Early Years Foundation Stage at Cathcart Street Primary School
Here at Cathcart Street Primary School we believe that all children deserve the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their full potential regardless of their backgrounds, starting points or needs. We aim to create a learning environment that supports all children in becoming happy, confident, curious and independent learners. We work collaboratively with parents and carers to encourage independent and lifelong learners. It is our intent that children, who enter our EYFS, begin their lifelong learning journey by developing physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally whilst also embedding a positive attitude to school and a love of learning.
To ensure children make at least good, if not accelerated progress, it is our intent to take into consideration their starting points and the needs of our pupils as they begin their learning journey. Every child has access to a broad, balanced and flexible curriculum which prepares them for now and for the future. Following children’s interests and individual needs, allows us to plan and provide opportunities throughout our EYFS curriculum to support learning and development and achieve their next steps.
At Cathcart Street we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. This is made up of four overriding principles which our early year’s education is based upon:
- Unique Child – Every child is unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Positive Relationships – Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
- Enabling Environments – Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
- Learning and Development – Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early year’s provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Our EYFS team promote independence and a love of learning through child centred, play based learning that meets each child at their point of need. Our learning environments support each child through high quality provision and adult interactions using an objective lead and communication focussed approach to learning. This aims to promote rapid progress throughout EYFS before moving onto Year 1.
The children in Explorers, Nursery and Reception are provided with ample opportunities in our indoor and outdoor provision. They engage in planned, focussed activities through adult led and child-initiated experiences. The learning experiences within our Early Years are linked to the seven areas of learning and development within the EYFS. These areas are split into three prime areas and four specific areas. The three prime areas are those which the children should develop first and are considered most essential for the healthy development and future learning of our children. These include:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development – involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
- Communication and Language – involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
- Physical Development – involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
As children grow and make progress in the prime areas, this will help them to naturally develop skills within the four specific areas. These are:
- Literacy – the early teaching of literacy involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
- Mathematics – the early teaching of mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and describing shapes, spaces, and measures.
- Understanding the World – this involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
- Expressive Arts and Design – this involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
Children benefit from meaningful learning across the curriculum and staff plan for opportunities for communication and sustained shared thinking to build on existing skills taking into account the Characteristics of Effective Learning.
New vocabulary and concepts through reading will excite and engage all learners which includes staff modelling high quality spoken and written English and asking high quality questions.
Our EYFS curriculum will promote and support children’s emotional security and development of their character, enabling children to take risks in a safe and secure environment. Supporting children to be active and to develop physically including giving clear messages to children why it is important to eat, drink and exercise as well as to be kind to others.
Our children will grow to be confident, competent lifelong learners and good citizens.
The children at Cathcart Street experience a smooth transition between Explorers, Nursery, Reception and beyond. Effective communication and collaboration ensures the children leave the EYFS with a solid foundation of learning of which to build upon.
We use electronic learning journals across the EYFS, supplemented with exercise books in Reception, which evidence to the children and their families the successes of the children throughout their time in Early Years.
As a team, we carry out regular internal moderation sessions and also ensure that staff attend external meetings and training to ensure that we feel confident with our judgements and that these judgements are consistent with a range of other settings. Assessment starts with careful observations which are then used to inform planning.
By monitoring assessment procedures regularly, we can effectively demonstrate what learning is taking place and how each child is progressing in all seven areas of the EYFS curriculum. Good progress towards the ELGs is observed for all children with the majority of children making accelerated progress from their starting points. Last year our GLD had increased by 16%, with the aim for this to increase further each year. The progress amongst our children across EYFS is accelerated from their starting point.