At St Stephens we aim to develop enthusiastic and aspirational children who are resilient, creative thinkers ready, willing and able to play their part in the wider community. We aim to create ambitious, resourceful individuals who are well prepared for life through personal and academic achievement. We recognise excellence in everyone.
Our ethos is Early Years is to support children's personal, social and emotional development so that they feel safe and secure and are ready to learn.
We believe that the Early Years Foundation Stage is vital for laying secure foundations for future learning and development. The curriculum is designed to provide a broad and balanced education that meets the needs of all pupils. With high expectations, it facilitates them to gain the skills, knowledge and understanding, as they start out on their educational journey, supporting them to progress from their individual starting points and preparing them for the next stage of their education.
Through the seven areas of learning we provide topics that excite and engage children, building on their own interests and developing their experiences of the world around them. We recognise that all children come into our setting with varied experiences and all staff work hard to ensure that the learning opportunities provided widen their knowledge and understanding of the world, setting ambitious expectations for all children.
The curriculum celebrates diversity and supports the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Those children with particular needs, including SEND, are supported appropriately, allowing them to be successful.
At St Stephens, we offer a curriculum which is broad and balanced and which builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children, whatever their starting points. We follow the Early Years curriculum using ‘themes’ and enrichment opportunities.
The aim of our curriculum is to develop a thirst and love for learning by:
- Carefully planning sequences of activities that provide meaningful learning experiences, developing each child’s characteristics of learning.
- Providing high quality interactions with adults that demonstrate and impact on the progress of all children.
- Using high quality questioning and interactions to check understanding and address misconceptions.
- Staff acting as role models to the children they teach in order for children to develop their own speaking and listening skills.
- Carefully assessing, through observations which are then used to inform the next steps of learning and meet individual needs.
- Developing an effective and engaging environment that is set up so that children can access all areas of learning both inside and outside at any one time.
- Providing activity starting points for child initiated activities that enhance children’s learning and impact on progress.
- Allowing children to be successful in their attempts at an activity and using effective feedback to help facilitate next steps in learning.
- Suggesting home learning opportunities with information about what has been taught, allowing parents to build on their child’s school experiences, at home.
The Early Years uses core texts as a basis for theme planning and usually start with an exciting hook to engage children in both the theme and the book. For example, learning about ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,’ our children went on a real bear hunt after a bear had been ‘spotted’ in our woodland area and had left some clues….
Systematic, synthetic phonics, is taught daily from the beginning of Reception. This allows children to segment and blend sounds and apply this into their reading and writing. Teachers have a clear understanding of how pupils learn to read and regularly assess them and ensure that their reading books match their phonics phase.
Maths is taught through daily dedicated sessions. These sessions are carefully planned using concrete resources and build on prior learning. Activities are based on practical real-life context to encourage inquisitive minds and critical thinkers. As a result, children develop firm mathematical foundations.
Pupils have opportunities to share their learning with their parents and carers through regular ‘Open Sessions’ and ‘Supporting Your Child’s Learning’ sessions. We also have a Facebook page where children’s learning and successes are celebrated. The Building Learning Power values are promoted to children to develop their independence, motivation and perseverance.
Children demonstrate high levels of engagement in activities, developing their speaking and listening skills, enabling them to access all areas of the learning and communicate to both adults and children. Children develop skills across all areas of the curriculum including literacy, mathematics and physical development and use these in different ways.
Children have developed a wider sense of the world around them and can draw on these experiences during interactions with others and link this to new learning.
Children develop their characteristics of learning and are able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. Children are confident to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with adults, drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing.
From their own starting points, children will make excellent progress academically and socially, developing a sense of themselves, so that they are well prepared for Key Stage 1.
The EYFS Lead is Mrs M Crowley.