Early Years Curriculum
The curriculum for children in Blue Whale class is taken from the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. This curriculum provides children with secure foundations for later learning through the following 7 areas of learning and development.
Children mostly develop these essential 3 prime areas first:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development.
Followed by these 4 specific areas of:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design.
Within these areas, Early Learning Goals outline the expected attainment at the end of the Early Years (Reception). At the end of the academic year, the class teacher completes a ‘Early Years Foundation Stage Profile’ for each child and this is used to inform future learning in Year 1.
'Leaders in the early years make sure that the curriculum develops children’s language effectively. As a result, children are confident, independent and achieve well. They make a good start in Reception.' OFSTED 2019.
What does learning in Early Years at KWS look like?
Continuous provision refers to the resources which are always available within the classroom for the children to access. We offer a range of areas for children to explore including a construction area, small world, art workshop, role play corner, writing table, tinker table, playdough zone, book corner and outdoor garden. This provision remains consistent for long periods of time enabling children to revisit and build upon previous learning, as well as to explore new learning within a familiar environment. We will ‘enhance’ these areas of provision by providing items or resources to stimulate discussion or play within the children’s current interests or our topic themes. We keep focused teaching sessions short and active to encourage the children to take control of their own learning and follow their own interests. This leads to happy and engaged learners who thrive at our school.
The children will have daily phonics for reading and daily phonics for writing sessions led by their class teacher. This will be followed by more personalised sessions at ‘tutor table’ so the teacher can move small groups of children on in their learning. If a child needs extra help with their phonics then an intervention may be given by the class teacher. Although we have very skilled teaching assistants we do believe that it is the teacher who is best placed to give this additional support.
Alongside the daily phonics for reading session we have a huge range of books which children can read for pleasure across the environment. We also have daily ‘book time’ sessions where we share a book as a class. This same book will be revisited every day that week but with a varying focus including book talk and vocabulary. Children will be given an individual reading book in line with their growing phonic knowledge and we will regularly hear them reading this book. We also have daily story time for hearing stories for pleasure and increasing the bank of stories children have heard.
We strongly believe that children should write for purpose and for pleasure. This means that in addition to daily phonics for writing sessions and tutor table time so encourage children to write within their time in continuous provision. We encourage this through the use of ‘play projects’. Each week we will offer a writing play project which is modelled by the teacher and will challenge the children to write for a purpose.
Everyday the children will have a focused maths session which will move children’s learning on in a range of small steps. These steps will increase over time as we build on children’s prior learning and they are able to grasp a range of new and increasingly complex new skills. We have a well equipped maths shelf within the classroom which offers plenty of opportunities for children to self explore maths.
To support us in delivering a well-balanced curriculum we use ‘play projects’ during the children’s continuous provision time. This links to the ‘book time’ book chosen for that week. Over the course of each term the books are carefully chosen to support the delivery of the whole curriculum; communication and language, personal, social and emotional development, physical development, literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design. Our play projects encourage children to ‘create’, ‘construct’, ‘write’ and ‘draw’ within the weekly theme.