Children in Early Years at St John’s will be given a wide variety of structured play and practical experiences in all areas of the curriculum. They learn best when they are happy, safe and secure. To achieve this, consideration is given to the organisation of our settings and areas of learning. Every effort is made to encourage self-motivation and develop intellectual ability and aptitudes, taking into account different backgrounds. We value the importance of continuity and progression, building upon experiences provided for each child and ensuring that the transition into school from nursery and into Year 1 from Reception are as smooth as possible.
Children are offered a range of experiences, some of which are adult led. Activities are structured and show progression. Groups are flexible in size and include individual, small groups or larger groups, depending on the task in hand, and the children’s stages of development.
Four guiding principles shape our practice in early years. These are:
every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time.
Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates. We are inclusive and provide education and care for all children, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Curriculum Intent, At St John’s all children will:
Develop a range of communication skills, including speaking and listening and writing experiences.
Develop self-confidence and security.
Develop appropriate attitudes to learning. The experiences given to the child are intended to develop skills, concepts and attitudes. The skills include the social, practical and physical, communication, study and investigative skills. Attitudes are expressions of values and personal qualities that determine behaviour in a variety of situations. These include respect, tolerance, independence, perseverance and curiosity.
Develop an understanding of themselves in relation to people in their immediate environment and progressing to those in the wider world.
Acquire mathematical concepts such as sorting, matching, size, shape, number, counting and comparison.
Have the opportunity to work with computers and programmable toys. Choose and use tools and materials, exploring their potential for cutting, folding, joining and comparing.
Be encouraged to explore, question, predict, observe and investigate the world around them near and far, and their environment, past and present.
Acquire gross and fine motor skills through a range of experiences provided by indoor and outdoor play. Physical games and activities, music and movement, provide structured opportunities to improve gross motor control, self confidence and coordination.
Develop and extend their imaginative and creative abilities through the media of art, music, dance, stories and role-play.
Develop an awareness of personal safety and hygiene through structured play.
These principles allow us to provide a quality and consistency so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind.
Our long term overviews and plans help to structure our intent and implementation - Teach what? When? These are progressive from Nursery and support the mastery of skills for children on track to achieve early learning goals at the end of EYFS.
Observation checkpoints are used to check children are on track and highlight age appropriate stages and end points.
Please click on the following links for more information about the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum:
Key principles to help your child learn words
• Words are important
To learn well at school, children need to understand and speak many words. In particular: to progress with reading, children need to understand the words they read; to write well, they need a wide and varied use of words; in subjects such as maths and science, they need to understand the specific terms used.
• Home support for vocabulary makes a difference
Children will learn words in their Early Years setting, but if they also come across these words at home, they will learn them faster and better. Home and school working together gets to a place neither can alone.
• Have fun with words
By playing word games, children are also learning about words. We all know that children learn best when they are enjoying themselves. You do not need fancy games or gadgets to develop vocabulary; you just need a little conversation. Anyone can do that.
• It is about talking as much as reading and writing
Speaking and listening are the foundation skills for reading and writing. If your child has the word in their spoken vocabulary, it is much easier to understand when they come across it in reading. When reading with your child, talk about the words in the book.
• When talking about words, use comments rather than questions
Your child will come home with some activities to help learn new words, or specific words to talk about. To learn a word, your child needs to hear it lots of times first. Use the new word in the activities and in conversation, so that your child hears you use it. If they use the new word, notice and say, ‘Well done’. Avoid just asking, ‘What does that mean?’ because if he or she is still learning the word, this will put them under pressure and may put them off.
• Do a little every day
Word learning can happen everywhere, so build it into your routine, whenever and wherever it works for you. There will be times in the street, in the car and at bus stops when you can play a little word game. Stick the words your child is learning on your fridge, so that you remember to use them from time to time. Do whatever works for you, but do it every day.