Early Years Intent, Implementation and Impact
Our curriculum is designed to provide motivating, first-hand experiences to enable children to learn more and remember more. We encourage children to build resilience, confidence and a lifelong love of learning. We recognise that all children are unique, celebrating and welcoming differences within our school community. We want children to be happy and aim to provide an environment that allows children to develop a sense of well-being and the ability to regulate their feelings so that they feel confident in our school. We work in partnership with parents, carers and other settings to provide the best possible start at Nathaniel Newton Infant School, ensuring each individual reaches their full potential from their various starting points.
We recognise that oracy not only improves academic outcomes, but is a life skill to ensure success beyond school, in life and future employment. Oracy develops children’s thinking and understanding, which in turn promotes self-confidence, resilience and empathy which supports the child’s well-being. Our enabling environments and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play.
We believe that high levels of engagement ensure high attainment. We therefore provide an engaging curriculum that maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences, as well as promoting the unique child by offering extended periods of play and sustained thinking. We follow topics as well as children’s interests, developing new skills as well as building on existing knowledge. This will ensure that all children make at least good progress from their starting points and are equipped with the skills and knowledge to have a smooth transition into Year 1.
Each half term, staff introduce a new topic to provide inspiration for learning, whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas. Children learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult directed activities.
The timetable is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching during the day. The timetable changes throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of the children. These sessions are followed by small focused group work. This means the teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact of new learning.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start. In Reception we use Talk for Writing. The aim is to expose children to a range of texts that not only develop a love of reading, but have been chosen specifically to develop their oracy and vocabulary. We create story maps to help children internalise new vocabulary, language patterns and begin to retell stories.
Phonics - Learning to read
We follow Little Wandle across the school. Children learn phase 2 and phase 3 sounds and then use these to develop blending and segmenting skills. Children are given books that match their phonic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning with the aim of becoming successful, confident readers.
We use the Mastering Number (NCETM) and White Rose Maths Scheme to support our planning. Children learn through games and tasks using objects and pictorial representations. Small adult-directed activities allow meaningful interactions to support children in developing mathematical thinking and discussion. Children have daily maths sessions to develop fluency and recall of number facts and skills.
Our wider curriculum is taught through the learning areas; Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. Staff have a good understanding of how ELGs feed into the National Curriculum through our whole school planning. In reverse, colleagues throughout the school are also aware of the key ELGs that link to each foundation subject and the progression of skills within the subject.
Building further on our oracy focus, children will be encouraged to use subject specific language and key vocabulary in foundation subjects, and such vocabulary will be modelled by staff.
We provide effective and focused intervention for those children who are finding learning challenging and who are not on track to meet end of year expectations. This will be provided in an inclusive way and support from parents is also enlisted at an early stage to ensure that the children have every chance to achieve the Early Learning Goals. This includes, for example, sessions for developing speech and language, social skills, fine motor skills, phonics and maths.
We put photographs and videos of children engaged in activities at school onto Tapestry. This allows parents to engage with their child about their learning. We encourage parents and carers to add their own entries and can contribute to the knowledge we have of the child in school.
Regular monitoring of teaching and learning by SLT and the EY leader ensure staff develop good subject knowledge. CPD specific to Early Years is available to staff to further develop their practice.
The impact of the Reception curriculum is reflected in having happy, well rounded, confident children transitioning into Year 1. Children will leave Reception with the skills, knowledge and confidence to access the next stage of their learning. They will understand what makes them unique and will show tolerance and understanding when they meet people who are different to them.
We measure progress and children’s learning across the year through summative and formative assessments which are based on the teacher’s knowledge of the child.
During the first few weeks in school, staff use ongoing assessments, observations and conversations with the child to develop a baseline assessment. This identifies each individual’s starting points so we can plan experiences to ensure progress. We expect all of our children to make good progress from their starting points.
Phonics assessments are carried out every half term to quickly identify pupils that are not making expected progress. Our aim is for children to ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’ where possible.
Wellcom is an evidence-based language intervention for children who show weakness in their speaking and understanding. All children are screened at the start of the year and any children working below the expected level for their age are given intervention from a trained member of staff.