Early Years Curriculum Statement – Nursery and Reception
In the Early Years at Partington Central Academy we aim to provide a happy, secure and stimulating environment with opportunities for children to learn and develop positive relationships with their peers and familiar adults. We aim to work closely with parents and carers and create an effective home school partnership.
Nursery and Reception are part of the Early Years Foundation Stage and we follow The Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework. The framework sets the standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old and the standards ensure that all children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.
There are seven areas of learning and development and all areas are important and inter connected. There are three prime areas of learning: Communication and Language; Personal, Social and Emotional Development; and Physical Development and four specific areas of learning; Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World; and Expressive Arts and Design. Each area of learning is then divided into different aspects. Practitioners working with the youngest children are expected to focus on the prime areas of learning and as children grow and move into Reception, there should be a greater focus on teaching the essential skills and knowledge in the specific areas of learning.
It is our intent at Partington Central Academy that ‘Our EYFS setting offers the children a broad, ambitious curriculum that enables children to become confident and enthusiastic learners. This curriculum builds on what children know and can do to ensure they have the skills and knowledge for their future learning.’
The Early Years team at Partington Central Academy have worked collaboratively with the other Early Years departments in The Dean Trust to create an EYFS curriculum. The rationale behind our curriculum is as follows:
At Partington Central Academy, we implement a broad and balanced curriculum and we seek to promote the key features of retention and progression. Both Nursery and Reception cover the same suggested themes and topics and we use recognised maths and phonics schemes of work to ensure coverage and progression of children’s knowledge, understanding, vocabulary and key skills. Such an approach enables us to work effectively as an Early Years unit with regard to sharing resources, ideas, planning and enrichment opportunities and providing consistent experiences and expectations for the children.
In the Early Years, children will take part in a mixture of whole class activities, group activities and individual activities. Both the Nursery and Reception settings are split into key areas of learning such as writing, reading, creative, construction, role play, maths and sand and water. These areas are fully equipped and enhanced to engage, stimulate and extend the children’s development and learning. The children also have access to a newly developed outdoor area which supports and builds upon the experiences that they receive inside.
Each half term, we have specific themes and from this all our learning and related activities and opportunities revolve. We carefully select fiction and non-fiction texts that support and enhance the learning and each week we have focus vocabulary that we explore and use.
As a team, we consider the needs and interests of each cohort and the quality of resources and opportunities that we can provide and we adapt the curriculum and provision we deliver each year as required.
At Partington Central Academy we are committed to making sure that every child learns to read and in the Early Years we are forging a culture of ‘Keep up, not catch up’.
In Nursery, the children participate in daily, small group Phase 1 phonics activities which support and enhance the development of their speaking and listening skills, their phonological awareness and their oral blending and segmenting skills.
Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects. Each aspect contains three strands: tuning into sounds; listening and remembering sounds; and talking about sounds. The 7 aspects covered are: environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting.
Alongside this, the children develop their vocabulary through nursery rhymes, poems, songs and planned talk and we encourage children’s love of reading through enticing story and poetry times.
In the Summer term, the children continue to participate in Phase 1 activities and develop their love of reading and stories and where children are deemed developmentally ready, practitioners will introduce them to the Read Write Inc Nursery Scheme of work. The children will become familiar with and practise silent signals, learn to name the pictures associated with each sound in Set 1, play Fred Talk games and become familiar with the sounds and the corresponding letters in Set 1.
In Reception, the children start learning phonic knowledge and skills early on, through daily structured teaching sessions. Practitioners follow the Read Write Inc phonics scheme of work and refer to the document Making a strong start: A guide for Reception teachers to ensure that a speedy, effective start is made. Children participate in speed sound sessions; word time sessions; reading sessions; handwriting sessions; and writing sessions.
In reading, the children learn the sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups from Set 1 and 2; learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending; learn to read from a range of ditties, storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge; learn to read some red words; and develop comprehension skills in stories
In writing, the children learn to write and form the letters/letter groups from Set 1 and 2 with the help of fun phrases; learn to write words by using Fred Talk; learn to write some red words; and learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write.
In speaking and listening, the children learn to work in pairs to answer questions; learn to take turns in talking and reading to each other and develop ambitious vocabulary.
In Reception, the children are assessed on a regular basis and grouped accordingly. Where children are identified as not making appropriate progress, targeted additional support is provided using the Fast-Track Tutoring programme.
At Partington Central Academy, it is our aim to create ‘cheerful not fearful mathematicians’ who have a lifelong love of maths and we believe that early mathematical knowledge is an essential foundation stone of every child’s educational journey.
In Nursery, we use Master the Curriculum scheme of work as a basis for our Maths teaching. Master the Curriculum offers fun, engaging maths activities that are aligned with the White Rose Maths framework and the maths mastery approach. We aim to keep maths practical and engaging whilst providing the children with the necessary skills and knowledge to make a strong start in maths.
In Reception, we follow the White Rose Reception scheme of work and the NCETM Mastering Number scheme. Both schemes instil positive attitudes to maths and encourage children to explore mathematics in engaging and inspiring ways. They encourage development of the core maths skills in a sequential manner and are aligned with the early years learning goals in mathematics.
At Partington Central Academy, we understand and value the importance of ongoing assessment to help practitioners recognise children’s progress, understand their needs and to plan appropriate activities and support. We also have four formal assessment points throughout the year where we record children’s development using our online system Brom Com. At each assessment point, we RAG rate the children to indicate whether they are emerging, working towards or at the expected levels of development and all our judgments are made against The Dean Trust curriculum documents. We also use Tapestry as a quick way to record written, photographic and video observations of children’s learning at home and at school and as a tool to share learning in Nursery and Reception with Subject Leads throughout the school.
The impact of our curriculum is measured at the end of Reception, when each child’s level of development is assessed against 17 early learning goals, across all 7 areas of learning. Those children who meet the criteria under each area of development are said to have ‘met’ the early learning goal and are working ‘at age-related expectations. It is our expectation that the majority of children will have reached this level in all areas of learning by the end of Reception.