Teaching and Learning in Early Years at Severnbanks
Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage at Severnbanks Primary School.
We look forward to working in partnership with you at the beginning of your child’s learning journey.
To meet the growing demand of our local community our EYFS space was redesigned and building work completed in 2018. We offer a purpose-built free flow environment that gives children the opportunity to learn playfully through a balanced approach of child initiated, adult directed and co-constructed play. In addition to our EYFS space we are also able to use the school grounds which include a wooded area which is fully resourced for outdoor teaching and learning. Our EYFS environment is well resourced, thoughtfully zoned and include additional benefits such as integral toilets for nursery, and low level sinks and kitchen areas.
Children can enrol in our setting at the age of 3 where they will become a ‘Starlet’. When children start in Reception at the age of 4, they are based in our Sycamore room which form a semi open plan unit with free flow access to the outdoor environment. Your child will be assigned a base classroom and class teacher, who will be responsible for planning activities and monitoring your child’s achievements and progress. We have adopted a ‘shoeless’ learning environment and children are given opportunities to develop their independence, self-regulation and self-care by choosing where and for how long to engage in activities. Children are encouraged to be confident, independent learners who drive their own learning experiences. Children are supported by the adults in provision when making decisions on the appropriate clothing for their needs, slippers for inside, wellies, coats or wet play overall for outside.
Early Years Curriculum
The Foundation Stage Curriculum has seven key areas of learning.
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
These seven curriculum areas are further split into 17 Early Learning Goals or ELGs. These are goals or targets children are expected to achieve at the end of their Reception year. Please refer to the parents and carers guide attached as a PDF on the learning tab.
Our vision is that all children are happy, thrive and succeed during their EYFS journey. A carefully planned text led curriculum fuses with teaching and learning opportunities informed by the children’s owns interests ensuring children are active participants in their learning and development towards meeting the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception year.
Teaching and Learning – a balanced approach
For us at Severnbanks, this approach is simple and effective our aim is to fuse pedagogical approaches that meet the needs of all our children. We have worked hard to create a mutually respectful environment (within the context of set boundaries as society would expect) and promote a forum for democratic participation which reflects our whole school approach using philosophy for children giving time to critical, creative, collaborative, and caring thinking.
Children arrive in our setting with a wide range of experiences, knowledge, and skills. To ensure all children, make the best progress and outcomes we fuse different pedagogical approaches. Time is given for adult led or directed formal activities driven by our focused texts, phonics, and maths schemes; this ensures that children have opportunity to experience a wide range of activities that will enrich their play experiences and broaden their skills and knowledge base. During these teaching episodes we value the voice of children and while teaching with purpose in mind value and remain open to the ‘teaching opportunities’ children bring to every teaching episode. The practitioners in EYFS have many years of experience and a secure understanding of child development. We know that children are curious motivated learners that can drive their own learning in the enabling environment we offer. We use an ‘in the moment, approach recording these ‘teachable moments’ as co-constructed activities .Practitioners are led by the child/ren’s interests and there is fluidity between the roles of the child/practitioner as observer, play partner or enabler. Together experiences are shared, and opportunities are taken by the practitioner to strengthen and deepen learning and development by using resources and the enabling environment in a manner that makes learning playful.
- Observation by the EYFS team
Adults observe children in their play. We record these observations using Tapestry which is a secure online platform that enables us to build an incredibly special record of your child’s experiences, development, and learning. These observations may be used to inform discrete teaching sessions or can become an ‘In the moment’ teachable experience.
- Co-Constructed Activities
Adults will engage in play alongside the children, the role of ‘teacher’ is fluid with adult and child both leading the episode. Together they will uncover known learning andbuild and extend knowledge around a specific interest. Adults record the interaction on a co-constructed activity sheet which will be shared with you via Tapestry. The adult will then identify a next step for your child’s progress as a result of the interaction. The mutual involvement between the adult and the child makes the process exciting, stimulating and enriching. Therefore, co-construction is an effective technique for extending children’s level of understanding and the ability to express this understanding in any area of development.
- Discrete teaching
Our rich text led curriculum gives opportunity for children to experience a rich variety of texts. Planning is divided into long term, medium and short term. Long term states the books we will be covering across the year and outlines learning areas for each term. Medium term plans illustrate our intentions and learning objectives and short-term plans show specific activities. Planning is important as it allows us to enhance out standard provision and provide provocations to stimulate curiosity, wonder and discussion. Children will take part in whole class, group, and individual teaching episodes where our aim is to develop children’s skills in becoming active learners who are self-driven and motivated. Staff are skilled in ensuring they are developmentally sensitive to the needs of the children and aim to engage in sustained thinking and active interactions that move learning forward.
Children have free flow access across the provision and our ‘classroom’ comprises both an indoor and outdoor environment. Children must be prepared for a full active day at school and will need the right clothing to take full advantage of our setting. We provide children with waterproof suits when accessing mud/wet play and ask that you provide a waterproof coat and a pair of wellington boots for use outside.
We strongly believe that parent partnerships support and enhance the teaching and learning episodes that have happened in school. We provide children with weekly homework tasks to complete that will help embed and improve fluency in phonics reading and writing. We welcome your comments, observations, and next steps you would like us to address in response to observations and co-constructed activities uploaded to Tapestry. In addition to this throughout the year we run ‘Family Learning Workshops’, the workshops aim to give you an insight on why and how we teach specific skills and how you can best support your child at home embedding the work covered in class. One firm favourite with the children is ‘bedtime stories’ you will be invited to attend a workshop while the children attend school in their pyjamas for a bedtime story and a cup of hot cocoa.
EYFS – Cultural capital
Enrichment opportunities are experienced throughout the year and provide learning opportunities from first-hand, real life experiences, these include;
- A visit by the Police during our “People who help us” enquiry.
- A visit by the Fire Service, we looked at the fire engine and talked about how to stay safe on Bonfire Night.
- A visit to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust
- A visit by a touring theatre company who performed Jack and the Beanstalk
- Weekly visits from our yoga teacher.
- Specific areas for planting and growing fruits and vegetables.
- Hatching chicks
- Watching tadpoles develop.