Early Years

Welcome to the Early Years Foundation Stage at Hazlewood Community Primary School.

This stage consists of Nursery and Reception; children aged 3-5 years. The Early Years Foundation Stage is a very important stage in a child’s life as it helps prepare for school ‘readiness’ as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes.

Children’s early years’ experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs. Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences before the age of five will have a major impact on their future life chances.

We are a truly dedicated and committed team of staff who aim to work in close partnership with parents and carers to ensure all children in Nursery begin to build the foundations of their learning in a safe, happy and nurturing environment. We are committed in following our school’s vision,

 “At the heart of our school, all individuals have the opportunity to thrive in their own unique ways. By igniting passion and embracing difference, we can unlock limitless potential for all in our community. Through nurturing and trust we can open the doors to exciting new adventures, challenges and experiences to spark dreams for every child.”

The Early Years Foundation Stage at Hazlewood Community Primary School seeks to provide:

  • Quality and consistency in our settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind
  • A secure foundation through planning for the learning and development of each individual child, and assessing and reviewing what they have learned regularly
  • Partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers
  • Equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported

All development and learning in the Early Years is guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and our provision reflects the 4 key themes:

  1. Unique Child

Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We have four commitments for every child and they are:

Child Development

We understand that children develop in individual ways and at different rates. Every area of development –physical, cognitive, linguistic, spiritual, social and emotional is equally important. We observe each child’s development and learning, embrace difference, and assess progress and then plan for their next steps.

Inclusive Practise

We hope all families feel genuinely welcome and totally accepted, regardless of their individual differences. We value all families and no child or family is discriminated against.

Keeping Safe

We protect each child’s physical and psychological well-being in order for them to develop resilience.

Health and Well-Being

We understand children’s health is an integral part of their emotional, mental, social environmental and spiritual well-being and is supported by attention to these aspects.

  1. Positive Relationships

Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. We ensure that all children are respected, feel valued as individuals, safe and cared for. We are sensitive and responsive to children’s needs, feelings and interests. It is also important that parents and carers are involved in their children’s learning and development. Contributions that parents make through sharing information about their child are crucial if we are to help them to become effective partners in learning.

  1. Enabling Environments

The environment plays a key role in supporting and developing the children’s learning and development. Our environment will support children’s learning and allow them to practise their skills and develop new one. It will provide children with stimulation, challenge, opportunities to encourage independence and a positive attitude towards learning. Our indoor and outdoor environment promotes our children’s physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.

  1. Learning and Development

Children develop and learn in different ways. We provide children with hands on, engaging and challenging opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development. Our aim is to ignite a passion for learning. We encourage the children to use both the indoor and outdoor classroom, offering children opportunities which allow them to become active learners and develop critical thinking.

Our curriculum and provision is centred on the concept of personalised and bespoke learning, following children’s interests and catering for the needs of each individual child. It is built on the foundations of play-based learning combined with specifically planned learning opportunities within the environment that are designed to engage children and develop their knowledge, skills and understanding in seven areas of learning and development set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework to enable children to fulfil their potential.  It allows for children to learn new knowledge and skills, consolidate their learning and then move on to the next steps on their learning journey so all children make progress.

Areas of Learning and Development

There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early year’s settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.

Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving. These are the Prime Areas:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

We also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The Specific Areas are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

Educational programmes must involve activities and experiences for children, as set out under each of the areas of learning.

Communication and Language

The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing, and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children’s language effectively. Reading frequently to children, and engaging them actively in stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems, and then providing them with extensive opportunities to use and embed new words in a range of contexts, will give children the opportunity to thrive. Through conversation, story-telling and role play, where children share their ideas with support and modelling from their teacher, and sensitive questioning that invites them to elaborate, children become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and language structures. 

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children should be supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary. Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently. Through supported interaction with other children, they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably. These attributes will provide a secure platform from which children can achieve at school and in later life.

Physical Development

Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives7. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination, which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.

Literacy

It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing.

Mathematics

Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers. By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding – such as using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting – children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.

Understanding the World

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.

Expressive Arts and Design

The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.

All of the seven Areas of Learning and Development are interconnected to the Characteristics of Effective Learning, which is how children learn.

Characteristics of Effective Learning

  • Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
  • Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
  • Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things

The Characteristics of Effective Learning describe behaviours children use in order to learn. To learn well, children must approach opportunities with curiosity, energy and enthusiasm. Effective learning must be meaningful to a child, so that they are able to use what they have learned and apply it in new situations. These abilities and attitudes of strong learners will support them to learn well and make good progress in all the Areas of Learning and Development.

Children’s Characteristics of Effective Learning also underpin everything we offer in the environment.

Assessment

Nursery- Children are assessed throughout their time in Nursery through observations.  Assessments enable staff to support children in their next steps of learning and development so your child makes continuous progress throughout their time in Nursery.

At the end of Nursery you will receive a report informing you of your child’s attainment in the areas of learning and development.

Reception– At the beginning of the school year children are assessed using a statutory reception baseline assessment (RBA).  It is activity-based assessment of children’s starting points in:
  • Language, communication and literacy
  • Mathematics

Teachers are required to carry out the assessment within the first six weeks of children starting Reception. No numerical score will be shared and the data will only be used at the end of Year 6 to form the school-level progress measure.

Children are assessed throughout their time in Reception through observations.  Assessments enable staff to support children in their next steps of learning and development so your child makes continuous progress throughout their time in Reception.

In the summer term of the Reception year in school, teachers complete an assessment which is known as the EYFS Profile. This assessment is carried out by the Reception teacher and is based on what they, and other staff caring for your child, have observed over a period of time. Each child’s level of development is assessed against the 17 Early Learning Goals. The Reception teacher will indicate whether children are:

  • On track
  • Not on track

At the end of Reception you will receive a report informing you of your child’s attainment.

Transitions

Transition from Home to Nursery

Parents and carers will be invited into nursery to meet the teacher and the rest of the Early Years Team to hear all about Nursery Life.  We promise to answer all questions so you leave feeling good and that Hazlewood Nursery was the best decision

Your child will be welcomed on three visits to our nursery before their start date:

Visit 1– You will be asked to stay with your child to play for an hour. During this time the Nursery teacher will chat to you to find out all about your child.

Visit 2– If your child is confident and happy we will ask you to leave your child in nursery for an hour.

Visit 3– If your child is confident and happy we will ask you to leave your child in nursery for two hours.

Transition from Nursery to Reception

Throughout the year Nursery and Reception often share play days therefore children become very familiar with Reception staff.

During summer term, Nursery children will visit Reception and ‘come to play’, this enables them to become familiar with the classroom environment and staff.

Parents and carers will be invited in to meet the Reception team, hear all about the first year of school and to answer questions to put minds at rest!

Transition from Reception to Year 1

During the end of the summer term children in Reception have opportunities to take part in activities with their new teacher and start building that positive relationship before the summer holiday.  It is seamless transition and enhanced by Reception and Year 1 teachers working closely together.

Intent, Implementation and Impact What to expect in the EYFS for Parents

Nursery Reception

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