Our ethos is underpinned by teaching of the Catholic Church and Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. An integral part of our EYFS provision is our Forest School curriculum and all of our EYFS pupils have the opportunity to take part in weekly Forest School activities with our EYFS Lead, who is a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner.
At St Robert Southwell Catholic Primary School, we believe that our Nursery and Reception children learn best when they are at the centre of learning, feel safe, are well motivated and having fun.
Our aim throughout the foundation stage is to provide a happy, secure and stimulating environment in partnership with parents and carers who have already helped their child begin the learning journey.
Our Early Years team have high expectations of what our children can achieve. We do our best to ensure that all children overcome any barriers to learning so that they can achieve their potential.
We believe that all children should be supported to achieve the good level of development as defined in the Early Years Foundation Stage and have the opportunities to develop their characteristics of effective learning.
It is through play, both indoors and outdoors, that children begin to experience and learn about the world around them and how to cope with life’s many adventures and challenges.
We use the Tapestry On-line Learning Journey system throughout the EYFS. All children in Nursery and Reception classes have a personal on-line Learning Journey which will contain observations, photographs and videos documenting key moments of learning and progress. The evidence collected is a record of your child’s experiences and achievements during their time with us, and will be linked in to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. In addition to our contributions we encourage you at add to it by adding your own photographs and comments, or commenting on observations added by us. To access the Tapestry site, and to log in to your account please use this link:
At St Robert Southwell we recognise that the Early Years is the first step into school life and it is here where we must get it right in order to promote a love of lifelong learning. We aim to provide a curriculum that promotes children to be independent, confident and resilient and allows all children to flourish and progress from their starting points regardless of background, circumstances or needs. By designing a curriculum that takes into account children’s interests, we hope to inspire all of our children to enjoy learning and to reach their full potential.
We are incredibly lucky to have a rich array of cultures, languages and backgrounds here at St Robert Southwell, which allows our children to be sensitive to the fact we are all unique and different which is something to be proud of. Our curriculum ensures we cover a wide range of festivals and celebrations to allow our children to compare similarities and differences and provide hands on learning experiences and links within our local community.
To ensure all of our children make outstanding progress, we take into consideration each child’s unique starting points and meet children’s individual needs through our planning to ensure the correct support is given and any gaps within learning are addressed. We pride ourselves on our early intervention and strong links with outside services to ensure all children are receiving the correct support.
To ensure all of our children make progress, the most important thing is that our children are safe, secure and most of all happy in Nursery and Reception. All of our practice is guided by the four overarching principles of the EYFS:
- Unique Child – Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
We get to know our children and our families well. We understand our children are all different and learn at different rates. We therefore work with individual children through their interests and play to work on individual next steps to ensure we move their learning forward. We know that before learning can take place our children have to feel secure and confident. We use the Leuven Scales of well-being and involvement to ensure our children are settled before moving forward with their academic learning.
- Positive Relationships – Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
By getting to know our children’s interests, likes and dislikes, we work hard to ensure secure relationships between children and staff. We also appreciate and know that parents are the child’s first educator and know the most about their child. We hope to work closely with parents to work in a 2-way partnership between home and school. We try to involve parents through workshops, events, keep them up to date via Tapestry, parents evenings and termly newsletters.
- Enabling Environments – Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners, parents and carers.
We are constantly evaluating and adapting out learning environments to fit with children’s interests and to build upon skills. We aim to use lots of open ended resources to develop curiosity, imagination and language and vocabulary. Our environments are owned by the children and we encourage independence to access resources and use them how they wish.
- Learning and Development – Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in Early Year’s provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities
We use a range of adult led and child initiated learning opportunities to follow the needs and interests of the children. We know our children really well and understand their barriers to learning and next steps to ensure progression for all.
The curriculum provides a play-based learning environment, where our skilled practitioners carefully scaffold learning during child initiated tasks, combined with focussed teaching and basic skill group time. We know that children do not learn in a linear way and there are many strands to our young children’s learning and ensure that our teaching is carefully sequenced to develop progress.
The children in both Nursery and Reception are provided with vast opportunities to explore both 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 of our children. These include:
Communication and Language
Personal, Social and emotional development.
Understanding of the world
Expressive arts and design.
We hope through our broad and balanced curriculum our children learn to believe in themselves and be proud of their local community. They understand the importance of their actions and the part they play in the diverse wider world. Through a strong self-belief leading to a positive physical and mental well-being our children are equipped to take risks and overcome any challenges they may face.
Children will leave Early Years as compassionate individuals with a developing understanding that everyone should be valued and respected. We hope memorable learning experiences allow our children to retain knowledge, apply skills and develop links in their understanding and to achieve to the best of their ability. In turn, children leave Early Years with a developing independence and confidence, ready and excited to continue their learning journey in year 1.