At Chadsmead Primary Academy we believe that all children deserve an education rich in wonder and memorable experiences that allows children's natural creativity and curiosity to flourish, alongside the purposeful acquisition of skills and knowledge. We believe that an education that does all of this gives children the best chance to become well-rounded, happy individuals, ready to succeed in an ever-changing world.
We aim to provide a secure, enjoyable and caring educational environment where each and every child feels valued. We work hard to create continuity between our thriving Nursery and Reception Classes so that children can build on skills already developed and follow routines that flow with their needs and with which they feel safe and confident throughout their Early Years, in preparation for their future years in school.
At Chadsmead Primary Academy we recognise the importance of giving our children the best possible start to their education by planning and implementing teaching and learning opportunities that supports them in reaching their full potential. We know that our children enter the Nursery and Reception classes with varied life experiences and we aim to plan teaching and learning opportunities accordingly to address this.
The Development Matters document along with the Foundation Stage Early Learning Goals set out end of reception year expectations for children by the end of the Foundation Stage. Chadsmead Primary Academy recognises the crucial role that Early Year’s education has to play in providing firm foundations upon which the rest of a child’s education is successfully based.
At Chadsmead we encourage our children to demonstrate the Characteristics of Effective Teaching & Learning by:
• 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 to develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
We aim to ensure that both indoor and outdoor learning environments are always stimulating, safe, active and exciting and that, importantly, they are accessible to all children, regardless of where they are on their learning journey. The environments are developed to promote independence within our children and allow them to access the curriculum independently and confidently with the necessary level of support and challenge. This will enable them to develop the skills, attitudes and understanding that will form the basis of lifelong learning and encourage them to become useful, active members of a diverse and constantly changing society.
Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. Our outdoor areas are used all year round and in most weather conditions. We support children to explore the world around them, looking closely at the changes in the seasons and the environment around them. The children have the opportunity to attend a weekly Forest session where they continue to develop their natural curiosity and love for learning outdoors.
Our curriculum is designed to recognise their prior learning by providing first hand learning experiences and allowing the children to develop interpersonal skills, build resilience and become creative, critical thinkers to enable them to challenge themselves. We provide WOW experiences at the start of each theme designed to engage and interest the children, including a linked text in Literacy.
The EYFS framework includes 7 areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected. However, 3 areas known as the prime areas are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
The prime areas are:
Communication and language
Personal, social and emotional development
The prime areas are strengthened and applied through 4 specific areas:
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design
Staff plan activities and experiences for children that enable them to develop and learn effectively. We tailor activities to spark imagination and create opportunities on which to build knowledge and extend vocabulary to support children’s early skills and helping them to meet their next steps. In order to do this, practitioners working with the youngest children, focus strongly on the 3 prime areas. Planning is informed by observations and target children are identified. These children then become the focus of set observations.
Staff also take into account the individual needs, interests, and stage of development for each child in their care, and use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience. Where a child may have a special educational need or disability, staff consider whether specialist support is required, linking with relevant services from other agencies, where appropriate.
Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play, and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Practitioners respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction. Across the week, there is a balance of adult led and child initiated activities to ensure that all children experience a curriculum that is personal, challenging and engaging.
We recognise that children learn and develop well when there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers. Parents and/or carers are kept up to date with their child’s progress and development. The EYFS profile helps to provide parents and/or carers with a well-rounded picture of their child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities.
Early Year’s children are assigned a key person who helps to ensure that their learning and care is tailored to meet their needs. The key person supports parents and/or carers in guiding their child’s development at home.
At Chadsmead ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development processes. Staff observe pupils to identify their level of achievement, interests and learning styles. These observations are used to shape future planning. Practitioners also take into account observations shared by parents and/or carers using 'Wow Moments'.
We use a paper based learning journals to record assessments which is also shared by parents.
At the end of the EYFS, staff complete the EYFS profile for each child. Pupils are assessed against the 17 early learning goals, indicating whether they are:
- Not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’)
- Meeting expected levels of development
The profile reflects ongoing observations and discussions with parents and/or carers. The results of the profile are then shared with parents and/or carers.