Welcome to our EYFS
Our ethos in Early Years is to support children’s personal, social, and emotional development so that they feel safe and secure and are ready to learn.
The Early Years curriculum has been carefully developed to ensure it meets the needs of our pupils and the community we serve. Our curriculum was designed to give all pupils, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge, self-belief, and enriching opportunities they need to succeed in life. Children deserve an education rich in wonder and memorable experiences that allows children's natural creativity and curiosity to flourish, alongside the purposeful acquisition of skills and knowledge. We believe that an education that does all of this gives children the best chance to become well-rounded, happy individuals, ready to succeed in an ever-changing world.
We promote a practical, playful approach to learning, based on the needs and interests of our pupils, and is delivered mainly through topic-based planning where a book is the core focus of the topic. Through a combination of teacher input and continuous provision opportunities, learning is planned to encourage pupils to develop their learning independently (child-initiated activities, CIL) through exploration and challenge across the seven areas of learning.
We have also ensured the EYFS team works closely with KS1 to develop consistency and cohesion across the year groups as part of the focus on progression and sequencing of all subjects.
The ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ are at the heart of our Early Years Curriculum, to ensure there is a clear progression for all the areas of learning.
At Bushey Heath EYFS, we offer a curriculum which is broad and balanced, and which builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children, whatever their starting points. We encourage and develop pupil’s confidence by helping them to develop a strong, positive sense of self. We build good relationships with our pupils and give them ownership of their environment through pupil voice which enables them to feel secure in their surroundings.
The new EYFS framework 2021 supports our creative approach to teaching and provides opportunities for more meaningful interactions with our pupils. This supports a deeper knowledge of individual pupil’s development across the EYFS.
Our learning environments, both inside and outside are stimulating, exciting, and relevant, giving our pupils the skills to be confident and curious, explore and learn from the world around them. We encourage real life skills, for example, making sandwiches in the Rainforest Cafe, tinkering with real car parts in our Bushey Heath Garage, building on skills in our woodwork area to caring for our school chickens in our nature garden.
The classrooms are well stocked with high quality books for the different topics, which supports subject-specific vocabulary. The teaching of reading supports pupils to develop their word reading and comprehension skills through high-quality discussion to foster the love and enthusiasm for reading at the earliest stages. We do this through regular 1:1 reading as well as whole class shared reading and stories read by their teacher. Reading books are sent home and are matched to pupil’s abilities.
We teach our pupils to read and write through Essential Letters and Sounds phonics. Pupils are taught phonics through phonemes (sounds) associated with graphemes (letters). These can be pronounced in isolation and blended together (synthesised). Pupils are also encouraged to use their phonic knowledge during their daily focused writing activities. Phonics is embedded in children's child-initiated learning, eg if the phoneme being taught in reception is ‘h’ then we may add horses to the small world, hammer to the woodwork bench and ham or honey sandwiches to the Rainforest Café in Reception.
Writing is developed through mark making. We model and encourage writing for a purpose e.g. a shopping list, letter writing, messages to parents etc. Writing opportunities are in all areas within the classroom inside and out to encourage independent mark making during CIL. Large movements are encouraged through our large construction area outside, which contributes to supporting children’s gross motor skills, which are all vital for children to write.
Mathematics is taught through daily dedicated sessions, following the White Rose Maths scheme and using Numberblocks as an additional mathematics teaching material. These sessions are carefully planned for using concrete resources to build on prior learning and real life experiences. This starts with mastering numbers 0-5 and then progresses through to 0-10 and 0-20. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences.
Behaviour for learning is excellent, pupils listen, and concentrate well. The EYFS environment supports pupils to feel emotionally secure which contributes to character development. The school’s Learning Behaviours are well embedded within the EYFS, pupils are curious and ‘have a go’, they are resilient because they remain positive and keep trying, they become resourceful as they learn to make links and solve problems. This year we are further developing the outdoor provision to strengthen our vision of developing real life experiences.
Pupils have opportunities to share their learning with their parents and carers through ‘Tapestry’, an online platform. Parents are invited into school to look at the children’s learning weekly and can leave positive comments on Tapestry. During Covid, the parental engagement with Tapestry was actively promoted, this was a strong link for all children in EYFS while parental contact in school is reduced. We also have a Twitter page where children’s learning and successes are celebrated. Nursery Twitter page: https://twitter.com/nurserybh Reception Twitter page: https://twitter.com/nearycohen
The strong partnerships with parents and carers is important to all staff in EYFS. We encourage both parents and children to come for a school visit. This visit is then followed by a parent and teacher evening where more information is given, and parents have the opportunity to have their questions answered. As of September 2022, Nursery staff will be undertaking home visits and Reception staff will visit Nursery settings for children not already a member of our Nursery. The EYFS team has produced as booklet to explain how the EYFS works and how parents and carers can best support their children. During COVID-19 staff prepared videos for all new families, so they could see the staff and the environment when they were unable to visit.
We are planning to restart our ‘stay and play’ sessions for nursery in the Spring term. This will allow parents to join in learning activities alongside their children and share the nursery experience. Reception, pre covid were holding Phonic and Maths sessions for parents so they can better support their children at home. During Covid, where parents have been unable to come into school, teachers have prepared videos and learning materials that have been sent home instead.
All pupils achieve well regardless of their starting points. In 2018/19 the school was above national and local data with 77% of pupils achieving ELGs, with LA and National averages at 72%. Our monitoring indicates that this upward trend will be set to continue, reflecting the improvements we have made to the quality of Education in the EYFS.
In 2020/21 although the Reception cohort was affected by the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, we implemented a robust recovery plan in place upon the return to school, which contributed to excellent outcomes for the Reception cohort of % ELGs.
Our pupils talk about what they are learning and explain it, they also take risks when exploring the unknown. Pupils are listened to, respected, and treated with kindness. They work independently to resolve disagreements and can be trusted to make the right choices. Pupils leave the Early Years as happy, inquisitive and successful learners.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the period of education from birth to 5 years. At BHPS, it starts in the Nursery class and ends in Reception.
The new framework for the EYFS was published 31 March 2021 and is effective from 1st September 2021. There is a strong emphasis on learning through play, both child initiated and planned play. The curriculum is delivered through a combination of whole class activities, adult led focused activities and child-initiated activities. The Department for Education Development Matters guidance was revised in July 2021.
The new EYFS framework has a stronger emphasis on the three prime areas which are most essential for children’s healthy development. These three areas are: communication and language; physical; and personal, social and emotional development.
Seven areas of learning in the EYFS
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication Development
- Physical Development
- Understanding of the world
- Expressive Arts and Designs
Assessment in the EYFS
In the EYFS the staff use an online learning journal for recording observations, photos and videos of the children across the seven areas of learning. We use our observations and teacher knowledge of the children to make a judgement of their development and how they are progressing in the seven areas of learning.