St Margaret Mary’s EYFS Curriculum Statement
We try to follow Jesus in everything we do.
Here at St Margaret Marys EYFS unit we want to empower our children to be independent and curious learners
We believe all children are entitled to a broad and rich curriculum that ignites wonder and allows children’s natural curiosity to flourish through enriching memorable learning experiences. We place great value on developing our children to be confident and independent learners, providing them with the skills, knowledge and understanding that they need to prepare them for key stage one and all future life-long learning and experiences.
We embed our school mission throughout our curriculum and ‘We try to follow Jesus in everything we do.’ We recognise that all children will join our EYFS at a different starting point and so we ensure the four overarching principles are used to support and shape the practice for all of our children, including those with SEND.
We use our virtues to set our high expectations for all children.
Our expectations are high and we strive to foster the development of the children through provision of a planned, engaging, stimulating, safe and secure environment, which is structured with developmental needs in mind. We also aim to stimulate emotional and spiritual growth through our Jesuit virtues.
At St Margaret Mary’s RC Primary School, our children are growing to be:
Grateful for our own gifts, for the gift of other people, and for the blessings of each day; and generous with our gifts, becoming men and women for others.
Attentive to our experience and to our vocation; and discerning about the choices we make and the effects of those choices.
Compassionate towards others, near and far, especially the less fortunate; and loving by our just actions and forgiving words.
Faith-filled in ours & their beliefs and hopeful for the future.
Eloquent and truthful in what we say of ourselves, the relations between people, and the world.
Learned, finding God in all things; and wise in the ways we use our learning for the common good.
Curious about everything; and active in our engagement with the world, changing what we can for the better.
Intentional in the way we live and use the resources of the earth, guided by conscience; and prophetic in the example we set to others
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. We value the importance for a love of reading and the impact this has on the development of language and progression of children’s knowledge and understanding across all of our EYFS areas of learning. We aim to provide a language rich environment for all our children where adults model correct spoken language. Staff encourage positive relationships where children can feel confident to engage in daily conversations and high-quality dialogue that will enable our children to articulate what they know and understand, develop their knowledge across all areas of learning and use the appropriate vocabulary needed to support learning.
We ensure our EYFS staff and learning environment meets the four overarching principles as set out in the new EYFS framework. We have a consistent approach to embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning – Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking.
At St Margaret Mary’s the delivery of our curriculum evolves as the children grow socially, emotionally and academically. It is fundamental that our experienced EYFS staff respond to and scaffold the children’s learning in a way that meets the individual needs and abilities of every child.
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed learning experiences. During our child-initiated learning time, we recognise the importance for ‘exploration’ and ‘learning through play’. Staff meet weekly to review the learning environment and respond to the learning interests of the children both indoors and outdoors. There is a continuous focus on enabling environments that provide cross curricular learning opportunities where children can be challenged, develop communication and language, form positive relationships and embed and extend knowledge and skills.
By developing positive relationships, staff follow an ‘in the moment’ learning technique, influenced by Anna Ephgraves theory. This enables our staff in their key worker roles to be responsive to the learning of individuals ensuring they make progress within the context, which is at the forefront of children’s interests and experiences. Our EYFS staff are skilled in creating enabling environments, which provoke language development, stimulate individual interests and provide instant next steps in the development of skills and learning experiences.
Working in partnership with parents is fundamental in our everyday practice. Therefore, we invite parents into school to deliver information workshops, observation ‘drop in’s’ where our parents can observe the teaching of phonics/maths and ‘parent meetings’ where the key worker will share and feedback the ‘In the moment planning’ learning experiences, as well as our parents evenings that co-inside the rest of our school.
We have carefully planned adult-directed teaching times on our timetable that considers the needs and abilities of all children across nursery and reception. We prioritise the importance of developing the prime areas of learning throughout our EYFS unit. Nursery have more adult led circle times and exploration that provides opportunities for PSE and C&L development, whereas reception will have weekly planned C&L and PSE circle times. We incorporate a daily focus on the development of physical activity. Our nursery children will alternate between gross and fine motor activities. In reception, we put great emphasis on the development of fine motor skills through our daily ‘fab five’ sessions and our children partake in a weekly PE session with a physical education specialist teacher alongside their class teacher.
Literacy lessons ensure we have at least one core text every half term. We use quality texts that can be applied across curriculum and follow up lessons/activities (even more so in reception) that include helicopter stories and enrichment and real life experiences. Staff share their love of reading through their enthusiasm of reading for pleasure and incorporating songs/rhymes and discussions in our daily practice.
We have just recently introduced Little Wandle systematic synthetic phonics programme to enhance and develop our Letters and Sounds phonic programme that which was already embedded across EYFS and Key stage 1. We continue to follow phase 1 phonics from Letters and Sounds in our nursery as well as introducing pupil’s to letter sounds using the songs and rhymes from Jolly phonics. Our nursery children share nursery rhyme packs with staff and parents before moving onto lilac band books where they are encouraged to develop book talk, story language, comprehension and aim to broaden children’s vocabulary. Only when our children are at the appropriate phonic stage will they begin a reading book with words. The delivery of our phonic teaching is specific to the phonic stages of our children and we continuously review this to ensure individual reading books and guided reading books (for reception) are matched appropriately.
We teach a maths mastery approach where we focus on a ‘number of the week’. We have a great emphasis on studying number and numerical patterns that link to shape space and measure so that our children develop deep understanding of number, problem solving skills and the acquisition of mathematical language. Our children learn through games and tasks using concreate manipulatives, which are rehearsed and applied to their own exploration and child-led learning. Prior to starting this approach our nursery children will engage in early mathematical experiences through counting songs and rhymes, exploring sorting, shapes, size, quantities and number.
We want to give our children the best possible learning opportunities and experiences and this includes our great outdoors. We recognise that our indoor and outdoor learning environments are of equal importance and offer learning opportunities that may differ as well as complement each other. We have a high focus on supporting and encouraging our children to investigate, climb, explore, touch, find, question and take risks.
Our children will grow spiritually and academically while they experience and live out our mission and virtues. This will be interweaved in our everyday experiences at St Margaret Mary’s through relationships, learning and experiences.
Our children will become curious and independent learners while accessing a broad and rich curriculum. They will acquire knowledge, skills and language development to articulate their needs, opinions, preferences and learning experiences that will prepare them for year 1 and all future learning.
Children will have access to an indoor and outdoor environment that is safe, secure for all, including disadvantaged, and SEND pupils that supports a language rich and stimulating learning experiences that allows children to reach their full potential.
Through the high expectations of staff, their knowledge of the new EYFS framework and developing a mastery approach to our curriculum, learning is built upon solid foundations, which are revisited and developed through a balance of child-led and adult-led learning experiences.
Staff will utilise our newly developed St Margaret Mary’s progress model, developed from the new Development Matters 2021 and the new Birth to five Matters non-statutory curriculum guidance documents.
Pupils learning is carefully monitored through our ‘in the moment’ planning/interactions, wow moment observations and examples of work, teacher/key worker assessments, and summative assessments in literacy, phonics and maths. Baseline assessments in the prime areas are also carried out across Nursery and Reception. Reception complete the new statutory Reception Baseline Assessment. Assessments will be used to influence the learning environments, responding to the learning needs of our children and their families. It allows us to provide instant next steps in learning and ensures teachable moments and adult-led sessions are pitched at a level that supports and build’s on children’s prior knowledge and skills and provides them with new learning opportunities and challenges.