The Early Years Curriculum
At The March CE Primary Academy, our aim is to create a learning environment and build relationships which support, enhance, and invite a child’s curiosity, confidence, and individual competency to flourish regardless of backgrounds, circumstances or needs. We work collaboratively with parents and carers to encourage independent, enthusiastic learners who thrive and reach their full potential. It is our intent that children who enter our EYFS begin their lifelong learning journey by developing physically, verbally, cognitively, and emotionally whilst also embedding a positive attitude to school and a love of learning.
To ensure children make outstanding progress in EYFS, it is our intent to take into consideration the starting points and needs of our pupils as they begin their learning journey. Every child has access to a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum which prepares them for now and the future in terms of opportunities and experiences. At The March CE Primary Academy, we recognise that every child is an exceptional individual. We believe that all children deserve an education that is rich in wonder and memorable experiences, that allows their natural creativity and curiosity to flourish. We put children at the heart of all we do. We provide a secure foundation for future learning and development within a safe, stimulating, and respectful environment that inspires exploration and encourages collaboration.
We ensure that our children experience an ambitious and inclusive curriculum that educates in knowledge, skills and understanding. It is designed to be creative, inspiring, and challenging, to provide all children with opportunities to be aspirational learners.
We create opportunities for children to communicate more easily through developing language and communication skills and specifically teaching vocabulary. We understand that language development is part of their holistic development, emerging from cognitive, emotional, and social interactions. Therefore, the social and cultural environment, the people in it and their interactions are fundamental to language development. We wish our children to believe in themselves, their abilities, and capabilities, to belong to the school learning community and the wider community. Therefore, our curriculum aims to embed opportunities to develop cultural capital through well-chosen texts, visits, and experiences. In addition, there are many opportunities for children to apply their learning in real life contexts and make links with the community around them as well as the wider world.
It is our intent to ensure that all children will receive the teaching of early reading through systematic, synthetic phonics, to learn to read words and simple sentences accurately by the end of Reception.
In Reception, children receive a carefully balanced diet of directed teaching in Phonics, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts which is complemented by daily extended continuous provision where they can put these skills into practice through independent application. To facilitate this, our highly skilled practitioners observe and identify “teachable moments” specific to that child through the modelling of language, modelling, demonstrating, and explaining, exploring ideas and questioning, providing a narrative, and setting challenges to measure understanding of each taught concept.
At The March we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. This is made up of four overriding principles which our early year’s education is based upon:
The curriculum provides a play-based and experiential learning environment, combined with focussed teaching and basic skills, to ensure children make rapid progress before moving onto Year 1. The children in Reception are provided with ample opportunities, accessible in our indoor and outdoor provision. They engage in planned, focussed activities as well as self-initiated and free flow activities. The learning experiences within our Early Years are linked to the seven areas of learning and development within the EYFS. These areas are split into three prime areas and four specific areas. The three prime areas are those which the children should develop first and are considered most essential for the healthy development and future learning of our children. These include:
As children grow and make progress in the prime areas, this will help them to naturally develop skills within the four specific areas. These are:
Rich, first hand experiences (inside, outdoors, visitors and school trips) widen experiences, and inspire awe and wonderment. Exploratory learning and thinking creatively including problem solving takes place across all areas of learning. New vocabulary and concepts through reading excites and engages all learners which includes staff modelling standard English and engaging in high quality conversations.
The impact of our pedagogy and our curriculum is measured by how effectively it helps our children develop into well rounded individuals who embody our school values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable future citizens.
The children at The March experience a smooth transition between Nursery, Reception and beyond. Effective communication and collaboration ensure the children leave the EYFS with a solid foundation of learning of which to build upon.
At the end of EYFS our children:
We use online learning journals across the EYFS (Evidence Me), supplemented with writing and RE books, which evidence to the children, staff and families, the successes of the children throughout their time in Early Years.
As a team, we carry out regular internal moderation sessions and ensure that staff attend external meetings and training to ensure that we feel confident with our judgements and that these judgements are consistent with a range of other settings. Assessment starts with careful observations which are then used to inform planning.
By monitoring assessment procedures regularly, we can effectively demonstrate the learning that is taking place and how each child is progressing in all seven areas of the EYFS curriculum. Progress toward the Early Learning Goals ensures a positive disposition to learn.