About Our Academy
Early Years Foundation Stage Policy
As a whole school we have developed Curriculum Drivers that underpin our Project Based Learning and curriculum. These are the underlying aims for not only Early Years, but will be seen throughout the school. These drivers include the opportunity to:
- Inspire children through an imaginative and immersive curriculum, ensuring that the children are happy and enthusiastic to learn, that we foster and nurture the children’s imagination and curiosity
- Immerse the children in their learning by creating an immersive environment that reflects and promotes each classes project, and therefore, learning
- Become independent, self motivated and entrepreneurial learners, encouraging the children to adapt their work, think critically and take risks with their learning
- Be prepared for 21st Century Life by ensuring that each and every child is literate and numerate, as well as empathetic towards others, able to be resilient and ambitious to succeed in whatever they set out to achieve
- Be their Best in all they undertake, encouraging each and every child to try new things, work hard and push themselves to continue to achieve and to persevere in any activity that is before them
- Become curious about the world around them and practice the technique of Enquiry. Encouraging the children to develop problem solving skills, tackling any activity they set out to do
- Be aware of the wider Community, starting with their local community and providing opportunities to experience and learn about other communities and cultures further afield with the Project Based learning approach
- Be World Wise by fostering and nurturing the children’s social and interpersonal skills, ensuring that they have the opportunity to work as a member of a team and can share their experiences and knowledge with their peers
The Nursery and Reception classes follow the curriculum as outlined in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) document, which is available at http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2012/03/Development-Matters-FINAL-PRINT-AMENDED.pdf. This defines what we teach. This policy details the specifics of our setting and school.
The EYFS framework includes seven areas of learning and development, all of which are important and included into the curriculum taught. There are three prime areas, which are seen to underpin all of the basics and support the other more specific areas of the curriculum.
The Prime areas are:
- Communication and Language – Listening and Attention, Understanding and Speaking
- Physical Development – Moving and Handling and Health and Self Care
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Making Relationships, Managing Feelings and Behaviour and Self-confidence and Self-awareness
The Specific areas are:
- Literacy – Reading and Writing
- Mathematics – Numbers and Shape, Space and Measure
- Understanding the World – People and Communities, The World and Technology
- Expressive Arts and Design – Exploring and Using Media and Materials and Being Imaginative
Characteristics of Effective Learning
The EYFS also includes the Characteristics of Effective Learning. These are regularly assessed through observations and planned for throughout the EYFS. From Reception the Characteristics of Effective Learning are celebrated using a bronze, sliver and gold award in their Passports for Success. This is in keeping with the whole school Chris Quigley Secrets to Success, which celebrate attitudes towards learning.
The three characteristics are:
- Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things and events around them and ‘have a go’
- Active Learning – children concentrate and keep trying if they experience difficulties, as well as enjoying what they achieve
- Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between different and experiences and develop strategies for doing things
We ensure that there is a balance adult led and child initiated activities across the day. We believe that even during child initiated activities the adults’ role and interaction with the children is essential as this helps to build the children’s understanding and so guides new learning. The role of the adult is to continually model, demonstrate and question what the children are doing, either through participation in the children’s game or encouraging the children to participate or complete a task with the adult. The children are taught through a number of different strategies that are both Early Years based as well as direct teaching and other more investigative project based learning approaches.
- Project Based Learning – This is a whole school approach that provides a real purpose for learning, ensuring all the teaching and learning is real, purposeful, inspiring and immersive for each and every child.
- Exploration Time – Exploring is an important and integral part of the Early Years curriculum and classroom. We believe that children learn best from activities and experiences that interest and inspire them. We use prior assessment of the children’s skills and knowledge, as well as the project and immersion as the starting points for these experiences. The project and immersive feel of the environment inspires the children to learn and investigate the experiences and opportunities around them. We carefully plan the environment and opportunities within this environment to reflect on what has interested the children, making sure that we provide opportunities to extend and practice the skills they have learned during the project or through direct teaching. We ensure that each of the different areas of learning are represented in the environment and provide different experiences and opportunities to learn. We believe it is important that adult take an active role in child-initiated play through observing, modelling, facilitating and extending their play. Achieving and maintaining the balance between child initiated and adult led activities is very important to us.
- Direct teaching – In FS1 we have opportunities throughout the sessions in which each child is encouraged to participate in an activity led by the teacher or Early Years Practitioner (EYP). Children in FS1 participate in a daily phonics session, suitable for their age and stage, with each child gaining experience of Phase 1 letters and sounds activities for at least 3 terms. They also have daily counting and number facts experience, allowing the children to experience number each and everyday. In FS2, the children participate in daily phonics sessions focusing more on Phase 2 onwards; revisiting and ensuring Phase 1 activities are threaded through and throughout the phonics sessions each week to give each child a solid grounding in phonics. Children in FS2 also have a weekly maths mission, which provides a purpose for learning and applying all maths skills. In FS2 children are given the chance to read weekly through guided reading sessions or individual reading of their reading book. All direct taught sessions are carefully planned and tailored for each class using previous assessments of the children’s knowledge, skills and ability. Planning is changed and tailored regularly and in response to the result of taught sessions, ensuring all teaching and learning is relevant and challenging for each child.
Project Based Learning and Exhibits
The school as a whole have embraced the Project Based Learning (PBL) approach to teaching and learning. Each project aims to give a real purpose and real experiences, with all teaching and learning building up to a final exhibition. Each project starts with the final exhibition in mind, which then generates an essential question. This is then broken down into different focuses, each of which provides different skills or opportunities that build into or towards the final exhibition. Each exhibition is different and tailored around the different projects that the children are immersed in. We extend an invitation to all parents in the class to attend each exhibition their children have contributed towards, sharing and celebrating each and every child’s work and learning.
Visits and Visitors
The part of visits and visitors plays a very important role in the Early Years at Yarborough academy, as these are seen as an opportunity to further develop our children’s view of their world or community. Each term the children are given the opportunity to widen their experience through either visits to specific areas (e.g. the seaside, local farms, Wildlife parks or Lincoln Castle) or have visitors invited into the school who are seen as experts in their field. Each of these visits are visitors are carefully planned and tailored to the project the children are actively learning.
As well as carefully planning these experiences we ensure that all ratios are matched for the year group carefully. We ensure that there is a ratio of 1:5 with the Reception class and 1:3 with the children in Nursery. We encourage parental support with trips where possible.
Our Early Years classrooms exploration time is an important role in our PBL work, created and organised in ways that totally immerse the children into the project. In addition, these rooms are organised with defined areas with clearly labelled resources to ensure that children can access these easily and confidently. All rooms in the Early Years are planned carefully, ensuring that the areas not only continue to immerse the children in the project and continue any learning as a result of PBL, but also give the children the opportunity to access all seven areas of learning. Classrooms have the opportunity for children to experience writing, mathematics (and numicon), construction, small world, role play, creative and fine motor skills.
The outdoor area is as important as the indoor environment and is something we continue to develop, ensuring that we take out the project based learning as much as possible, creating the links between the indoor and outdoor environments.
Assessments, Observations and Learning Journeys
Assessment is an essential and important part of the Early Years for children’s learning and development. This involves practitioners observing children in a variety of opportunities to gain an understanding of each child’s level of understanding. This happens live throughout any taught session as well as during free flow times when children are embedding and extending any previous learning. These observations and assessments will then be used to shape and alter any future learning.
Observations are taken using the 2Simple to build a profile app, which allows us to observe, take photos and make notes while observing what the children are doing or saying. This allows us to build up a picture in a variety of opportunities and areas and comment on what we feel are the next steps for the children. We are then able to share these experiences with the children’s parents sending each child’s learning journey via email. This is sent in a 3-week cycle, with all observations being sent that were recorded during that 3-week period.
On entry to Nursery a baseline assessment is carried out for each child, using assessment from taught sessions and observations captured during on 2Simple. These assessments are collated and put into a tracking tool called Otrack, this allows use to collate all the data and assessments for each child measuring progress and highlighting children that are achieving more than expected or less than expected, which then allows us to tailor the project or curriculum accordingly for each individual child. These assessments are input into Otrack at the end of each term throughout FS1 and FS2. At the end of FS2 (Reception) each child is assessed against each of the 17 Early Learning Goals (ELG). They are assessed as either emerging, expected or exceeding the ELG for each of the 17 areas of learning and a report is given to parents informing them about their child’s learning and progress in each of the areas of learning.
During the summer term of Reception Pira and Puma assessments are completed for literacy and maths, in order to inform Year 1 teachers and to aide transition.
Each term the assessments made are collated and provision maps are created for each class, these provide a basis for the conversation during provision meetings with the Head Teacher and Assessment Lead teacher, looking at what is being put into place to support or extend any children within the class.
Role of Staff and Key Workers
The role of each teacher is to ensure that each child’s care and development is carefully catered for through exploration time, project and other experiences. Each adult aims to develop a positive relationship with each child in the group, as we believe that a happy and confident child is a child that is ready to learn. We actively seek positive relationships with the parents as well as the children.
Relationship with Parents and Carers
We believe that parents and carers are a child’s first educator and so we aim to work very closely with parents. We are currently working on developing ways in which parents can contribute more to their child’s learning journey. At the end of each project we invite parents into school to take part in the final exhibition, looking at and experiencing the work that their children have been completing during the term. We have been developing stay and play sessions, which have provided the parents with the opportunity to help their child create something in preparation for the final exhibition. We have also got plans to invite parents into Nursery and Reception in order to allow the parents to observe an early maths or phonics session, which will then help them to understand how we teach these particular skills, with the aim of this being continued when they go home.
We have several transitions throughout the Foundation Stage that we manage with care. The first transition is that transition into Nursery, which is very often some children’s first experience of any type of setting or school. For this transition 2 ‘little seedlings’ sessions are planned alongside the attached children’s centre, in which parents and their children are invited to a teddy bears picnic. The 2nd session involves children joining in with a fun activity with the early years staff whilst parents speak to our learning mentor about any queries or questions they may have. These sessions provide an invaluable opportunity for the children and parents to meet the adults in the setting and become familiar with the environment. During these ‘Little Seedlings’ sessions we also arrange times for a home visit, in which the schools learning mentor and nursery teacher will visit the child and parent in their own home, talking more in depth about the school and providing an opportunity to complete the relevant forms that need to be completed for the schools records. This also provides a time to become familiar with the parent and child, developing the positive relationships from the outset.
The second transition that occurs during Early Years is the transition from Nursery to Reception, this jump from part time schooling to full time can be very daunting for both parents and their children and we aim as a school to ensure that any transition is as smooth and comfortable as possible. In order to do this we invite the parents into a transition meeting during the summer term to provide the parents with information about the school, the curriculum and PBL. We also have the opportunity to talk about other general information subjects, such as school dinners, reading books and an opportunity to meet their child’s new class teacher. We also invite the children to a transition day, which is an opportunity to hook these children into their new project when they start school in September.
There are transition meetings planned during the summer term between nursery and the new class teacher in Reception, allowing the nursery teachers to provide further information about each child’s development and pass on any other important information about each child (e.g. medical, SEN, EAL, etc.).
The third and final transition is that between Reception and Year 1. During this transition the children are invited to attend two transition days in which the children are hooked into their new project and have an opportunity to spend more time with their new class teacher. We also have an opportunity for Reception teachers and Year 1 teachers to meet and inform the child’s new teacher about each child’s level of development, ELG achievement and any other information about each child (e.g. medical, SEN, EAL, etc.).
Children learn best when they are happy, safe and feel secure. We aim to ensure that all children feel happy, safe and secure through the continuous development of positive relationships between children and staff as well as relationships with their peers. We follow the safeguarding and welfare requirements detailed in the Early Years Foundation Stage Guidance (2014).
It is important to note that all staff are given a school registered iPad in which they use to take photos for our assessment app 2Simple to Build a Profile. All data taken for these assessments are stored in the cloud and do not remain in these devices. Any data stored within the 2Simple system is password protected and encrypted.
Our school has a rigorous safeguarding policy and procedures that are used to identify anyone at risk of harm or radicalisation, this sets out a clear procedure for reporting any concerns from minor to major. All staff are regularly trained in BASICs Safeguarding, which is updated in a regular basis. All staff are trained in Team Teach, which trains staff in ways to handle children that are at risk of harming themselves or others, and again this training is regularly updated and refreshed. The school has rigorous checks when employing members of staff, ensuring that they have the relevant qualifications and are DBS checked. All DBS checks are updated in a rolling basis as required.
As a school we promote the Secrets of Success (and the Characteristics of Effective Learning), ensuring that children have a wide range of experiences and are exposed to different ideas, cultures and experiences. This is all part of our curriculum approach of PBL, which allows us to widen our children’s bank of experiences in a safe and secure environment, developing their ideas and experiences through careful planning of PSED and UTW, which then feed into our Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural curriculum.
We have an e-safety policy which stipulates and advises how to keep children safe when online, which is available on our schools website http://www.yarboroughacademy.co.uk/about-our-academy/our-policies/. All staff are regularly made aware of how to keep safe online, and have training around this. This is also regularly promoted throughout the school during e-safety weeks. The school as a whole also has a filtering system that blocks any unknown or suspect websites. However, professional judgement is always advised and promoted throughout the school.
Health and Safety
Within the school we follow a set of guidelines regarding different aspects of Health and Safety.
- Healthy school meals – our children when they enter Reception are entitled to a free school meal and are provided with this. The school meals are carefully catered and follow a healthy food model.
- Healthy snack – Fruit and milk are provided and are available throughout Nursery and Reception for children to eat. We also encourage children to try new or more exotic types of food/fruit.
- Accidents and First aid – There is a trained Paediatric First aider on site at all times. All first aid cupboards are clearly labelled and regularly updated. All accidents are recorded and parents are informed of any accidents. If a more serious accident occurs (e.g. significant bump, scrape or graze) parents will have a phone call home to inform them of anything that has happened before the end of the session.
- Nappies – We encourage all parents to ensure their children are potty trained before they start nursery, but in the event that this is not possible, we will put into place a care plan which will ensure that the child is well looked after and regularly changed. We also work along side the local children’s centre to encourage and help parents to potty train their children.
- Fire alarms – A fire alarm practice is organised at least once a term and all of these are timed and recorded. We have set fire doors throughout the setting and the caretaker carries out regular safety checks.
Child Protection and Safeguarding – We have a very clearly set out safeguarding policy, which is available on our website (http://www.yarboroughacademy.co.uk/about-our-academy/our-policies/), our Safeguarding officers are Mrs Hannah Albery (Head teacher) and Mrs Elizabeth Cox (Deputy Head Teacher).