The early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of your child from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes. We are firm believers that ‘No job is more important than working with children in the early years.’ (Development Matters, 2021).
The EYFS is about how children learn, as well as what they learn. Children need opportunities to develop their own play and independent exploration. This is enjoyable and motivating. They also need adults to ‘scaffold’ their learning by giving them just enough help to achieve something they could not do independently. Helping children to think, discuss and plan ahead is important, like gathering the materials they need to make a den before they start building. These are ways of helping children to develop the characteristics of effective learning.
Children learn and develop more from birth to five years old than at any other time in their lives. If children are at risk of falling behind the majority, the best time to help them to catch up and keep up is in the early years. Every child can make progress, if they are given the right support. When we give every child the best start in their early years, we give them what they need today. We also set them up with every chance of success tomorrow.
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Our approach is underpinned by providing the children with developmentally appropriate opportunities for learning through an ambitious curriculum. When the children start with us, we spend lots of time getting to know them and their abilities, interests and characteristics of learning. We use this knowledge of the whole child to carefully pitch learning to ensure each child individually makes progress and succeeds.
Our structure of the day reflects the children’s needs. We balance the ratio of adult-directed and child-led learning and, very importantly, consider the needs of the children as the year progresses – moving from between our Nurseries, Nursery to Reception and Reception to Year One. We put the children at the heart of our curriculum. We plan from their interests and interweave this alongside what they need to learn and develop in their knowledge and skills. We plan for all areas of the curriculum in a holistic way and lots of the children’s activities will be supporting many areas of learning and development at the same time.
In our indoor learning environments, we focus on providing the children with real-life, purposeful experiences. In our outdoor learning areas, we encourage the children to take risks in a supportive atmosphere, to challenge themselves and to experience the awe and wonder of the natural world. All of this ensures that our children leave our EYFS with a love for learning and they have developed the knowledge which has been built up and rehearsed over time to be confident and independent learners, ready to tackle Year One.
We strongly believe that it is important for us to have strong and respectful partnerships with our parents. This helps to build the foundations for children to thrive at Wadebridge Primary Academy. We recognise and celebrate parents and carers as major stakeholders in their child’s education. This is reflected in our robust approach to transition within the early years and into Year One. We promote and encourage our parents and carers to work closely with us in supporting their child’s learning and development. This is achieved with regular feedback and handovers with our parents/carers, home learning opportunities provided by our school, workshops throughout the year, information packs on learning, liaising with parents/carers about their child’s successes and next steps, communication between home and school through Tapestry, and much more! We share with our parents/carers that the help they give their child at home has a very significant impact on their child’s learning and development.
Prime areas of learning and development lay the vital foundations the Early Years. The three prime areas describe the aspects of early childhood development. All three prime areas are always in action for a young child. In every activity, the child is experiencing feelings, developing a sense of self and others, is physically engaged through their senses and movement, and is learning to understand and communicate with others. It is through these aspects that a child accesses the world around them and builds relationships with other people, which in turn opens the door to learning in all areas.
The specific areas of learning and development provide children with the knowledge, skills and experiences to flourish in school and society. Many aspects of these areas arise naturally for young children as they make sense of their experiences, such as an awareness of quantities, enjoyment of telling and hearing stories, finding out how the things work, rhythm and movement. Children often begin to represent what they understand with their own actions, marks or words. There are also ways of representing understanding with more formal systems, such as numbers, writing, and other cultural tools and methods for sharing and recording ideas, as well as large bodies of knowledge to be shared with children.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning describe behaviours children use in order to learn. To learn well, children must approach opportunities with curiosity, energy and enthusiasm. Effective learning must be meaningful to a child, so that they are able to use what they have learned and apply it in new situations. These abilities and attitudes of strong learners will support them to learn well and make good progress in all areas of learning and development.
Our curriculum has been carefully designed with our children at the centre. Please see our attached EYFS Curriculum 3 Is document for further details on our approach to building an ambitious, purposeful curriculum for our children.
We strive to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which will enable each child to develop emotionally, socially, physically, creatively, and intellectually, to reach their full potential and at their own pace. We celebrate that each child is unique and they are valued as an individual. The EYFS is based upon four overarching guiding principle which are:
All children develop in different ways and development is not a linear or automatic process. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments that encourage their engagement and recognise their strengths. All children have agency and curiosity to learn, and will interact with other people and the world around them in different ways. Understanding these different ways of knowing about the world is central to understanding who children are and how best to support their development. (Birth to 5 Matters)
Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. (EYFS Statutory Framework 2021)
At Wadebridge Primary Academy we value and learn about each child by;
• Holding home visits to new children in September in our Big Nursery.
• Participate in previous setting visits to our other local Nurseries to new children starting in Reception.
• Well planned, comprehensive transition sessions for new and existing children who are transitioning from Nursery into Reception and Reception into Year 1. Stay and play sessions run throughout June for our new September intake and give we parents the opportunity to come into our setting with their children and explore the provision and meet the team together.
• Allocate each child with a key worker. In our Nursery, it will be a member of the Nursery room team. In Reception, it is the class teacher.
Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. (EYFS Statutory Framework 2021)
At Wadebridge Primary we build positive relationships with our parents as partners by;
• Home visits for our September intake in Big Nursery and inviting parents in for transition presentations and stay and plays before their child starts school.
• Being available, accessible and ready to listen to parent parents’ questions and concerns on a daily basis.
• Inviting parents in for Parent Consultations throughout the academic year.
• Running workshops throughout our EYFS for parent to attend and participate in.
• Inviting parents into school for enrichment opportunities such as open afternoons, sports days and special events.
• Encouraging parent helpers to support reading and activities with our children.
• Celebrating the children’s learning on Tapestry and encouraging our parents to interact and share this at home. We support our parents with uploading their own observations of special moments with their child. We then share these with the class as part of weekly Show and Tell. At Wadebridge Primary Academy we build positive relationships with our children by; • Building strong relationships through communication and nurture.
• Taking into account children’s interests through our Thinking and Talking Floorbook approach and planning learning through consultation with our children.
• Ensuring PSED is at the heart of our curriculum, encouraging children to interact positively with each other and build and establish friendships. • Celebrate and share the children’s achievements and interests at home with Show and Tell and sharing Tapestry photos and videos as a class.
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 learning over time. (EYFS Statutory Framework 2021)
We plan our inside and outside environments to respond to our children’s needs. We value all children as individuals and recognise that each child’s learning journey will be different. We offer a stimulating environment which encourages children to, both independently and with support of an adult, apply their learning. Child can explore, test and build on previous learning as well as developing new knowledge and skills through meaningful play. We support children to take risks, develop their own ideas and experience new things. We encourage our children to practise, explore, discover and develop through our learning environments.
The importance pf learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates. (EYFS Statutory Framework 2021)
We plan our learning in consultation with the children by using the Thinking and Talking Floorbook approach. Staff introduce overarching topics or themes and the children decide which parts of this them interests them the most. Staff carefully gather and assess the children knowledge and gaps in their understanding and knowledge through the talking tub and floorbook. From here, they use this information to guide the children’s learning journey. The floorbook is used to observe, assess and plan from the children and it offers brilliant opportunities to revisit and embed learning over time. Please see our attached document for more details on our Thinking and Talking Floorbook Approach.
The EYFS Statutory Framework is fully embedded in our approach to learning. We use Development Matters (and Birth to 5 Matters in Little Nursery) to support the framework. We have carefully developed our own curriculum in the EYFS which supports progress of learning and development through the EYFS Phase, preparing children for their next adventure through the National Curriculum. One of the key curriculum documents we have create are ‘Curricular Goals'.
Curricular Goals are used both in Nursery and Reception. This is our top layer of our key focuses to ensure progress of learning and development through implementing the educational programmes. The curricular goals enables practitioners to support progression; ensuring no child is left behind. This documents aids and planning, observation and assessment in the Reception year. Practitioners use this document to target the support which is needed for individuals, groups and classes to make good progress in the foundation stage moving forward into Year 1. The curricular goals helps build the smaller components needed to acquire and embed knowledge built and practised over time. Please see the documents below for our Curricular Goals from Little Nursery, Big Nursery and Reception.
We use the term ‘provision’ to describe the learning experiences and opportunities we provide for all children.
• Whole class adult-led learning
• Continuous Provision – inside and outside
• Enhanced Provision – our topic or interest enhancements • Key worker group learning (Nursery)
• Small group learning (including interventions for additional support as required)
• Child-initiated learning • Opportunities for uninterrupted play
• Child-initiated then adult scaffolding/supported learning
Continuous Provision describes the areas of learning that every child has access to during COOL (Choosing Our Own Learning) time. These activities have been thoroughly planned using the knowledge of the children’s needs and interests, closely following our curriculum.
We use our Curricular Goals document to help embed and develop key knowledge across all areas of learning. The provision in the outdoor area has been planned to ensure that the developmental needs of all the children are met. During COOL time, the child selects the provision they wish to access and directs their own learning. It is a chance for them to practise, rehearse and consolidate key learning skills and behaviours independently.
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We overcome all barriers to reach our potential, developing a capacity to improve further.
We are passionate about learning.
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