Early Years Foundation Stage
At Cotham Garden’s Primary School, we provide a safe, happy and stimulated environment for all children to thrive. We want our children to be excited, engaged and confident learners.
We provide quality and consistent teaching and learning so that ever child makes good progress and no child gets left behind. We provide an exciting and ambitious curriculum with lots of different opportunities to learn and explore a variety of aspects of our world. We recognise and follow children’s interest to support the learning, consolidate and broaden their knowledge and understanding, to ensure children meet their next steps.
We believe that working closely in partnership with parents and carers is key to building on children’s emotional, physical and cognitive development.
During their time in Reception, we give children the best possible start to their school journey by helping them develop a sense of belonging within the school community. Throughout the year we support them with the knowledge and skills for a smooth transition into Year One.
At Cotham Gardens, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework.
We provide a curriculum that is based upon 'WOW' experiences and topics which engage the children. Whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas.
All areas of the EYFS curriculum are followed and planned for to ensure there is a broad, balanced and progression in the learning environment and curriculum. There are seven areas of learning and development that are important and inter-connected. However, the three prime areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
The Prime Areas are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
The Prime Areas are strengthened and applied through four Specific Areas:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
The timetable is carefully structured to provide children the balance between child-initiated and adult-initiated learning opportunities. The timetable changes throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of the children and in preparation for transition into Year One.
Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, related to others, set their own goals and solve problems. Every day we have extended periods of time where they can follow their own interest at their own pace. We believe that children learn best from activities and experiences which spark interest and inspire them. Using their interests as a starting point, we plan and provide activities that support child engaging in active experiences which they can explore and develop their learning to help make sense of the world. They have opportunities through their play to think creatively and critically alongside other children as well as on their own.
Adult-led learning can take the form of carpet times or in the form of focus tasks, which take place in small groups. There are four sessions a day that are focused on discrete teaching of specific knowledge and skills linked to the curriculum (e.g., Phonics, English, Maths and Funky Fingers). These sessions are designed to be active to ensure children also develop their understanding of behaviours that are helpful for learning (e.g., resilience, collaboration, creativity, reflection and communication).
Underpinning all learning and development is how a child engages with other people and their environment. These behaviours are known as the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and 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 environment is carefully resourced and planned to allow children to access a wide range of experiences independently. This is known as 'Learning Choices'. Through continuous formative assessment staff are able to monitor children’s progress, needs, and interests. Staff can then add enhancements and provocations to the provision - deepening the children’s learning, engagement and motivation.
Our areas of continuous provision include: graphics, reading, creative, maths, small world, role play, small and large construction, sand, water and mud kitchen. Lots of the areas in our indoor environment are also replicated in our outdoor environment which is used all year round in all weather conditions.
The children at Cotham Garden’s Primary School experience a smooth transition from joining into Reception and transitioning to Year One. Effective communication and collaboration ensure the children leave the EYFS with a solid foundation of learning of which to build upon.
As a team, we carry out internal moderation sessions, and also ensure that staff attend external meetings and training to ensure that we feel confident with our professional judgements and that these judgements are consistent with a range of other settings.
Assessment starts with daily observations which are then used to inform planning and facilitate children’s interests. We make formative assessments and actively adapt our teaching to support children’s next steps. Therefore, teaching and learning we provide is effective in helping children feel a sense of belonging, achievement and supporting them to develop life-long skills for learning.
Our summative assessment take place three times a year: Baseline, Upon entry to Reception, Mid-Point and End of Year. By monitoring assessment procedures regularly, we can effectively demonstrate what learning is taking place and how each child is progressing in all seven areas of the EYFS curriculum to ensure there is progress towards the Early Learning Goals.
The EYFS curriculum is measured by end of year assessment procedures that measure outcomes against all schools nationally. We measure the percentage of pupils achieving a Good Level of Development (GLD) by the end of the Reception year. At the end of the academic year 2021-22, 80% of our pupils achieved GLD.
When children leave Reception, not only are they Year One ready, but confident, competent learners with positive attitudes towards learning who have a strongly established understanding of our three Golden Rules: Be Kind, Be Responsible and Try Our Best.