St John the Baptist Catholic Primary School
Early Years and Foundation Stage Policy
‘I promise you that every day your child will learn something new. Some days they will bring it home in their hands, some days they will bring it home in their heads and some days they will bring it home in their hearts’. Valerie Welk
This policy has been approved and adopted by the Governing Body in July 2020 and will be reviewed in July 2022.
At St John the Baptist Catholic Primary School we adhere to The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage April 2017, and the four guiding principles that shape practice in Early Years settings.
This policy aims to ensure
Our Learning Values
We are becoming…
determined, conscientious, responsible, reflective
empathy, sympathy, kindness, supportive, forgiving,
questioning, reasoning, exploring, reflecting, predicting
ambition, determination, goal setting, love of learning
risk-taking, consider differing points of view, courageous
adaptability, perseverance, seek challenge and support
honesty, self-belief, social and moral awareness, integrity
According to the ‘Good Practice in Early Education’ Research Report, January 2017, good practice in relation to curriculum planning includes approaches that are:
The Characteristics of Effective Learning underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner. These are :
The EYFS framework includes seven Areas of Learning that are equally important and inter-connected. Three of these areas are known as the Prime Areas and are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
The Prime Areas are:
The Prime Areas are strengthened and applied through the four Specific Areas:
These four areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society:
Child Initiated learning is learning activity that children initiate themselves, as opposed to learning activity that is initiated and directed by adults, adults participate rather than lead. As such the classroom and outdoor area in EYFS is set up in a way for children to carry out meaningful experiences to support their learning. Children are encouraged to seek resources to support them to be independent learners.
Child-initiated learning involves cognitive, social, and physical learning that is within, but desirably near the upper limit of, each child’s abilities. It involves the inside-out learning of discovery and thinking about experience and the outside-in learning that comes from interaction with other people. Rather than controlling these activities, adults share control with children.
Adult Initiated or Adult-led activities are based on the teacher’s own professional understanding of what should be taught to young children and what experiences they should have. Through adult-led activities teachers introduce children to new ideas, provide opportunities for them to develop their skills and ensure that they experience all areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
At St John’s, we aim to ensure:
Learning outside the classroom supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being. It gives them contact with the natural world and offers them experiences that are unique to outdoors, such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons. Outdoor play also supports children’s problem-solving skills and nurtures their creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for their developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.
The outdoor environment also offers more space than indoors and therefore is particularly important to those children who learn best through active movement. For many children, this may be the only opportunity they have to play safely and freely while they learn to assess risk and develop the skills to manage new situations
All children at St John’s have the opportunity to explore the outdoor learning environment where they will have the same opportunities to access the curriculum as inside. Focused teaching occurs where children have opportunities to interact with members of staff - practitioners joining the child’s play and skilfully using questioning to move children’s learning forward.
Children are encouraged to find and use equipment and resources independently. These are organised to allow all children including those with disability and/or SEND to explore and learn in a secure and safe space for most of the day. Children are able to flow freely between indoor and outdoor areas whilst remaining in ratio following statutory guidance for the EYFS.
Good planning is key to making children’s learning effective, exciting, varied and progressive. Effective learning builds on and extends what children know and can do. Our planning shows how the principles of the EYFS will be put into practice and is always informed by contributions from home, from the children themselves and from observations have made and interactions we have with the children, in order to understand and consider their current interests, development and learning.
All practitioners who work in Reception class are involved in this process.
There are three stages of planning the curriculum:
Planning reflects and supports the Characteristics of Effective Learning and the different ways children learn. Objective-led planning is used to target a small groups of children who are working towards the same learning goal.
For every child starting Reception, our practitioners will complete a baseline assessment in their first 6 weeks of school.
At the end of Reception we use the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) to judge whether a child is ‘Emerging’, ‘Expected’, or ‘Exceeding’ in all 17 areas of learning.
Effective assessment presents a holistic view of a child’s learning. Our assessment of children is based primarily on the knowledge gained from practitioners within Year R informed predominantly from observation and interaction during a range of daily activities and events it also takes account of the voice of the child, their parents and other relevant adults.
Embedded learning is identified by assessing what a child can do consistently and independently in a range of everyday situations and is recorded through Tapestry and within children Learning Journals
At the end of EYFS
The national expectation is for children to achieve a ‘Good Level of Development’ (GLD). At the end of EYFS GLD is when a child achieves ‘expected; within all strands within the prime areas of learning as well as all strands within literacy and maths’.
However, every child is unique. Some will exceed this expectation, while others may still be working towards it.
Our aim is for all children to progress to their full potential (and at least make good progress from their relative starting points).
Pre-school – Year R
At St John the Baptist Catholic Primary School, we have close links with the local preschools. Reception practitioners utilise the transfer records from pre-school settings to inform them about each new intake. During the Summer Term, the EYFS teacher and an LSA undertake home visits and visits to the feeder nurseries and play groups, to meet and interact with children in a familiar setting and make contact with nursery colleagues to engage in a professional dialogue about where each child is in their learning and development. In addition, all prospective children have the opportunity to visit the school and their classroom for a number of ‘taster’ sessions.
In the second half of the summer term, parents attend an information meeting which introduces them to the school’s key personnel and its procedures and practices. The children are invited to join their new class teacher for story times to enable strong relationships to begin to develop.
Children are inducted on an increasing attendance programme attending for half a day (either mornings or afternoons depending on their age and stage) which increases to include lunchtimes and then finally to full time. This allows the children to feel secure in their new environment and gradually build up to full-time attendance.
Each child has a key person. Children can concentrate and learn more effectively if not under stress or pressure so having a key person who is attentive and knows their child well will support children in their personal, social and emotional development.
Children thrive when their needs are met by special people who they know, trust and respect. They learn by observing and being with others. The key person is an important role model for the child who they can relate to and rely on. (Early Years Handbook 2020)
Reception – Year 1
Reception and Year 1 work together to make the transition from the Early
Years Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1 as smooth as possible. Teachers have time to discuss and expand on the information presented in the EYFS profile. In particular, the narrative around the Characteristics of Effective Learning which will give teachers significant details about each child’s learning and development.
Home / School links
We recognise that parents are the child’s first and most enduring educators.
When parents and practitioners work together in early year’s settings, the results have a positive impact on the child’s development. A successful partnership needs to be a two-way flow of information, knowledge and expertise.
We develop this by:
Welfare and Safeguarding
Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them.
We follow the safeguarding and welfare requirements detailed in the EYFS Statutory Guidance (2017)
At St John’s we provide all pupils, regardless of ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities, gender or ability, equal access to all aspects of school life and work to ensure that every child is valued fully as an individual.
Practitioners, as role models, are aware of the influence of adults in promoting positive attitudes and use that influence to challenge stereotypical ideas.
Children with additional educational needs will be given support as appropriate to enable them to benefit from the curriculum. This includes children that are more able, and those with specific learning difficulties and disabilities. Additional adult support may be provided for children with special needs, thus increasing the adult/pupil ratio. The school’s SENCO is responsible for providing additional information and advice to practitioners and parents, and for arranging external intervention and support where necessary.
Useful documents linking to this policy include: