EYFS Statement of Intent
As the first step into education for many children, an engaging, supportive EYFS is crucial. At Sheringdale we provide an engaging curriculum that maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences. As well as this we offer extended periods of play and sustained thinking as we recognise the importance of following children’s interests and ideas to foster a lifelong love of learning both inside and outside of school. Children learn to take managed risks and rise to challenges with resilience. They are encouraged to question what they see, to develop enquiring minds and a thirst for learning. Our curriculum works on the understanding that communication, emotional understanding and social skills underpin the Specific learning areas of Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts & Design. At Sheringdale, we utilise the statutory Characteristics of Effective Learning (DfE) to ensure that children are empowered and motivated by their own learning journeys, and that learning is meaningful, purposeful and useful. The curriculum celebrates that every child is unique and will benefit from different learning styles, and open-ended resources. Use of songs, clear routines and boundaries, makaton and visual aids, ensure that the curriculum is accessible for all, particularly those with EAL and SEND.
Classroom environments are language-rich, and children's vocabulary is stretched and modelled through high quality interactions each day. Practitioners use skilful questioning and modelling to develop individual childrens vocabulary. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start. The EYFS provision is inspired by high-quality ‘Power of Reading’ texts which direct the topics of each half term. This ensures that teaching is coherently sequenced to build on the children’s previous development and knowledge. The PoR texts provide a secure foundation for confident book lovers who get great enjoyment from story books and language. The daily systematic teaching of synthetic phonics builds on prior learning and inspires children to take ownership of their early reading. Children learn 5 new sounds a week and are given books that match their phonic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning. Children are encouraged to read at home and are listened to regularly in school as soon as they are ready. Parents are invited into Reception classrooms as 'mystery readers' to help celebrate reading and to expose children to a wide variety of books read aloud in different reading styles and home languages. Children also have their own 'book share' day where they bring in and talk about their favourite book, introducing books to the class that they may not have seen before.
Mathematical understanding is supported across all areas of the EYFS curriculum, from weighing scales in the ‘home corner’ to tape measures in the construction area. Maths lessons in Reception are planned and taught using Power Maths, a scheme designed to spark curiosity and excitement and help nurture confidence and deeper contextual understanding in maths. Children learn that Maths is useful and necessary, and they enter KS1 secure and ready for more complex mathematical concepts. In Nursery, children develop a love of maths through games, songs, rhymes, and play using concrete manipulatives. There is a focus on the following counting principles; one to one correspondence, stable order and cardinal principle. Children’s fine manipulative skills are a focus to develop 1-1 correspondence so children count each object only once.
EYFS staff have a good understanding of how ELG’s feed into the National Curriculum through our robust Sequencing and Progression of Learning. In reverse, colleagues throughout the school are invited in to experience how key ELG’s link to each foundation subject and the progression of the subject from Early Years up. By the end of the year in Reception we provide opportunities for children to increase their independence in recording their work as appropriate to ensure they are well prepared for the move to Year 1. We also ensure that the pedagogy in Year 1 reflects the independent learning skills children have gained in Year R. We believe that to learn, children must feel safe and happy, and their self-esteem and well-being is a focus from their first day in Nursery. High standards of behaviour for learning are established through the expectation that everyone will try their best, and a secure understanding of the reasons why this is important. Pupils are involved in discussion about class rules at the start of each new school year and create a list of class rules, which reflects the wider Sheringdale school rules. This strengthens the idea of community, and the importance of teamwork, as the children move through life.
The EYFS team are committed to working in partnership with parents and carers, as the evidence is clear that this best supports children’s progress. Connections between staff, children and parents are nurtured from the first home visit before they enter the school, and by using their ‘All About Me’ books which include photographs of their lives and family, and their likes and dislikes. We strive for our families to be as involved with their child’s education as possible, which is why we use the Tapestry app: parents can access, and contribute to, their child’s learning journey as often as they would like. As well as parent consultation meetings, parents are invited to open mornings, phonics workshops, curriculum meetings, and events such as the reading breakfast, class assemblies, school concerts and celebrations such as the Christmas fair.