At Carlton Miniott Primary Academy our curriculum intent is informed by the four principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
A Unique Child – Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
In our reception class we aim to develop;
- Children who are happy, active, engaged and curious.
- Children who are confident to take risks, accept challenge and seek solutions.
- Children who build resilience, perseverance and growth mind-set.
- Children who think creatively and imaginatively.
- Children who are safe and secure, physically and emotionally, have clear boundaries and behave very well.
- Children who get on well with one another and are polite and friendly.
Positive Relationships- Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and teachers.
In our Reception Class we aim to ensure that we have;
- A teaching team that shares a vision and is committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for every child.
- Relationships involving children, adults, parents and carers that are warm and respectful.
- Children and families who are welcomed, known and nurtured by staff.
- Parents and carers who are valued and supported as partners, engaging in their children’s learning.
- Consistent routines and high expectations of behaviour.
- Close links with feeder nurseries and pre-schools fostering mutual respect.
Enabling Environments- The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s leaning and development.
In our Reception Class we aim to provide;
- A learning environment that is inviting, exciting, inspiring and challenging.
- High quality resources, beautifully presented, that stimulate curiosity and spark the imagination.
- Learning opportunities that are carefully planned and adapted to meet children’s needs.
- Routines that allow children time and space to pursue interests and fascinations.
Learning and development- Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and interconnected.
In our Reception Class we aim to provide;
- Transition arrangements and information sharing that is timely, efficient and effective.
- Effective systems of formative assessment that enable teachers to support the development of the whole child, taking into account their well-being, interests and learning characteristics.
- Effective systems to track progress of individuals and groups to ensure every child makes good progress across all areas of development.
- An inspiring and engaging curriculum which builds on what children know and can do.
- Quality first teaching that overcomes barriers to learning and enables all children to make good progress.
At Carlton Miniott Primary Academy we adhere to the requirements for learning and development set out in the Statutory Framework for the early years foundation stage (2017).
We plan carefully to ensure that children’s learning is effective, exciting, varied and progressive. Effective learning builds on and extends what children know and can already do. Our curriculum is mapped out across the year to ensure that children have opportunities to develop knowledge and skills in all the areas of learning, progressively building towards the Early Learning Goals and beyond. Our over-arching themes enable us to plan experiences that will excite and motivate children to investigate and explore new learning. Our themes are responsive to children’s interests, current events and the world around us.
We aim to deliver all the areas of learning through planned, purposeful play, with a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities. We recognise that many areas of learning are best developed through play, supported by sensitive adult interactions; some of the most effective learning is planned ‘in the moment’ when teachers spot a learning opportunity and respond with suggestions, questioning, modelling or by providing resources. Other aspects of learning are best delivered through direct teaching with many and varied opportunities to further develop these skills within our areas of provision. Time is allocated every day to the direct teaching of phonics, maths and reading. This teaching may be delivered to the whole class, small groups or individuals.
‘Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term which 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, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment they provide and the attention to the physical environment as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do as well as take account of their interests and dispositions to learning (characteristics of effective learning), and use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress.’ (Ofsted, 2015)
Our planning is informed by on-going formative assessment through observations and interactions. Evaluation of our observations enables us to understand and consider the current interests, development and learning needs of individuals and groups. All practitioners who work in Foundation Stage at our school are involved in this effective process.
Our classroom and outdoor areas are designed to maximise learning opportunities and to promote the characteristics of effective learning. Resources are organised into areas of continuous provision. Throughout the year resources are modified to offer progressively greater challenge. In each area the resources are presented in such a way that they can be accessed independently by the children. The use of shadowing, pictures, labels and numbers enables children to return items to the correct place and to ensure that nothing is missing.
Enhancements are added to the continuous provision in response to current interests or learning themes and serve as an invitation to learning. We recognise that, although we may have specific learning outcomes in mind when we add enhancements, the children may take their learning in a completely different direction. We accept and value child-led learning and aim to support and extend it ‘in the moment.’
When children enter the Reception class an initial assessment is made to determine each child’s level of development against the seventeen aspects of learning. Account is taken of the records passed on from pre-school providers, information from parents, via the “I am Special” booklet, and observations of the children playing and learning. National baseline materials are used to ascertain specific information about maths and literacy development alongside play-based materials and activities developed by the Reception team. Baseline assessments are completed within the first three weeks of the term.
Each week, focus activities are planned for the children with pre-determined learning objectives. Following the Elevate ‘Keep Up Not Catch Up Approach’, children are assessed against these and any difficulties are noted. Plans are put in place to address these, either through further exploration, in whole class time or through the use of five-minute boxes. Some children benefit from pre-teaching, particularly mathematical concepts and vocabulary.
On-going formative assessments are documented in the children’s learning journeys on Tapestry. Photographs, annotations, observations, learning stories and records of teaching interactions are included to build a picture of each child’s learning and development. The learning journeys are shared with parents regularly and parents are encouraged to comment and contribute. The children have time to reflect on their learning and their comments are also included.
Half-termly assessments are made to ascertain progress in phonics (Letters and Sounds) and maths (CLIC).
Summative assessments are recorded on Insight each term and are reported and shared with parents at termly consultation evenings.
Pedagogy and Subject Knowledge
At Carlton Miniott Primary Academy we recognise that effective teaching in the reception year lays the foundations of successful learning and contributes to pupil outcomes and the outcomes of our school. We have a rigorous approach to target setting and staff appraisal and high expectations of pupil progress.
The Early Years team leader keeps up to date with current developments through reading and research and accesses regular training and updates through North Star Teaching Alliance and Elevate Subject Leader Development days. The Early Years leader shares new knowledge, reading materials and training with the team. We greatly value the contribution of all members of our team and invest in training for our teaching assistants. We attend Elevate Network events as a team.
Transition from pre-school into the reception class is carefully managed to ensure that children and their parents are supported emotionally and socially through this time of change.
Once the children receive a place at our school, an initial meeting is held for parents and carers. The transition process is explained, administrative information is shared and the parents and carers have a tour of the school and spend time in the reception classroom.
Following this, the reception class teacher visits all the children at their pre-schools. She/he takes along a photo album depicting aspects of school life and talks it through with the children. Each child has their own copy to take home to share with their parents and carers.
The children are invited to come to school for two taster mornings. The first morning is with half of the class and the second is with the full class. Children are carefully grouped for the visit to ensure that they attend with at least one friend. Children who do not yet know any of the other children are identified and supported. At the end of the second visit the children are invited to stay for lunch along with their parents and carers.
Each child is given a goody bag with an invitation to bring it back in September full of ‘treasures’ collected over the summer. The items in the bag then form a link between home and school and allow us to have meaningful conversations with the children about familiar people and places.
At the end of the Reception year the children spend three mornings playing and learning in Class 1. The class teachers meet to discuss each child’s learning and development. A pupil progress meeting is held with the headteacher and SENCO to flag up any concerns or specific support needs as the children move into year 1.
The impact of our Early Years approach is that when children leave Reception, they are:
- Happy, resilient, capable, confident and self-assured individuals.
- Strong, inquisitive and independent learners who thrive in all areas of learning and development.
- Capable of developing and sustaining positive relationships within their school community and beyond.
- Ready to face the challenges of Y1 and beyond.