As with most Early Years Providers, we follow Development Matters, a tool used to support individual children’s learning and development. There are three Prime Areas (PSED, Physical Development and Communication and Language), four Specific Areas (Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design). In addition, the EYFS practitioners look at Characteristics of Effective Learning when making judgements as to the progress children are making.
In both Reception and Nursery, the children are given opportunities to explore mathematics both inside and outside the classroom. We have a focus for each week where there are activities based around the learning objective for pupils to engage in. The activities are practical and encourage the children to talk through the mathematics and use resources and manipulatives to demonstrate understanding and address misconceptions. There are adults based at each focus activity to observe pupils in their understanding and extend and challenge them.
For Literacy, both Nursery and Reception use a range of resources to mark-make both indoors and outdoors. The focus in Reception is much more on learning to write, whereas in Nursery it is more a case of enjoying making marks and learning key words and sounds through phonics. The aim for Nursery is for all children to be able to write their names by the time they move to Reception. In Reception, with a greater emphasis on learning to write, the children have an opportunity to write on large scale with a range of textures, including whiteboards, with chalk and in sand. The class are able to access a range of books in the book corner and can independently spend time looking at books with their peers or with an adult. Pupils are supported with their reading and writing with daily phonics sessions in both Nursery and Reception. DSR will begin in the Summer Term in Reception.
Understanding the World
In Reception, the children have weekly ICT lessons and develop their ICT skills using the iPads to complete simple programmes. The Nursery children also spend some time in the ICT suite and learning to use iPads. The children explore the outdoors and focus on the changes that can occur over time, with a particular focus on the seasons in Nursery. The children learn about different cultures and religions. We have weekly RE sessions (with the Reception Class following the LDBS curriculum) and we also celebrate a range of festivals from children’s cultural backgrounds, for example Chinese New year.
The children develop their physical development through weekly PE sessions in Reception and regular opportunities in EYFS. The children also develop their co-ordination and their balancing using a range of equipment such as the climbing frame, large wooden blocks, bikes.
The children develop their understanding of safety by learning how to use equipment safely and appropriately.
Expressive Arts and Design
Children are given the opportunity to explore a wide range of media and materials. In Reception, Pupils have access to building materials to construct with a purpose and use tools appropriately.
Pupils develop their imagination taking on different roles in their play. They learn to engage in the same theme as their peers and negotiate and take turns.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Through play opportunities, pupils learn to develop empathy and understanding of others needs and how their actions can have an impact on individuals.
Pupils learn to negotiate, share and take turns with their peers. They develop the skill to deal with disagreements using words.
Pupils develop secure friendships and develop the ability to work together with their peers.
Communication and Language
Pupils are given ample opportunity to develop their listening and attention skills through small group and whole class activities. Pupils learn to listen and take into account what the other person is saying through play opportunities. Pupils are encouraged to use talk in their play and learning to develop a wide breadth of vocabulary and have the ability to share their experiences and understanding.
Assessing our Children and Partnership with Parents
At Forty Hill we believe in letting the children learn through play as well as some more structured sessions in order to ensure that language and mathematical concepts are developed, ready for the National Curriculum in Year 1.
In order to assess our children accurately, we use teacher judgement as well as supporting evidence from the Development Matters curriculum. As much of the evidence gathered in EYFS will be through observations of children’s behaviour, and we use a system called Tapestry to record our observations. This is an online tool that stores photographs alongside teacher comments, pupil voice (where appropriate) and a Development Matters milestone. By logging on with a secure username and password you will be able to view all of your child’s observations and photographs. You will even receive an email telling you when a new observation or piece of work is available for you to view. This will enable you to follow your child’s individual progress closely and you can also add your own comments for us to read.