Our EYFS Curriculum has been designed to reflect the nature of our beautiful environment, the seasons of the year and the nature around our school. It aims to teach the children how their environment compares to other places, cultures and nature in other parts of the world. It is therefore unique to Westacre Infant school. Each term is planned to include all areas of the curriculum for very specific reasons and we want to ensure that all children leaving the Reception Year are ready to start the KS1 curriculum. Each topic does not last a specific amount of time but is based on the children’s learning at the time, and so a topic can run from anything between two and seven weeks. All the topics have resources and activities ready to use in the enhanced provision. Topics are introduced with a good quality storybook or age appropriate non – fiction text. Using books in this way teaches children that books and reading form the basis of all learning.
This ambitious Early Year’s curriculum aims to teach all children the skills and knowledge in order that they reach the seventeen Early Learning Goals described in the Early Years Foundation Stage. We teach through a range of teaching methods including child-initiated learning, whole class teaching, group teaching, investigations and problem solving together, and independently. As many activities as possible are play-based; however, there is also a need for direct teacher-led activities to ensure children gain essential knowledge and skills from their teacher. All activities are expertly modelled, and children are given sufficient time, support and resources to repeat and practise them.
Personal Social and Emotional Development
We strive to enable children to be safe, happy, confident individuals. We also encourage self-regulation as much as possible and introduce rules and boundaries through modelling good behaviour and circle time. We teach the children the Westacre Infant School Learning Values that are discussed at length the values that we believe are instrumental in supporting the children whilst Learning Together and Growing Together. It was agreed that the following values will be invaluable in helping the children reach their full potential. To help the children understand the values and why they are important, we teach the meanings of the values and record our discussions in the form of a floorbook. We use stories, images, videos and other means to teach the children about the values.
The decided values are as follows:
Friendship, Honesty, Kindness, Teamwork, Perseverance and Respect
Our stunning outdoor environment enables us to make the most of the outdoors and we encourage children to play outside as much as possible. Our intention is that children learn how to take measured risks and they are given access to our outdoor area, learning garden and forest area. We encourage children to learn about nature and look after their environment through regular forest school sessions. Our PE curriculum, in Reception includes Gymnastics, Dance and Invasion Games. Each class also have termly sessions with the Soccer 2000 coaches. Children are taught about the importance of regular exercise and healthy eating, and are encouraged to join in with class yoga sessions.
Communication and Language
This area of learning underpins our whole curriculum as children are encouraged to listen and communicate appropriately. We enhance the classroom and outdoor garden area to reflect the topic learnt. Each topic encompasses enhancements to the learning environment that include role-play areas, small-world play and story-making tables to encourage the children to act out scenarios and discuss concepts being learnt. This helps children learn and use new vocabulary introduced through the topics. Children are encouraged to ask questions and contribute to whole-class and group discussion whenever possible. Children who struggle to communicate are targeted in the provision and learning interventions such as NELI are used when children lack confidence or do not have the age-appropriate skills.
We aim to teach children to read and develop a love of books as soon as they arrive at Westacre Infant School, and books are used to teach topics and to enhance our whole curriculum.
We follow a systematic approach to phonics using the RWI scheme. Phonics lessons are taught daily in differentiated groups. A short phonics task and reading book is taken home. Children are also encouraged to read age-appropriate books from the class library and books in the library are changed each half term to reflect the different seasons, topics taught and children’s interests. Children also have access to a lending library and are able to choose age appropriate books to share at home. Teachers read stories to children from high quality age-appropriate texts at every available opportunity. These books are then used to enhance the learning environment and reading area. Children who need extra help with phonics are targeted in the provision by key members of staff. Each morning, a phonics activity is set up in continuous provision with individual children’s next steps in mind. Those children who need extra teaching are encouraged to the activity with a member of staff who facilitates a short teaching session each day. The reader of the week has ‘the reading suitcase’ to take home which contains a selection of age appropriate books, a puppet and a sachet of hot chocolate and a small packet of biscuits to encourage the importance of bedtime stories.
We use interventions such as ‘Funky Fingers’ ‘Write Dance’ and ‘Dough Disco’ to get small fingers ready for writing. The children are provided with a range of pencils, pens, and other media to encourage them to write as much as possible. Children are also encouraged to write in the provision in the role-play area, writing area, maths area, library and outdoors. In Reception we introduce writing straight away, and teach handwriting alongside the RWI phonic scheme. Children are then taught to form letters correctly that are introduced in phonics lessons. Guided writing activities are also taught in groups. These include writing topic words, lists, captions and short narratives. Guided writing activities are based on the topic being taught and the class book is often used as a basis for writing. We hope to inspire children to write independently after they have been introduced to writing skills in their guided writing sessions.
We provide children with a wide range of practical activities in mathematics which are based on everyday problem solving within the setting. Early skills such as counting and number recognition are introduced through play and continuous provision. In Reception children are taught maths through guided group work and whole-class activities. We use the Whiterose Mathematics scheme and use maths enhancement activities in the different areas in the classroom, including the outdoors. The main aim of the maths curriculum is to teach children to be able to subitise numbers to ten automatically as soon as possible. We begin by concentrating on one number a week in the first term, with the aim that children have a better understanding of one digit numbers before they move on to place value, calculation and arithmetic later in the year. Children also learn shape, space and measure skills and knowledge through guided work and as activities in the enhanced provision. Children who need extra help with mathematics are targeted in the provision by members of staff. Each morning a maths activity is set up in with certain children’s next steps in mind. Those children who need extra teaching are encouraged to the activity with a member of staff who facilitates a short teaching session each day.
We work hard to ensure the children are ready for the National Curriculum by the end of the Reception year. Currently, we are developing Fundamentals in maths for Reception so that, in addition to the EYFS expectation, there is an agreed essential set of skills and knowledge that the vast majority of children will leave the Reception class with.
Knowledge and Understanding of the World
We strive to give children knowledge about the world around them and in the rest of the world. Science is taught through most of our topics. For example, we observe ice in our ‘World Around Us’ topic and investigate how ice melts and forms through real hands-on experiences. We are extremely fortunate to have a forest area at our school. Staff are knowledgeable about wildlife and plant species, and endeavour to pass this knowledge on to children at every opportunity. We use role play to develop interests in growing and caring for plants and animals. Each class have their own planters to plant flowers, as well as a herb garden in the mud kitchen areas which children are able to use in their mud pies and cakes.
Geography is taught, including maps and countries of the world, through our Celebrations and Wider World topics. We teach RE throughout the year based on celebrations including, The Diwali story, Eid, The Christmas story and the Easter Story so that children are introduced to different belief systems.
Expressive Arts and Design
We use the Charangha music scheme which encourages children to listen to and appreciate different types of music including popular music. It also encourages children to learn vocabulary such as tempo, beat, pulse and pitch. The children are also encouraged to listen to the sounds of the different musical instruments they can hear. Children are given time to play imaginative games and make up stories, songs and dances.
In art, the children are taught how to safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. We have a Creative Area whereby the children can access materials independently and participate in child-initiated activities; we study artists and illustrators throughout our topics. Child-initiated art activities are encouraged during continuous provision as well as art and craft skills being taught by the staff. We endeavour that children leave Reception with good art skills, as well as encouraging them to use their own ideas and techniques in their art and design work.