In Early Years at Milton Mount Primary School, learning starts with children’s own experience and interests, as this promotes ownership of, and motivation in, learning. We strongly believe that creativity in our curriculum is essential. It has the ability to enthrall, can be the hook to fire imaginations, and drives motivation. It is what gives our curriculum excitement and makes learning irresistible.
We believe it is our responsibility to empower individuals to have high aspirations no matter their starting points. There are plenty of opportunities to realise these ambitions and we embrace the wider aspects of children’s learning, their backgrounds, their home life, their families and the varied experiences they bring, to fully understand the individuals we are educating. Only then can we be supportive, ambitious and ultimately successful. We believe that the children and parent’s first experiences of school should be happy and positive, enabling the children to develop a lifelong love of learning. We want to work in partnership with parents and carers to encourage independent, happy learners who thrive in school and reach their full potential from their various starting points.
It is our intention that:
- All children have access to an ambitious, broad and balanced curriculum, which has been personalised to our own context. The curriculum is flexible, play based and builds on the children’s interests and fascinations. We aim to develop and foster the characteristics of effective learning in every child, through our carefully planned curriculum.
- All children are taught skills and knowledge that have been planned across both EYFS and KS1, offering solid foundations for learning as they move through the school.
- We provide the children with a learning environment which is fully inclusive and inspiring, offering a wealth of new and first hand experiences, in both the outdoor and indoor spaces. High quality interactions with familiar adults, support the development of communication and language and oracy skills as these are fundamental to children’s life chances. Adults provide excellent role models for high quality talk and children enjoy interacting with adults, with whom they have built strong, positive relationships.
- Learning experiences support children to build on their natural curiosity and allow them to feel confident to take risks. Children understand that we learn from our mistakes and show more perseverance and resilience when trying to solve a problem.
- Children are supported to develop their own sense of well-being and their ability to regulate their emotions, so that they are equipped with the tools they need to be effective learners.
- All staff work closely with the parents to ensure that we promote the best outcomes for the children.
- Individuality and diversity is celebrated. We plan to develop every child’s cultural capital through teaching them about the different cultures, languages and traditions which the children and their families bring to our school.
- All staff are aware of the individual needs of the disadvantaged and SEND children across the year group, so that they can be fully supported to keep up with their peers and any gaps in learning can be narrowed by the time the children move to Year One.
- The skills and expertise of staff working in EYFS are developed and improved, through regular professional development.
- By the end of the Reception year, we strive to ensure that all children make good progress from their starting points and are equipped with the skills and knowledge to have a smooth transition into Year 1.
- Each half term/term, the children are introduced to a new topic, which is designed to provide inspiration for their learning, whilst also providing the flexibility for them to follow their own interests and ideas. Exciting ‘hooks’ are planned to immediately engage the children in new learning taking place.
- Children learn by playing and exploring, being active and thinking critically and creatively and we offer them plenty of opportunities to develop these key skills. Children are taught through a balance of child-led and adult-led activities and the timetable is structured, so that children have at least three directed teaching sessions every day, whilst ensuring they have long periods of child- led learning time so they can become fully immersed in their play.
- Children learn through adult-led group sessions for reading, writing and maths, and this allows the teacher to check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide immediate verbal feedback, which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
- Previous learning is continually revisited and built upon, and retrieval strategies are used to help the children to embed and deepen their knowledge, and make progress in their learning by knowing more and remembering more.
- Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the day, and are offered a variety of carefully planned experiences, to engage and challenge them in the provision. We aim to provide children with opportunities that many of them may not have experienced before. We have a list of 50 things that we want all children to have experienced by the end of the year.
- The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas.
- The environment is constantly reviewed and adapted, so that the children are consistently building on prior knowledge, and making progress with their learning. Resources are carefully chosen to ensure progression and to meet all of the children’s individual needs.
- The Prime Areas are given the highest priority in the Autumn term, to lay the foundations for children’s success in all other areas of the learning, as we move through the year.
Communication and Language
- Initial assessments and speech screening in the autumn term for every child, allow us to identify any specific needs the children may have. We plan and deliver early intervention using NELI, so that all children, including the most disadvantaged and those with SEND can be successful in their learning journey.
- Our Oracy framework equips children to learn physical, linguistic, cognitive, social, and emotional skills, so they gain the tools to be confident and effective communicators.
- We place high importance on creating and developing a language rich environment, where children’s language is developed through high quality interactions with adults, through exposure to new and exciting vocabulary, through opportunities to play different roles, and through retelling familiar stories, songs and rhymes.
- We highlight new vocabulary through our ‘word collection’ which follows into Key Stage 1
- We develop story language through Helicopter stories
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- PSED is taught through our weekly circle times as well as in the moment. We teach key knowledge such as how to stay healthy, stranger danger and celebrating diversity in the world.
- We place high importance on developing positive relationships with the children, and for them to develop positive relationships with each other. The children are taught key skills such as turn taking, and co-operative play, through all areas of learning, and when conflicts arise, we help the children to verbalise why they are upset. We teach the children specific language to help solve problems independently.
- We believe in developing a growth mindset in our children, and support them to develop resilience, by encouraging them to keep trying, and not give up! We celebrate mistakes and teach the children that they learn from them.
- We use The Colour Monster as an introduction to the ‘Zones of Regulation’ to teach the children to identify their emotions and give them strategies to use to learn to self-regulate.
- We have a large outside area, where we promote physical development, through the use of a wide variety of equipment, such as the bikes and scooters, the climbing frame and the use of brooms and brushes to develop core muscles. We use our play trail regularly, to improve balance and co-ordination skills. We have weekly dough disco sessions to improve fine motor development, and start PE sessions in the Spring term where we teach specific skills.
- Opportunities to develop fine motor skills are always present in the provision, with playdough, fine motor activities and woodwork, where the children’s hand muscles are strengthened through the manipulation of the playdough. We track the children’s pencil grip development and support the children to hold a pencil and to use it efficiently, when they are ready to do so.
- All of our staff are trained to deliver ‘Song of Sounds’ programme to teach phonics. This systematic, active approach gives the children a secure foundation on which to build future learning and allows all children to have a broad knowledge of sounds from the start of Reception. All children are regularly assessed to ensure rapid rates of progress.
- Children needing further support to ‘keep up’ with phonics are targeted across the week based on their needs.
Reading and Writing
- Reading is given high priority and the children read regularly with both the teachers and the teaching assistants. The books that they read in school and those that are sent home, match their phonic knowledge, so that they can apply their learning, with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers.
- We want to develop a real love of reading with our children, and recognise the importance of story time to promote this. We read stories daily and plan in sessions where stories are told and brought alive through a variety of different strategies, including helicopter stories, and role play.
- We offer writing opportunities throughout our learning environment. As well as being taught the mechanics of writing through adult led writing sessions, we promote writing within our continuous provision through exciting hooks. Children are encouraged to write about their own interests, and from their own first-hand experiences.
- In Reception, we follow the White Rose Maths Scheme of work and the children are taught through whole class inputs and adult led sessions. This scheme promotes the teaching of a broad and balanced curriculum, where the importance of understanding number is valued, alongside teaching about shapes, measures and patterns.
- We recognise the importance of using and applying mathematical skills. Every day, we teach a short session, where we practise specific mathematical skills, revisit previous learning and address misconceptions.
- We start every day by looking at the number of children we have in school and what that amount looks like on a tens frame, in a numeral and with numicon. We also expose children to larger numbers with our 100 days of school countdown.
- Opportunities to explore and develop mathematical concepts are always offered in our continuous provision, and our high-quality learning environment and meaningful interactions with adults, support children in developing mathematical thinking and discussion. The children learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives and pictorial structures and representations which are practised, applied and recorded within their own child-led exploration.
- Our wider curriculum is taught through the learning areas; ‘Understanding the World’ and ‘Expressive Arts and Design.’ EYFS teachers have a good understanding of how the Early Learning Goals feed into the National Curriculum and in reverse, subject leaders throughout the school are also aware of the key Early Learning Goals that link to each foundation subject and the progression of the subject.
- Exciting, purposeful and contextual activities are planned to build on children’s natural curiosity and we encourage the children to think like a ‘scientist’ when exploring how plants grow, or like an ‘artist’ when painting in the style of Kandinsky. Opportunities to explore and create are always available in our continuous provision.
- Every child is taught in our Forest School for 2 half terms a year. In Forest School, the children develop personal, social and emotional skills, as well as being given the opportunity to explore the natural world first hand
- Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together, but we have a range of additional support for children that need it. This includes, for example, sessions for developing listening and attention skills, social skills, fine motor skills, phonics, handwriting and mathematics. All of these are planned carefully and are flexible.
- In addition, we run the NELI programme for those children needing support to develop their language and communication skills.
Partnership with Parents/Carers
- We know the importance of strong parental partnerships and every effort is made to develop positive relationships with the parents and carers.
- In order to empower parents and carers to support their child’s learning at home, we send weekly newsletters inform parents of upcoming learning and tips and ideas to support at home.
- We invite parents to curriculum evenings to share how we teach different concepts in school, we communicate regularly through our online platform, Dojo and we ask parents to complete WOW slips to celebrate the children’s achievements at home.
We strive to ensure that our children’s progress across the EYFS curriculum is good from their varied starting points. We also strive for children to reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception and to be at least in line with National Expectations.
All adults in the setting have excellent knowledge of the children and can talk about their developmental needs, their abilities and their interests. We focus on quality rather than quantity when observing and assessing children, and only record wow moments, and things we feel are new and necessary. This is because we value our time with the children and if we’re partners in play, we will be able to talk about and understand the children’s needs. Children feel that adults enjoy their company and value the time spent with them.
The impact of our curriculum is measured by assessment procedures which allow us to measure outcomes against all schools nationally. We measure the percentage of pupils achieving age related expectations throughout the academic year, and put supportive interventions in place if and when needed. Class teachers use observations to make formative assessments which inform future planning and ensure that all children build on their current knowledge and skills at a good pace. Summative assessment compares children attainment to age related expectations. This is tracked using Target Tracker to ensure rates of progress are at least good for all children, including vulnerable groups such as those with SEND, disadvantaged or summer born children. Children with SEN are tracked closely and we use Development Matters alongside external guidance to help us monitor their needs and put strategies in place to support them. Our assessment judgements have been moderated both in school and externally with local schools and others in our trust. We also partake in local authority moderation which has validated our school judgements.