In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) at Alban City School, our aim is to create a learning environment and build relationships which support, enhance and invite a child’s curiosity, confidence and individual competency to flourish regardless of backgrounds, circumstances or needs.
We follow ‘In the Moment Planning’, which is a model developed by Anna Ephgrave. Rather than adults deciding what children will be learning ahead of time and calling children to the adult to follow a pre-determined outcome, we engage with the children through play that they have chosen and teach the children ‘in the moment’. Therefore, through play, children have access to all aspects of the curriculum, all of the time, without limits, imposed outcomes or adult agenda. This means that we can meet the needs of individuals more effectively, with them being highly engaged and motivated to do what they are doing, as we are targeting their own very specific next step in learning.
We aim to work collaboratively with parents and carers to encourage independent, enthusiastic learners who thrive and reach their full potential.
It is our intent that children who enter our EYFS begin their lifelong learning journey by developing physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally whilst also embedding a positive attitude to school and a love of learning.
Practitioners use Ferre Laevers’ ‘Leuven Scales’ descriptors to assess various levels of involvement, including within the interactions between adults and children, individual children in their play, and the environment/provision of the classroom. It is our intent that children are deeply engaged in what they are doing (level 4/5 involvement on Leuven scales) which means children’s brains are developing and children are learning.
To ensure children make outstanding progress in Alban City EYFS, it is our intent to take into consideration the starting points and needs of our pupils as they begin their learning journey. Every child has access to a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum, which prepares them for now and for the future in terms of opportunities and experiences.
Following children’s personal interests and individual needs allows us to plan and provide opportunities throughout our EYFS curriculum to support their learning and development and achieve their next steps.
Our EYFS curriculum aims to enable our children to be:
- Competent and creative learners; who are curious about the world around them.
- Secure and confident; who enjoy coming to school and learning new skills and knowledge building on their existing learning.
- Skilful communicators; who connect with others through language and play, ensuring that they play in a vocab rich environment.
It is our intent to ensure that all children will receive the teaching of early reading through systematic, synthetic phonics to learn to read words and simple sentences accurately by the end of Reception.
At Alban City School we follow the EYFS framework. This is made up of four overriding principles which our Early Years education is based upon:
- Unique Child – Every child is unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Positive Relationships – Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
- Enabling Environments – Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
- Learning and Development – Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in Early Years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
The curriculum provides a play-based and experiential learning environment, combined with direct-focussed teaching and basic skills, to ensure children make rapid progress before moving on to Year 1. The children in Reception are provided with opportunities in both indoor and outdoor provision. They engage in planned, well-sequenced, discrete teaching, such as phonics and maths, as well as self-initiated and free flow activities.
The learning experiences within our Early Years follow the seven areas of learning and development within the EYFS statutory framework. These areas are split into three prime areas and four specific areas. The three prime areas are those which the children should develop first and are considered most essential for the healthy development and future learning of our children. (See Development Matters 2021)
Practitioners select ‘focus children’ each week. When children are selected they are given a parent consultation sheet to take home and encouraged to send photos/videos into school from home. The information provided by the parents supports staff to find out about events that the child might not have revealed such as visiting relatives, pets etc. All adults who interact with a child contribute to the learning journeys. This process contains a moment in which the adult has to plan what to do as a result of what they have observed.
Staff will know children and parents well, through their interactions, which enables all children’s learning to be individualised and current to their understanding within that moment. Interactions between children and practitioners are more effective as there is less emphasis on recording every interaction, and more emphasis on modelling new skills and vocabulary through Ofsted’s definitions of teaching:
“Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term that covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, and providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment adults provide and the attention given to the physical environment, as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations.” Ofsted September 2019.
Practitioners use definitions of teaching to demonstrate ‘planning in the moment’ within recorded observations to demonstrate impact.
Children benefit from meaningful learning across the curriculum and staff plan resourcefully for opportunities for communication, sustained shared thinking and physical challenge to build on existing skills taking into account the Characteristics of Effective Learning.
Rich first hand experiences (inside, outdoors, visitors and school trips) take place regularly to widen experiences, awe and wonder. Exploratory learning and thinking creatively including problem solving across all areas of learning. New vocabulary and concepts through reading will excite and engage all learners, which includes staff modelling standard English and asking high quality questions.
The curriculum promotes and supports children’s emotional security and development of their character, enabling children to take risks in a safe and secure environment. It supports children to be active and to develop physically, including giving clear messages to children about why it is important to eat, drink and exercise as well as to be kind to others.
The environment allows children to revisit their experiences over and over again, until they become masters; individualised learning of the children will be revisited and demonstrated through being deeply engaged in play.
Our children will grow to be confident, competent lifelong learners and good citizens, and understand the value of using their own expertise to support their peers.
Children use the environment effectively to demonstrate their own interests and know how to move forward within their learning.
The children at Alban City experience a smooth transition from their previous setting to Reception and beyond. Effective communication and collaboration ensures the children leave the EYFS with a solid foundation of learning of which to build upon.
We use learning journals across the EYFS which evidence to the children and their families the successes of the children throughout their time in Early Years.
As a team, we carry out regular internal moderation sessions and also ensure that staff attend external meetings and training to ensure that we feel confident with our judgements and that these judgements are consistent with a range of other settings. Assessment starts with careful observations which are then used to inform planning, both discrete teaching and skills and planning in the moment.
Learning and teaching is thus effective when children feel a sense of belonging, curiosity and competence showing resilience and tenacity. Children are observed to be engaging in ‘level 4/5 involvement’ which means their whole brain is active.
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. Progress towards meeting the Early Learning Goals at the end of their Reception year will ensure that our children secure a positive disposition to learn throughout their education at Alban City School and beyond.
- Reception Curriculum Overview (412KB)