Early Years Curriculum

Children begin their Reception year by working on a range of practical, play based activities both indoors and outdoors, across the curriculum. There are many areas of learning and development that shape educational programmes in early year’s settings. All areas of learning and development are important and interconnected.

Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas are:
  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development
The school seeks to support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthens and applied. The specific areas are:
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design
None of these areas are delivered in isolation from the others. They are equally important at this stage and depend on each other to support a rounded approach to child development.

All areas are delivered through planned purposeful play with a balance of adult led and child initiated activities. A thematic based approach allows us to deliver all seven areas of learning in a coherent way which is meaningful to the children. One experience may provide the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and concepts across several areas.

Children work in a variety of groupings - together as a class or a large group for story, singing, drama, movement or discussion etc.; in a small group for an activity session, collaborative work or adult-directed specific tasks. Staff extend and develop children’s spontaneous independent self-initiated play, developing their emotional, moral, spiritual and social development together with intellectual development as they use the learning areas.

The classroom is organised to reflect the seven areas of learning. Resources and equipment appropriate to each area of learning are accessible to all children. The learning environment encompasses both the indoor and outdoor space. The children have access to a safe surface enclosed outdoor area as well as a large grassed area. We would therefore ask that children are suitably dressed for outdoor play in all weathers. Your child will need an outdoor coat with a hood with them everyday. A pair of Wellingtons is also essential – these can be left at school.

The Reception day builds closely upon the practices and principles of our Nursery but follows a slightly more organised timetable to allow for, collective worship, PE lessons, use of the computer suite, break and lunchtime etc. Within that however other timings are flexible to allow for the children’s interests and sustained involvement in activities.

Communication and Language Development - involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

Physical Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their coordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

Literacy Development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children have access to a range of reading material (books, poems and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes and spaces.

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places technology and the environment.

Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance role play, and design and technology

Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned and purposeful play and through a mix of adult led and child initiated learning.

The school has chosen to implement the READ WRITE INC scheme to support teaching early reading and writing. This provides a structured approach to helping children to blend for reading and segment for writing. It will provide children with the tools that they need to express themselves in written form but also to provide language and understanding so that they can express their opinions and views about what it is they are reading.

In Southridge we use the Nelson handwriting scheme, which begins with handwriting patterns and moves on to lower case letter formation. An example of the script we use is at the back of our Early Years Booklet. It illustrates the correct formation of the letters. It is very important to form letters in this way from the earliest stages of writing and to use lower case letters except for the first letter of names and the start of a sentence. Prior to your child starting school, you may like to help him or her with writing. He or she should write his or her name beginning with a capital letter, followed by lower case letters e.g. Rebecca. The way your child begins to form letters is very important. Holding a pencil carefully and forming the letters in the right direction will enable your child to write more fluently and neatly.

Numbers: children count reliably with numbers from 1-20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing. Shape space and measures: children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise recreate and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

Understanding the World
People and communities: children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communicates and traditions. The world: children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one to another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur and talk about changes. Technology: children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for a particular purpose.

Expressive Art and Design
Exploring and using media and materials: Children sing songs, make music and dance and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. Being imaginative: Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own thoughts and ideas and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play, and stories.

How we plan our Early Years Curriculum
Curriculum planning takes place collaboratively between the teachers and support staff. Half termly medium term plans which are displayed on our EY noticeboards, describe the teaching and learning activities linked to objectives and assessment opportunities. Short term plans are developed weekly and are based on observations of and discussion with the children and take account of their needs and interests. These too are displayed on our noticeboard and will help parents understand our daily routine.

Assessment and Reporting
In the final term of the year in which the child reaches the age of five and no later than 30th June in that term, the EYFS Profile must be completed for each child. The profile provides parents and carers, practitioners and teachers with a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their progress against expected levels and their readiness for year 1. The profile will reflect on-going observations; all relevant records held by the school; discussions with parents and carers and any other adults whom the teacher, parent or carer judges can offer a useful contribution. Our Learning Journeys at Southridge consolidate this message by providing good quality information about the children in our care. We access this information from all the adults who work, understand and help care for your child. This may include breakfast club, out of schools, wrap around care, child-minders and most importantly you. The aim is to provide a holistic picture where every one involved with the child contributes their story about the growth and development made.