INTENT - Our intended early years curriculum...
At Allesley Hall Primary School, our Early Years Curriculum is designed to encourage independent, happy, positive learners and embraces the natural enthusiasm, curiosity and energy that our youngest children bring to our school. We recognise the importance of building the foundations of learning for our children and aim to give them the best chance to succeed regardless of the individual starting points, experiences and differing needs with which our children join our school. Our curriculum is well balanced and flexible, and aims to create an ambitious, challenging and supportive environment for all our children.
We want to nurture well- mannered, well-rounded, confident children who can communicate well and show pride in themselves and others. Our youngest children are very much a part of our small, Allesley Hall family and we build a sense of belonging and positive relationships with the rest of our school. Our children are encouraged to show kindness, responsibility and respect for all others and for our beautiful school environment. We develop good relationships between staff, children, our supportive families and our local community, as well as introducing our children to their place in the diverse wider world in which they live.
IMPLEMENTATION - what our curriculum looks like...
At Allesley Hall Primary School our curriculum is guided by and meets the requirements of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2021. Our curriculum develops and builds through the year working towards, but not solely defined, by the Early Learning Goals of the framework. We aim for all our children to develop lifelong learning skills and be confident, motivated learners ready for the Year 1 curriculum and the next stage of their learning journey.
Our children learn very much through a careful, but flexible, balance of adult-directed and child-initiated activities and challenges which include whole class, small group and individual focused teaching opportunities, alongside the children’s own initiated play, exploring, co-operation and spontaneous learning which is so crucial our children’s development and learning. Routine and structure is as important as spontaneity and flexibility to make the most of every opportunity that arises. At Allesley Hall, we have high expectations of behaviour within our indoor and outdoor classroom and around our school. Our children respond well to our routines, expectations and responsibilities from the outset, appropriate to their age and development. Our curriculum builds and evolves over the course of our Reception year as our children develop their skills and grow as independent listeners and learners. The balance of more formal directed teaching, group activities and independent play learning opportunities, will change and adjust as children become ready for Year 1 teaching and learning.
Children join Allesley Hall from a wide range of both local, and out-of-catchment, pre-school or nursery settings, child minders or other experiences. We begin a comprehensive transition programme as soon as school places are offered in April and build on this towards our September start. Our aim is to gather as much information as possible about our children, identifying any needs or concerns quickly and begin to build crucial relationships with our new families and children. We want our children to feel as happy, secure and excited about starting school as is possible. Once in school, our early curriculum is designed to build routines, set out class expectations, build independence and develop friendships and relationships to help our children feel settled, confident, happy, excited and ready to learn. Each year, the curriculum is adapted where necessary to meet the needs of our varying cohorts.
Our classroom environment is organised to invite, excite and motivate learning opportunities for children as well as practising and developing previously taught skills. The children are encouraged to take responsibility for looking after the classroom and it is designed to promote independence and cooperation wherever possible within our children. Our curriculum is designed to use both our indoor and outdoor classroom areas to provide a wide range of learning opportunities and skills both in child-initiated activities and in directed teaching across all our areas of learning. Our classroom areas are used flexibly and are timetabled in various ways depending on our learning focus and skills of the day or week as well as available adult supervision and children’s safety. Adults may been engaged in direct teaching of groups, in supporting a group activity with a focused skill, or in supporting play activities by maximising opportunities to engage with children in talk and to extend and challenge their thinking and ideas. We aim to extend our children’s experiences by inviting visitors from our community into school, by exploring and celebrating differing cultures within our class and by taking trips around our local area e.g. to our local library and theatre, or further afield to the farm, to enhance curriculum opportunities. To enhance our curriculum further, we involve ourselves at an appropriate level with many whole school special days or events throughout the year, such as fund raising for Children in Need, Enterprise days, visiting authors, World Book day, Remembrance Day or the arrival of the Olympic Torch.
Within our curriculum, the week and days are planned and timetabled to include Daily Phonics and Number whole class direct teaching. This will include new teaching as well as revisiting and rehearsing previously taught skills. Oral rehearsal, active learning and games are a large part of our curriculum. Opportunities to develop and support these skills will then continue in the children’s own working time in the classroom environment and in focused group sessions. As a small school and staff unit in Reception, we can respond quickly and flexibly in our curriculum as needs arise and change e.g. providing opportunities for spontaneous learning on children’s interest, opportunities for PSED needs , providing more challenge or repeating/ revisiting as necessary for identified needs. Other opportunities for learning throughout the classroom are planned for in our Curriculum Themes. These are often based around a story/stories of interest, the time of year or a festival, a particular event or something in response to the children’s interest. Care is taken to plan meaningful activities around these themes which will challenge children’s thinking, develop their interests and practise skills in other curriculum areas such as art, drama, music. Adults also use these opportunities to develop school values such as self-confidence, perseverance, resilience and to celebrate the children’s successes. Our daily fruit circle is a time to talk and reflect, to share, discuss and a time to listen to others.
The teaching of early Reading, as well as developing a love of stories and language, is a huge part of our Reception Curriculum at Allesley Hall. Alongside our daily Phonics sessions, the children also have a minimum of two group reading sessions each week. We use the Oxford Reading Tree Sounds and Letters Programme and work in partnership with parents to help the children to reach their maximum potential as readers within the Reception year. Groups and Book Levels are organised to support, rehearse and challenge the children at the levels they are currently working out. Books are read both in school and at home and a weekly dialogue and support with parents takes place though their reading diaries, recording progress and areas to work on as necessary. Targeted groups and intervention can be implemented for those at risk of falling behind. We also promote and share our love of stories, language and reading at every opportunity we can. We enjoy rhymes, poems, songs and role play with the children to develop a sense of language, rhyme and language and their ability to speak aloud. We love to notice, collect, talk about, learn and use new words and exciting vocabulary whenever we can. Children are encouraged to enjoy books in their own time and within quiet reading times. Books are often used to stimulate thinking and inspire activities around the classroom and we listen to stories purely for pleasure every day, both teacher led as well as children’s choices. We aim to introduce a diverse variety of reading materials to offer new experiences as well as enjoying old favourites.
In our Reception Maths curriculum, our aim is for all pupils to develop a deep understanding and strong grounding in number to allow them to excel mathematically. We want them to develop mastery of numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within them, along with the associated mathematical language. We use the manipulation of various concrete objects in practical activities and games within direct teaching and group activities as well as in independent working time for children to play and explore with. Alongside this we use every opportunity in our day to use songs and rhyme about number, the oral rehearsal of skills as well as talk about number and practical number problems relevant to our day.
At Allesley Hall, we are lucky to have beautiful, extensive grounds around our school to use and explore, in addition to our own Reception indoor and outdoor classroom. Our curriculum is designed to use these as much as possible and for our children to benefit from fresh air, exercise, physical development as well as exploring and appreciating our outdoor natural world. Curriculum examples include Autumn and Spring walks, minibeasts hunts, outdoor natural Art, bird watching as well as more spontaneous opportunities such as exploring snow, ice and frost or building dams in flooding puddles! P.E is timetabled 2-3 times each week and a developing programme of sports skills is taught by our specialist P.E teacher on our playground and in our grounds. Our curriculum also includes timetabled Outdoor Adventure sessions for example Woodland Adventures, Team building, Rope Walks and Den building activities. Children learn to keep safe and healthy and learn to take and manage risks.
IMPACT - how we measure our early years curriculum...
The impact of our EYFS curriculum at Allesley Hall School is reflected in the happy, well-balanced , motivated and confident children who leave us in July to transition into Year 1. We are proud of the progress they make during the year and the very positive comments we receive from parents. Our children are often amazing role models for others in school.
The Reception team is a small unit and we work very closely together all day with our children. This means we get to know the children extremely well in all areas of learning and are in a privileged position to very quickly assess and identify the impact of our Early Years Curriculum and the progress of our children.
All adults constantly assess at first hand through questioning and talking with children, both in our support roles and in our adult-led teaching and group work, by looking and talking with children during their child- initiated activities and by observations of the children’s behaviour, language and interactions with others. Planned opportunities for assessments within classroom activities also take place regularly to check understanding of key concepts or learning e.g. phonics sounds , tricky words . Staffs are experienced at assessing the learning successes of the children along with noticing any difficulties, misconceptions, barriers to learning and the next steps for children. We are skilled at adapting our teaching, support and questioning ‘in the moment’ and much of this happens on a daily basis throughout the classroom to move the children forward in their learning. Where necessary, children are scaffolded to support them to keep pace with their peers and if necessary intervention is identified either within class or raised with Sendco or at Pupil progress meetings. Reading Groups are reviewed half-termly (or sooner if necessary) to allow for fluidity and the changing pace of progress in reading of individual children.
Our youngest children thrive on praise and success and this is constantly shared and fed back to the children throughout the day with strategies such as team points, Wow stops, stars of the day as well as powerful words of praise to individuals and in front of class and responsibilities such as Experts and Captains of the day. Other successes are shared in assemblies and with parents in certificates and on our Seesaw Platform. Learning is also shared every week on our Seesaw platform which encourages dialogue with children and between parents and staff.
Communication and dialogue of day-to-day assessments is essential between our Reception team and happens throughout and at the end of the day to prepare for the following day’s learning. Planning and activities are adapted as necessary. Learning is recording in Learning Journals for each child. These contain samples of the children’s work across the whole curriculum, including Writing and Number as well as some photos of curriculum activities. Children’s voice and their comments are also recorded along with contributions from home. Not all work will be recorded unless appropriate and meaningful and it will not distract from the crucial interactions with children within the classroom. At Allesley Hall we are proud of our Learning Journals, as are the children. They are an important record for the children and families to celebrate, to promote talk and discussion, to see and celebrate visually progress that has been made and to identify and practise key skills and next steps. Parents are encouraged to contribute to Learning Journals though their ‘Wow moments’ from home or from online contributions on our Seesaw platform. A dialogue also takes place in Reading Diaries and also informal discussions with parents at the end of the day as necessary.
Reception Baseline assessment takes place in line with Government requirements as soon as children start school alongside our own initial assessments. We aim to get to know children as quickly as possible and along with the information and discussions with pre-schools and parents , begin to plan appropriate teaching and learning for the children. We seek advice and expertise from relevant professionals e.g. Sendco, Speech and Language, where we feel it is relevant and necessary. We use our Teacher judgments against Development Matters guidance to help form an initial assessment level and use these each term to assess current levels, to identify gaps in learning and to identify those at risk of falling behind. Pupil progress meetings are a formal time to reflect and discuss children’s progress.
At the end of the year, an assessment of all children is made against the EYFS profile and shared in an end of year report with parents as well as senior school leaders. A transition meeting takes place with Year 1 staff to , so that transition to next year group is as seamless as possible. Within school, our assessments and judgments are reviewed with Year 1, in designated staff meetings, planned and monitored by a senior leader. We have a designated Early Years Governor who is building experience and supporting us in discussions and questioning.
Our aim is to build evidence for the new EYFS framework with other Early Years settings within our network and to moderate our judgments with them.
Giving our children a firm foundation for future learning is key to our long term educational provision at AHPS. The foundations of a child's learning is key to giving them the very best start for their future education.
When children start school at AHPS we undertake a detailed transition plan. We liaise closely with nursery schools and families to ensure we get a secure understanding of your child before they start school. This focus on transition is beneficial to the school, child and the family.