Early Years at SMSA
During their first year at St Mary & St Andrew’s Catholic Primary School, the children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. The curriculum is planned to ensure that we are developing the children’s personal and social areas of learning as well as their emotional well-being.
The EYFS profile is intended to provide a reliable, valid and accurate assessment of each child’s attainment at the end of the EYFS. It is made up of an assessment of the child’s attainment in relation to the 17 early learning goal (ELG) descriptors. Teachers may provide a short narrative describing how the child demonstrates the 3 characteristics of effective learning.
To ensure our pupils are immersed in the best possible learning experiences, we value the development of the characteristics of learning and promote all our children's development in these three key areas:
Playing and exploring
• finding out and exploring
• using what they know in their play
• being willing to have a go
• being involved and concentrating
• keeping on trying
• enjoying achieving what they set out to do
Creating and thinking critically
• having their own ideas
• using what they already know to learn new things
• choosing ways to do things and finding new ways
When your child starts school with us, they will take part in a baseline assessment, professionally conducted by the Early years teachers - Mrs Noonan or Mrs Bisby. Details about this assessment are here for you, please get in touch if you have any further questions (and don't worry - your child will have no idea they are part of an assessment, it will feel like a bit of special 1:1 time with one of their favourite grown-ups!)
2022_Information_for_parents_reception_baseline_assessment these Explanatory Notes for Parents explain the results which will be reported to you later in the year.
Useful Websites for further information:
Our Early Years curriculum is a strength of our school and was recognised as Outstanding at our last OfSted inspection. It is in the Wrens' classroom that, through careful teaching and learning between the EYFS framework and Y1 curriculum, our children make a great start to their education with us. Children are encouraged to become independent, inquisitive and happy learners. We recognise children’s prior learning and various starting points are all different, therefore we intend to create an holistic curriculum that maximises cross-curricular links and builds strong foundations for their future. Our EYFS curriculum is specifically designed, and continually evolves, to provide children with important foundational skills and knowledge that will later be enhanced and embedded in KS1.
Every child is recognised as a unique individual. We acknowledge and promote children’s interests to provide them with the opportunities to follow their imagination and creativity. Through vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, the development of the characteristics of effective learning is promoted. Recognising parents as first educators, we work in close partnership with parents and carers throughout the year to support their learning and to encourage children to reach their full potential. We also aim to promote a smooth transition from EYFS to KS1 by providing children with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to succeed throughout their education.
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities and challenges. The weekly timetable is carefully structured and regularly so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, mathematics and phonics every day. Whole class, group and individual work then follows and provides children with many and varied opportunities to engage in ‘active learning' through a variety of experiences, which are carefully planned to engage and challenge.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. We have chosen high-quality texts from which all topics are launched. Children enjoy reading a variety of books inside and outside of school through quality guided reading sessions and independent reading with adults. Children are sent home with fully decodable phonics reading books that are tailored and suited to their individual phonics level. Regularly, children’s reading attainment is assessed and gaps are addressed quickly and effectively.
Our mathematics programme adopts a mastery approach; we follow the WhiteRose scheme of learning but supplement the materials from a variety of other sources, all with an emphasis on deepening understanding in the key skills of number, calculation and shape. The prioritisation of mathematical language is clear in our pedagogy. Pupils creatiely learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied in their own learning during exploration and in adult-directed activities. These collaborative and practical mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts. Teaching mathematics in this way supports our children to become logical problem solvers that can demonstrate resilience and justification when learning. This approach to teaching maths ensures children gain progressive mathematical knowledge and skills as they continue their journey through KS1.
Class teachers record ongoing individual observations and photographs of children’s learning and play and interests. These formative assessments inform potential next steps for each child and include careful consideration of children with SEND, vulnerable or disadvantaged. Children's progress towards meeting the Early Learning Goals is rigorously monitored and reviewed.
The impact of our EYFS curriculum is good and all children make progress from their starting points. Although it is not possible to compare historical statistical data between current EYFS outcomes and those gained via the previous EYFS reforms, children in our school continue to achieve at least inline with National expectations and often better in the prime areas of development.
Our children are confident to learn and ask questions. It is in the EYFS where they begin to build upon their personal toolkit of skills, knowledge and success. Our EYFS staff have a good understanding of how ELG’s link to the National Curriculum, and, through our robust planning and delivery across the spectrum of subjects – both core and foundation - children leave the EYFS stage with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their journey as scientists, historians, artists and geographers- they learn that they can be the best that they can be!
All our planning supports children's progress towards achieving the Early Learning Goals in a fun and creative way. We deliver our curriculum in a thematic way, inspired by children's interests and ensure that our planning is progressive, leading all children to meet the Early Learning Goals.
Let's do this together
We are always delighted to work with our families to help the progress of our children, so don't hesitate to come and ask for help/guidance/support in all areas of the curriculum. However, here are a series of ways you can help at home:
Practise games for those key facts
Learning Through Play
Getting to grips with phonics
Fun with Spot
Making stories about feelings
Great for reading about the world around us
For all little dinosaur fans, find out some interesting facts
A range of games for numeracy and literacy
- Big Eyed Owl - songs, rhymes and activities
- Alphabet Songs