Early Years Curriculum Statement
Intent, Implementation and Impact at Fairfields in the EYFS
In Early Years at Fairfields we aim to provide a caring, nurturing, positive and happy learning environment which allows all children to develop to their full potential. We are fully inclusive, and all children are expected to think about the needs of others. We respect all families and aim to develop a positive two-way relationship with each one.
We value the individual child and all staff understand that each child is different, and that their learning requirements and styles are unique too. We aim to provide high quality adult interactions that enhance learning and development whilst following our children’s lead.
Our intention is to provide a happy, nurturing environment that promotes well-being which in turn leads to high levels of child development and the ability to create and think critically. We aim to provide our children with knowledge, skills and experiences in a hands-on, holistic way so that all learning is embedded in a meaningful context. We do this through a well-structured yet playful and flexible curriculum that engages and motivates our children. It covers all of the 7 areas of learning and supports the children’s learning characteristics. We follow children’s interests when appropriate and value their ideas.
Reading is integral to our curriculum in Early Years and we aim to instil a lifelong love of reading in our youngest children right from when they join us in Nursery. Our curriculum places books at the heart of learning and we carefully choose fiction, non-fiction and poetry to deepen knowledge, widen vocabulary and evoke responses in our early readers.
We want our children to be:
- Ready to learn: Have a positive, confident attitude to learning. They are both physically and emotionally ready to learn.
- Resourceful: Children show initiative, are independent, ask relevant questions and are prepared to use a variety of strategies to learn.
- Reflective: Children are curious, willing to take risks and learn from their mistakes. They can describe their progress.
- Resilient: Children are prepared to persevere and stay involved in their learning, even when the process is challenging.
- Reciprocal: Children are prepared to help each other and work as a team alongside children and adults.
In Early years at Fairfield’s, we have high expectations for all of our children and we aim to lay a secure foundation for future learning for each and every child. Our curriculum enables children to move into each phase of their learning with confidence. We want them to know more, understand more and remember more. We are responsive to our children’s needs and we identify any children at risk of falling behind early and intervene to accelerate their learning in every way that we can, giving them the best possible start to school life.
We engage children in learning from the very start and expect our children to leave our Early Years ready for school life and as happy, confident and skilful communicators who are curious about the world around them.
We work in partnership with parents and carers to encourage independent, curious and happy learners who thrive in school and can reach their full potential.
Many of our children will have already begun their journey through the Foundation Stage when they join us and we find out about and recognise their previous learning and the experiences they’ve had at home. We take time to visit families and find out about our children before they join us in Nursery and Reception because we know that good parental links are instrumental to success in the early years. We maintain good channels of communication with parents using the online tool ‘Tapestry’ and operate a friendly and welcoming open-door policy.
Our curriculum is rich in cultural capital and a carefully planned fun and playful learning experience which intertwines all seven areas of learning, both indoors and outdoors. The experiences we provide our children are exciting, ambitious, broaden their experiences of the world around them and are designed in a sequential way to ensure progress towards the end of reception goals (ELG’s) with the aim of preparing our children to seamlessly progress into KS1. We understand that children’s early learning is the root of their future success and have considered carefully how to best prepare them for when they leave the Foundation Stage.
Our children’s physical and mental wellbeing is important to us and we teach them important self-regulation techniques and how to make and build positive relationships right from when they join us Nursey. In Reception we hold a weekly Jigsaw PSHE circle time in which we develop our children’s emotional Literacy, encourage mindfulness and provide a quiet time to talk. We want our children to be tolerant of others and understand the need for kindness, empathy and respect. This is threaded throughout our daily teaching and alongside this our children learn about different religions, cultures and places of worship.
We have a weekly PE session with our very own PE teacher and practice fundamental gross motor skills of movement, co-ordination and balance which feeds into our fine motor skill development. All of our children learn to dress and undress themselves in PE kit ready to participate in the session too. Oral hygiene is promoted right from Nursery and our children know how to make healthy choices to stay happy.
Imagination and creativity are plentiful in our early Years and alongside their own original masterpieces we teach the children about famous artists like Van Gogh, Andy Warhol and Andy Goldsworthy. We foster a love of music and our children know and can say traditional Nursery Rhymes.
We focus on the past and present through learning about our life stories and talk about significant events from history like Remembrance Day and significant historical figures like Florence Nightingale and Guy Fawkes. We observe and talk about things from the past like modes of transport, clothing, seaside holidays and compare to what they are like now.
Our children develop early geographical skills like learning to follow a map and drawing their own, alongside investigating the natural world around us. Our curriculum develops early scientific skills of enquiry and provides exciting opportunities for scientific investigation.
Technology is interwoven through our curriculum right from Nursery as we teach our children how to use and understand everyday devices like iPads, cameras and computers. This equips them for the modern world in which we live.
Our plans are flexible to allow us to respond quickly to children’s new interests and/or needs. We also have our own set of Fairfields Goals that we value and work towards as we prepare our children for each next step of their learning.
Importance is placed on talk and opportunities for discussion and conversation are plentiful. ‘Chatter matters’ in our Early Years and every child has the support they need to flourish. Our curriculum is language rich with stories, non-fiction, poetry and Nursery Rhymes at its heart. We use the WellComm programme as an intervention to support any child that we feel may need a boost in their communication and language skills.
We enable our children to revisit knowledge and build upon experiences; assisting them to learn and remember more. We believe repetition is the key to development.
Our approach at Fairfields is influenced by knowledge of child development, how young children learn and how adults can support their learning. We follow the New EYFS framework (2020). Within this framework there are four guiding principles which shape our practice.
- Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured.
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
- 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.
- 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).
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
Threaded throughout the EYFS curriculum at Fairfields are the Characteristics of Effective Learning. These elements underpin how we reflect on each child’s development and adjust our practice accordingly.
- 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.
We quickly establish daily routines which support our children to settle into our Nursery and Reception classes as we want our children to feel happy, secure and safe. We celebrate diversity and support the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Those children with particular needs including SEND are supported appropriately allowing them to be successful. Our children have the confidence and skills to make decisions and self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners. We promote the use of visual timetables for all children so they know what to expect and how to behave at each point of their day.
Please see the structure of our Reception day below.
Busy Fingers, Group reading and a warm welcome!
9.30am – 9.45am
Literacy Shared Input
9.45am - 10.15am
Adult Led focus groups
Continuous Provision (CIL)
Snack bar opens
11.15am – 11.45am
11.45am -12 noon
12 – 1pm
1pm – 1.15pm
Group Reading and Busy Fingers
1.15pm – 1.30pm
Maths Shared Input
1.30pm – 1.45pm
Adult Led focus groups
2pm – 3pm
Continuous Provision (CIL)
Snack bar opens
Story, Nursery Rhymes and singing time
Our timetables in Nursery and Reception allow for uninterrupted periods of continuous provision that allow the children time to reach a deep level of involvement as they engage, play, investigate and talk. We promote independence and have snack bars that are accessible by the children themselves throughout the day.
Our provision is underpinned by an effective balance of adult-initiated and child led learning. We are use a continuous cycle of observation and assessment, planning/teaching, alongside structured and systematic lessons and guided group work.
Short focused groups are planned for writing, reading, phonics and maths and immediately follow a shared input. These sessions are planned with care, meeting the needs of all children, using prior knowledge of the child’s learning experiences and guidance from the EYFS document ‘Development Matters’, 2021 alongside the ‘Little Wandle’ phonics programme.
The importance of each adult to support progression is crucial, however we also understand that in times when a child is on their own independent learning journey the environment plays a significant role in development.
Continuous Provision (CIL): At Fairfields we place importance on the role of the adult, particularly during continuous provision.
Indoor and outdoor resources are organised to develop children’s skills in personal interaction and exploration. Resources are carefully selected to meet the development needs of the children in order to enhance potential for new learning and consolidate prior learning. Resources are dressed/displayed to reflect children’s interests – discover, experiment and explore are key themes.
Continuous provision incorporates all areas of learning and provides children with the opportunity to demonstrate characteristics of effective learning. Children are given the freedom to make independent choices and are encouraged to be active learners and take control of their own learning.
We use resources that are open ended encourage creativity, imagination and high order thinking skills. For example, the creative areas may contain ribbon, lace, pinecones or lolly sticks. Outside role play has access to lose parts, logs, planks, sheets and tyres. These resources can become anything and have unlimited potential.
Observation and responding to children’s thinking inform our planning of experiences and opportunities, how we create our environment for thinking, the strategies the adults use to extend learning (modelling, scaffolding, questioning, discussion, shared sustained thinking) and how we capitalise knowledge of children’s interests to ensure high levels of engagement.
All adults record ‘Wow!’ moments – when a child does or says something that demonstrates progress or skill in a particular area. Wow moments are also welcomed and celebrated from home. We use an online Learning Journal called Tapestry to help us record these key achievements and create a compilation of special moments and early drawings for our children to take home to their families when they leave our Foundation Stage and treasure forever.
Our curriculum allows children at Fairfields to display high levels of concentration, creativity, energy and persistence. Our children learn about risks and safety, how to make good choices and gain an understanding of boundaries.
Reading and Phonics in EYFS at Fairfields
Reading is an integral part of our Early Years at Fairfields and in Reception children are read to at least 3 times a day at school in addition to books provided for home reading. We place great importance on the daily teaching of phonics, alongside fostering a lifelong love of reading. Lessons are planned to enrich vocabulary, evoke responses and deepen knowledge through stories, non-fiction and poetry, incidental opportunities are exploited and vocabulary is discussed with the intention of building background knowledge so pupils can comprehend the content of a text.
In Early Years at Fairfields children are encouraged to read at home every day. All children in our Early Years visit the library once a week and choose books to take home and share with their family. These visits are popular and as soon as the children join us, they are introduced to our school Library. In our Nursery, daily story times are integral to the routine and our children enjoy learning traditional Nursery Rhymes and favourite songs. We have daily Phase 1 phonic sessions for all children in Nursery. Both Nursery and Reception classes also have their own ‘Little Library’ and reading corners.
Phonics: Systematic synthetic phonics is taught using ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds.’ Whole class or small group teaching takes place daily. Phase 1 ‘Foundations for Phonics’ is taught in Nursery and continuously throughout EYFS. Each phonics session is 15-20 minutes in duration and follows a teaching sequence which is implemented throughout the school ensuring transition to Key Stage 1 is seamless.
Guided Reading: Short group reading sessions takes place daily in Reception and texts are carefully chosen by staff to develop important reading skills of decoding, fluency, comprehension and reading for pleasure.
Individual Reading Encouraging a lifelong love for reading is part of our school vision to create learners for life. All children have their own individual reading books which are phonetically decodable. They also have ‘read with me’ books and a library book. All children in Reception are heard read individually during the week and we change books as often as possible.
Storytimes: Carefully chosen books are shared as a whole class daily in story times and this is something our children really look forward to. Through experiencing a variety of texts, fiction and non - fiction, our children will become aware of the range of strategies required when reading for different purposes. We include Pie Corbett’s ‘Reading Spine’ core texts in our daily story times and re-read our favourites over and over again!
We use ‘White Rose Maths’ across both Nursery and Reception to develop our children’s confidence and ability with number but also to encourage their understanding of shapes, space and measures. Our curriculum provides opportunities for children to do this in a range of ways including adding and subtracting, using quantities and objects and understanding concepts like weight, position, distance and time. Our maths teaching and learning is carefully planned and sequenced to allow success in achieving the Number and Number Patterns ELG and is based on the NCETM principals of maths mastery. The Number Blocks join us on our mathematical journey and help our children learn and remember more in a playful, fun and exciting way.
We have a daily maths session in which we teach key concepts in a practical and hands on way and then provide opportunities for skills taught to be applied during our continuous provision. Sustained shared thinking allows children to be supported to use their mathematical skills and knowledge to solve problems, take different approaches and discuss various strategies in their play both indoors and outdoors.
Children’s progress in our Early Years is monitored closely from the moment they start and their unique journey is closely tracked using ‘Easy Tracker’ allowing appropriate support and challenge to be put in place. We react quickly to children at risk of falling behind and intervene to accelerate their learning. Our assessments are integral to our effective teaching and learning. We use both summative and formative assessments in conjunction with each other. Consequently, GLD in our Early years is consistently in line with National Average or above.
Self-esteem blossoms in our Early Years, children are happy, confident and have a sense of belonging, a positive disposition to learning and are well equipped with a broad range of knowledge and skills to begin the next chapter of their educational journey.
We lay the right foundations for future success in school and life and see strong characters emerge who are able to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world both.
Families are welcomed into our school community and important working partnerships are formed that last the duration of their time at Fairfields.