‘Live And Learn With Jesus’
Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Leigh
Early Years Policy
Live and Learn with Jesus.
We follow Jesus through fairness, kindness, love, friendship and happiness.
At Sacred Heart we place great value on the development of children as individuals. We provide them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to prepare them for the challenges in Key Stage One and beyond. Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations academically and in moral and spiritual development, so that ultimately our children can go on to be successful active citizens of society and happy, curious life-long learners. We invest time into helping pupils set their own goals and to develop a love of reading, writing and number.
Our environment and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration. We value imagination and creativity and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning through a vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips, visits and visitors to school.
The statutory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) forms the basis of the curriculum. Our teachers plan for children to develop skills in the ‘prime areas’ of learning; Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development. They also plan for the specific areas of learning; Literacy, Maths, Understanding the World and Expressive Art and Design. The skills and knowledge the children develop through following the curriculum help them to make progress towards achieving ‘The Early Learning Goals’ and gaining a ‘Good Level of Development’ at the end of Reception which will give them a good start as they enter into Key Stage 1.
We want our children to gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. They can only do that if we embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking. This is delivered through a curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences as well periods of play and sustained thinking following children’s interests and ideas.
Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, maths and phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED and CLL. These sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets. This focused group time means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
Within the timetable there is plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout a variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas.
We endeavour to instil a love of reading in our children and stories are at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow the rigorous and highly successful Sounds-Write phonics programme. This is taught in small groups enabling the teachers to assess carefully each child’s understanding. Individual children are targeted for extra support and catch up sessions during the week.
To supplement our daily phonics we send home daily reading books to share with parents, the children are heard by adults on a one to one basis at least twice a week.
We want our children to be well rounded Mathematicians and to realise that Maths is Fun. We follow the Maths Mastery approach using The White Rose Hub materials and NCETM ‘Numberblocks’ program, with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that children develop a deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which they then apply to their own learning during play and exploration.
A curriculum statement is sent home termly to inform parents of the topics being covered. During some topics there are opportunities for parents to be involved, helping their children find various materials, observe things in their home environment and enhance the children’s learning.
To ensure that our curriculum meets the needs of our children, we spend time looking at and evaluating how the children are learning. This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences and analysing data and progress by class, groups and individuals. Members of staff use ongoing observational assessment to identify children’s starting points and plan experiences which ensure progress. The app 2 Simple is used to record some observations, these are shared with parents during the school year.
We see parents as partners in their children’s learning, and encourage parents to share their knowledge of their child’s achievements in a number of ways, including word of mouth daily at drop off and collection time, parent teacher meetings twice a year, the class dojo page and ‘star moment ‘ sheets. We also use the children’s voice by recording observations and work they are proud to show us.
This information is used to inform planning on a weekly basis, to plan learning experiences and next steps so that knowledge and skills are built cumulatively.
Observation and Assessments are used termly to track the children’s progress towards meeting the national expectation of Early Learning Goals at the end of the year. The analysis of this data enables staff to highlight pupils who may need extra support to achieve their potential.
Adapted: Summer Term 2020
Review Summer Term 2022