches, with regular opportunities for varied repetition to ensure learning is embedded and transferred to long term memory. We want children access a broad and balanced curriculum and have therefore planned in opportunities to learn and develop their skills and knowledge in all 17 aspects across the varying topics.
Our Maths and Literacy sessions are carefully constructed to ensure that all practitioners are clear on the progressive steps that children need to take to fulfil their potential. Teachers use these progression plans to craft adult led sessions that make learning real, understandable and memorable.
To ensure that all children access opportunities for high quality teaching and learning during their self-directed play and exploration we identify focus children each week who are targeted for their next steps in learning. Where possible, pupil premium children and children of concern are identified as a focus child more frequently, to increase progress and to close the gap.
The curriculum is designed in an engaging and explorative way through traditional tales and core stories linked to specific topics, taking account of children’s early brain development and the most effective approaches to early years pedagogy. Children will experience and explore 15 carefully considered stories each year with the first two weeks of each year being focussed on be the best you can be and being a good friend. The other 14 selected topics include home, farms, autumn, woodlands, winter, celebrations, space, animals around the world, insects, spring, growing, under the sea, transport, summer. These topics have been chosen to develop knowledge and understanding of a range of subjects; to provide children with a good range of vocabulary to enable them to express themselves effectively and to enable them to access the next stage in their school journey.
Each topic has key questions that we explore with the children. These key questions have been selected to develop the children’s personal and social development, knowledge of the world, knowledge of technology and their awareness of people and communities.
The core stories are pitched at an age appropriate content and difficulty level. These stories are used in teaching and read repetitively so that children have memorable knowledge of quality stories. Although these stories are core to our curriculum children are immersed in a wider range of books and stories through weekly library visits, daily stories, author visits, character visits and dress up days.
Each topic has a list of vocabulary that is to be taught to children in F0 and F1 children will explore and experience this vocabulary, whilst in F2 they will advance and master their knowledge by being able to use the vocabulary themselves in the correct context.
Key skills from the wider curriculum have been planned into the curriculum overview to ensure that children access the breadth of the curriculum and develop their skills across all aspects.
We believe in ensuring a balance of adult and child led activities. Children access 4 larger group activities (carpet times) each day. These are used to teach carefully crafted skills and knowledge linked to Maths, Phonics and Literacy, plus one session for an aspect that links to the topic. In F0 and F1, children ‘mark make’ daily and are immersed in stories and rhymes. In F2, Children write and read at some point everyday and are also immersed in stories and rhymes. In F1 the majority of adult time will be supporting and developing children’s play, however, on occasions children will access speaking and listening groups or small focussed activities. In F2, the teacher will regularly organise adult lead small group activities, but also, will ensure that adults are regularly in play.
Our environment is key to the children’s development. It is set up to support children’s interactions, opportunities for talk, investigation and exploration. We encourage independence and the development of characteristics of effective learning through access to the provision. Adults model how to use the areas effectively and use sustained shared thinking to extend children’s learning.
Children’s speech and language development is regularly screened and teachers are supported by a Speech and language specialist, should a child require additional support. Once a language requirement has been identified, with the advice of the specialist, children access one of the following language interventions: An individualised programme, playclever, early talk boost or reception talk boost. Children make good progress in their language acquisition which enables other areas of the curriculum more accessible.
Focussed on the needs of our pupils ensures that children are well prepared for the next step in their learning. Learning is consolidated and mastered over a 2-3 year period which increases children’s independence and range of vocabulary. The impact of encouraging children to be independent, enthusiastic learners who are encouraged to question and explore during play and promote positive learning habits.
The majority of children usually achieve at or above the expected level at the end of EYFS and cohort data usually sits above national attainment. Our children who are PP or PPP achieve in line with their peers, due to child centred learning and our SEN children are quickly identified and provided with support to make sure that they achieve their full potential.
Children leave with vast experience of the prime areas of learning, with the confidence, independence, self-esteem and skills to enable them to be successful in Y1. Language and communication gaps are always identified, and systems will have been put in place, narrowing the gap.
Children leave the EYFS with increased cultural capital in a wide range of topics and experiences that can built upon in their future education.