Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
At Bensham Grove Community Nursery School the diversity of individuals and communities is valued and respected. Through our work we aim to place the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) at the heart of a school’s planning, policies, practice and ethos. The children at Bensham Grove Community Nursery play an active role in their own learning, developing the confidence to say what they think in all matters that affect them.
We aim to help our children become caring and responsible citizens both in school and in the wider local community. The UNICEF’S Rights Respecting Award is recognition of our school as a Rights Respecting School.
* To provide a caring stable creative and stimulating environment in which children are happy and can learn at their own pace.
* To provide first hand experiences to enable children to learn through their play, across the curriculum.
* To provide a broad balanced differentiated curriculum that gives opportunity for all children to succeed at their own level.
* Promote independent and active learning by encouraging children to make their own decisions and begin to solve their own problems.
* Provide activities and key experiences, which are both adult led and child, initiated.
* Provide challenging experiences and set high expectations for learning.
* Encourage the development of concepts by providing opportunities for children to make links in their learning.
* Develop each child’s knowledge, skills and understanding in all areas of learning.
* To foster a willingness to have a go, make mistakes and try things out without fear of failure.
* Promote spiritual appreciation and moral understanding.
* Develop social skills and provide opportunities for children to co-operate with others and learn from each other in a variety of situations.
* Develop their full potential as effective communicators.
* To identify and respond to the individual needs of all children.
* To celebrate cultural and ethnic diversity and ensure equal access to all areas of learning for all children.
As Early Years Practitioners we acknowledge parents/carers as children’s first and most enduring educators. From the earliest stages when a child first enters Nursery we foster effective relationships:
* Parent/carers are invited to visit Nursery prior to their child’s starting date.
* Information booklets and nursery prospectus are given to parent/carers.
* We warmly welcome parents/carers into Nursery on a daily basis.
* A home visit is offered to every parent/carer before their child Nursery School.
* We encourage parents/carers to share their knowledge, celebrations and any concerns about their child.
* We actively encourage parents/carers to accompany children into Nursery and stay with their child until it is appropriate for them to leave (both for parent/carer and child). See Transition Policy.
* During the induction phase parent/carers are able to wait in a nearby room and have a coffee/tea and can return to reassure their child if staff feel it supports a child during the initial phase. See Transition Policy.
* Every child has a Key Person, to ensure their well-being and support their developing independence. The Key person provides an important link for parent/carers.
* Parents/carers are kept informed about their child’s progress in all areas of development. Much of this exchange of information is of an informal nature on a daily basis but there are also opportunities to share the child’s individual Learning Journal, which parents/carers have access to and are invited to contribute to. There are formal opportunities to attend a parental consultation three times a year. The Nursery summative record is completed for children who will be transferring to a reception class in the following September.
* Parent/carer notice boards are in place. The latest newsletter and other notices about routines or more general information are available. Admin staff at the reception desk also respond to requests for information and ensure all parent/carers receive letters etc.
* Parents/carers are informed of the current themes or area of interests informally on a daily basis and via the Parent/carer Notice Boards in the entrance.
* Regular newsletters update parent/carers on nursery activities and events.
Other agencies and providers
* Work with and involve key partners, like health visitors and social workers to support children’s successful development and learning.
* Develop effective partnerships with other carers, settings and practitioners important to the child.
Staff ensure information is shared effectively to promote smooth transitions for children from home, within the nursery and to other providers.
Positive relationships play a key part in the development of our Nursery Curriculum as through these children develop a sense of belonging and self worth both essential for effective learning and development. The key person relationship is regarded highly within the school in order to provide the security and warmth a child needs in order to learn and develop.
A Curriculum for young children
At Bensham Grove Community Nursery School the children have a broad balanced curriculum to promote their social, emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual development. The curriculum is differentiated and rooted in a child centred philosophy which the focus lies upon the individual as a whole person. Active Leaning through play is at the heart of our curriculum and the Highscope approach to active learning provides the Nursery’s daily routine. The plan, do review element of Highscope promotes activity which is child-driven and supports independent learning. (See Appendix 1)
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum is concerned with the child and the context or setting in which the learning takes place, as well as the content of the learning. The following principles express the basis of the curriculum for education in the early years.
1. Early childhood is valid in itself and is a part of life, not simply a preparation for the next stage of education or future work.
2. The whole child is considered to be important – social, emotional, physical, intellectual and moral development are inter-related.
3. Learning is holistic and for the young child, not compartmentalized under subject headings.
4. Children develop individually and at different rates and need to be given time to move through developmental stages at their own pace.
5. Children learn best when they are in control and need to be independently responsible for their own learning.
6. The organisation of space, materials and people must support learning, which is independent and inter-dependent.
7. Children need a stimulating environment in which they can develop, in particular it should promote and enrich the acquisition of language.
8. Young children learn most effectively through play, experimental investigation and first hand experience.
9. Planning, decision making, prioritizing and sequencing are important and young children should be given suitable opportunities to develop these life skills.
10. Adults should display positive attitudes towards children promoting high self- esteem.
11.The adults and children to whom the child relates are of central importance. Parents are recognised as the child’s first educators.
The children access the curriculum through 7 areas of learning and development outlined in the Developmental Matters in the EYFS guidance ( Department for Education 2012)
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
The Prime Areas of Learning and Development are fundamental to accessing all areas of learning within the environment and and the planned learing experiences. As part of the daily routine the children access Reading, Writing and Mathematics through meaningful experiences on a daily basis. (See Appendix 1)
As Early Years Practitioners we believe that children are entitled to a curriculum that:
* Responds to individual needs; whilst children have some common needs, each child is unique with needs that may be vital to their interests, development, motivation, confidence etc. Practitioners plan for each child’s individual care and learning requirements, including the additional or different provision required to meet particular individual needs.
* Acknowledges their natural enthusiasm and their need to be active learners; in order for young children to grow into well motivated learners, full of curiosity for the world in which they live, they need a curriculum that is based on play and exploration.
* Builds on previous experiences; effective teaching and learning acknowledges what children already know and understand. The planning and organisation of activities and experiences responds to a wide range of previous experiences, interests and skills and develops self-esteem and confidence in their ability to learn.
* Supports and develops their thinking and learning; the learning environment and the teaching opportunities within it stimulate and challenge children’s thinking. A wide range of teaching strategies are used based on children’s learning needs.
* Provides appropriate experiences and activities across all areas of learning and development; both planning for and assessment of, children’s learning enables them to make progress across all Areas of Learning and Development.
It is recognised as an important purposeful activity.
1. It provides an opportunity to develop language by the child interacting, communicating and expressing ideas with peers and adults.
2. It provides opportunities to practice and develop basic skills such as manipulative skills.
3. It helps children to become self-confident and develop self-awareness.
4. It helps children have control over their own actions.
5. It helps children to learn to interact and work with others thus developing social skills and co-operative skills.
6. It helps to encourage independent thinking.
7. It nourishes curiosity by allowing children to explore.
8. It develops concentration.
9. It stimulates interest.
10. It provides satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
11. It gives pleasure and immense enjoyment.
12. It allows children to learn through first hand experience.
13. It helps children become competent in key learning experiences and prepares them for the next stage in their learning.
14. It provides a basis for further learning.
Play, like learning, is a process where understanding builds through experiences. Children and adults, when confronted with a new object have to first explore then to discover its functions. Younger children have less major experience to draw on and therefore this process is more important. Children are motivated by play, they accept responsibility for their own learning in play, they work collaboratively and co-operatively and apply problem-solving strategies. To children work and play are not opposites but part of a continuum of experiences. Play must be challenging and structured. Children can bring their own structure to their play. The quality of play is dependent on the resources available. Provision of resources and materials is essential to promote progress, development and further challenge. The adult’s role in providing challenging play is vital. The adult needs to intervene when appropriate and engage in the play with children. To do this the adult needs to: –
* Observe and discover what interests individual children
* Note how children perceive and solve problems.
* Take cues from children.
* Work with them.
* Support, encourage and extend children’s ideas.
* Identify play in all areas of learning
To ensure effective learning for young children practitioners ensure that:
* Children feel safe and secure. The Key Person for each child in particular and all practitioners develop positive relationships based on trust. The growth of confidence and trust enables children to take risks in their learning, to try to solve problems, and to view practitioners as helpful teachers and facilitators of learning.
* Children have opportunity to initiate activities that will promote learning and enable them to learn from each other. Children should access available resources to explore at their own pace. Resources are well organised, developmentally appropriate and easily accessible to encourage children to make choices and explore.
* Children learn through movement and all their senses. Children have the opportunity to explore using all their senses. Young children are active learners and need to move to learn as well as learn to move. Children build concepts and ideas from their experiences and a wide range of opportunities are provided to stimulate their learning.
* Children have time to explore ideas and interests in depth. The process of learning is vital for all young children. Practitioners enable children to return to and extend their focus of interest or piece of learning.
* Children have the opportunity to learn in different ways and at different rates. Practitioners recognise that children learn the same thing in different ways and that progression in learning can happen at different times and rates. Children indicate their
involvement in different ways e.g. facial expression, verbally or through body language, and practitioners use their observations and knowledge of the child to support this process.
* Children make links in their learning. Practitioners use observations effectively to identify play linked to the development of concepts. Children making links in their learning is the basis of creativity and becoming an effective learner.
* Children participate in creative and imaginative play activities that promote the development and use of language. Practitioners listen and respond to children to encourage them to learn about conversation starting with paying attention to the signals babies give. Small world and role play encourages children to enact scenarios. Practitioners playing alongside children support children and can introduce vocabulary when relevant and appropriate. practitioners to plan appropriately for the needs of bi-lingual children and those with additional needs.
Our role as practitioners
We know that young children are naturally inquisitive and in the process of playing, will explore experiment and find out new things about the world. They develop and acquire skills and knowledge, not just by being told things, but by experiencing them; by actively exploring and using their senses.
If learning through play is to extend children’s thinking and development, our role as practitioners is crucial in relation to the following aspects:
* The creation of a positive ethos, where individuals are valued and where they feel safe and secure and able to take risks.
* Resourcing an environment with quality provision in areas of learning and to meet the developmental needs of all the children.
* Planning learning opportunities which are both practitioner led and child initiated.
* Using a range of interactive strategies to make learning effective. Interacting, questioning and responding to questions.
* Supporting children’s learning during planned play activities.
* Extending and supporting children’s spontaneous play.
* Encouraging and developing children’s language and communication
* Observing/assessing the current stage of development in order to plan the next step/steps.
* Assessing and recording children’s progress and sharing knowledge gained with children, other practitioners and parents/carers
The following model provides a framework that will support the development of a diverse, challenging and effective early years curriculum.
Resources and resource management
All resources are available for all children regardless of gender, ethnic or social background.
Good quality equipment is selected so that it is appealing and robust. Resources are carefully selected so that they are appropriate to the developmental needs of the children, each area of learning and also to support and enhance the focus of interest.
Resources are organised and stored appropriately to support the different learning needs and interests of the children.
Resources listed in the Long Term planning are stored in clearly labelled containers or are templated on open shelves to encourage self initiated play, the development of independence and the ease of return of equipment.
Some equipment is stored so that there can be enhancement of provision when required.
Resources for outside provision are stored in large and small storage units but there is flexibility and resources can be moved by staff or children as required.
Long Term Planning
The Early Years Foundation Stage is the framework for all planning. This provides an overview of what practitioners intend children to experience and learn. Children’s learning is not compartmentalised but viewed holistically by practitioners.
The purpose of long term planning of continuous provision in the nursery is to produce a framework, which will help practitioners to:
* identify the key learning opportunities within each Area of Learning.
* identify the resources and the organisation of these resources to support the intended learning opportunities.
* identify the key experiences/activities that children will develop when playing in the areas.
* recognise the importance of their role and the quality interaction needed
to support and develop children’s thinking.
All members of the Nursery Team are involved in planning, resourcing and setting up areas of provision. Opportunities to evaluate practice and provision have been built into the Nursery Improvement Plan.
Medium Term Planning
Medium term planning covers all additional experiences and activities that will be offered to the children over a period of time, the length of which may vary.
Medium term planning helps practitioners to:
* consider key areas of development to offer the children
* identify key intentions for learning (what knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes can be developed)
* identify ways in which the provision will be enhanced through resources, stimulus, interactive displays, visits and/or visitors
* identify adult-directed focused activities and experiences to support key learning objectives
* focus on their role in supporting children’s learning
* consider key resources that may need organising
Some of the medium term plans address the children’s needs and the changes and/or celebrations going on in the world around them. These are fitted into an annual overview to ensure coverage, breadth and balance in all areas of development.
Short Term Planning
Short term plans are informed by ongoing observation and informal assessment. They can be for individuals and groups and may be for a week or the next day. Plans are part of an on-going cycle of identifying and providing for children’s learning and developmental needs.
Within short term planning, the use of time takes account of the need to:
* Implement aspects of medium-term planning
* Support, interact with and develop children’s directed work.
* Support, interact with and develop children’s self-initiated work
* Be involved in small or large group times
* Observe and assess
> An area of provision
> A particular activity or experience
> Individual children or a group
At the end of each week practitioners review and evaluate the range of activities and experiences offered to the children so that they can build on and develop children’s learning and understanding, thinking about ‘Next Steps’
Observation and Assessment
For every child throughout our School, before and throughout the Foundation Stage of children’s learning, we make regular assessments, which we then use to ensure that future planning reflects identified needs.
Assessment takes the form of observation and this involves the teacher, nursery officer and other adults.
Observation is the foundation of education in the early years. It is through recording and reflecting on children’s activities and interest that we can gather information necessary for the construction of an appropriate curriculum.
The methods used are: –
Practitioners observe children in order to find out:
* What they are able to do (skills)
* What they know and understand (knowledge and concepts) LEARNING EXPERIENCES AND ACTIVITIES Children actively engage with the planned environment and in planned activities within the environment. The assessment and planning cycle PLANNING The practitioner uses assessments to plan an appropriate curriculum and next steps for individuals. ASSESSMENT The practitioner makes assessments of children’s learning based on observations. OBSERVATION The practitioner observes what children do and say during activities and experiences within the learning environment
* How they approach learning (attitudes)
Practitioners use ‘post it’ notes to jot down anecdotal observations and these are placed in individual folders or files to be collated and used for summative assessments. Notes are kept to inform planning and transferred later. Longer more detailed observations are done for each child at least every half term.
Observations are collated in children’s individual Learning Journals. These observations are used to inform next steps on a weekly basis as well as a summative record of progress on at least a half termly basis. The summative record is a child’s individual record of progress through the developmental bands and The summative record is used as to transfer to reception class in the following September. Learning Journals include pieces of work if appropriate and photographs which are annotated. All entries are dated and cross referenced if linked to written observations or other work.
Observations are used to:
* Assess the learning of individuals, identify needs and plan ‘next steps’ for individuals and groups of children. These observations may focus on an area of learning, or one aspect of an area, individual interests and developmental needs.
* Evaluate and improve areas of provision in terms of learning opportunities for all children.
* Raise the profile of an area of learning and ensure that learning in this area is taking place for all children and throughout the nursery.
Assessment and record keeping underpins good practice and are essential elements in securing effective continuity and progression. The purpose of records in the nursery is:
* As a ‘central point’ for the on-going collection of information and/or evidence.
* As a source of reference when planning for individuals or the curriculum.
* As evidence to support assessments or referrals.
* To communicate information to parents.
* To communicate information to other professionals.
* To inform summative reporting.
The Common Assessment Framework
The ‘CAF’ is for children and young people who have ‘low level’ additional needs. The CAF enables settings to identify any factors outside the setting that may be affecting a child’s learning and development, and which would benefit from discussions with professionals from other services. Where a CAF indicates that a child might require further (specialist) assessment, for example under statutory SEN procedures, the core data from the common assessment can be used to feed into that process.
To monitor the quality of teaching, learning and care and the consistency in the implementation of policies and planning.
* The Governors monitor the work of the Nursery through named members and the Head Teacher.
* The Local Authority Link Inspector/ School Improvement Partner monitors the work of the nursery through the Annual Performance Review process and regular visits to the nursery.
* The Advisory Teacher linked to the nursery carries out regular audits of provision and practice.
* The Head Teacher monitors planning and assessment.
* All staff are involved in in-service and continual professional development and are encouraged through reflective practice to self-evaluate.
* The Senior Management Team meet regularly to review and monitor practice.
* All Senior staff monitor practice on a day to day basis.
* The Head Teacher and Health and Safety representative carry out regular formal risk assessments of the building, fixtures and fittings.