Early Years Foundation Stage Policy
“Education must develop every child’s personality,
talents and abilities to the full.
It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights,
as well as respect for their parents, their own and others cultures,
and the environment.”
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 29)
The Early Years Foundation Stage applies to children from birth to the end of the reception year.
At Kings Meadow Primary School children can join our nursery from age 2 – 4 years. Nursery runs as a separate unit. Nursery is a 52-place setting for 3-4-year olds and 8 place setting for 2-year olds. We have a variety of session options to suit the needs of all of our families.
Children are admitted to Reception on the September following their fourth birthday.
Early childhood is the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. At Kings Meadow Primary School we greatly value the importance that the EYFS plays in laying secure foundations for future learning and development.
Our Mission Statement
At Kings Meadow our mission is to prepare our children to become valued and contributing members of society.
Our School Values
We value FRIENDSHIP; We aim to be kind, caring and polite to all members of our school.
We value RESPECT; We aim to look after everyone and everything in our school. We aim to be honest and considerate to each other.
We value DETERMINATION; We aim to work hard, never give up and always try our very best to achieve our goals and objectives.
We value ACHIEVEMENT; we aim to become independent and confident learners who achieve our true potential.
Our Golden Promises
At Kings Meadow we have a set of ‘Golden Promises’ that we expect all members of our school community to follow. At Kings Meadow we promise to:
• Be Kind
• Work Hard
• Always try our best
These promises ensure everybody in our school community can succeed and be happy.
Aims & Objectives
We aim to support all children to become independent and collaborative learners. We will provide a broad and balanced curriculum that will enable each child to develop personally, socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, creatively and intellectually to their full potential.
At Kings Meadow Primary School, we will:
- Provide quality and consistency, creating a happy, safe, stimulating and challenging program of learning and development for the children to experience as they begin their journey through school. We ensure that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind.
- Provide a secure foundation through our broad, balanced, relevant and creative curriculum that will set in place firm foundations for further learning and development in Key Stage 1 and beyond and enable choice and decision making, fostering independence and self-confidence.
- Use and value what each child can do, assessing their individual needs and helping each child to progress.
- Develop excellent partnerships with parents, care and other professionals to build a strong partnerships in supporting their children.
- Provide a caring and inclusive learning environment which is sensitive to the requirements of the individual, providing equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice to support children
Learning and Development
Our Early-Years education offer for our children is based on the following principles:
- It builds on what our children already know and can do; as we support children to work towards the early learning goals;
- It ensures that no child is excluded or disadvantaged;
- It offers a structure for learning that has a range of starting points, content that matches the needs of young children, and activities that provide opportunities for learning both indoors and outdoors; These cover the areas of learning and development;
- It provides a rich and stimulating environment;
- It acknowledges the importance of a full working partnership with parents and carers to support development;
- There are clear assessment arrangements for measuring progress, ensuring full reports to parents/carers.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is based on four overarching principles:
- A Unique Child
- Positive Relationships
- Enabling Environments
- Learning and Development
A Unique Child
At Kings Meadow Primary School we recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We recognise that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates. Children’s attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by feedback from others; we use praise and encouragement, as well as celebration and rewards, to encourage children to develop a positive attitude to learning.
Inclusion - We value the diversity of individuals within the school and believe that every child matters. All children at Kings Meadow Primary School are treated fairly regardless of race, gender, religion or abilities. All families are valued within our school.
We give our children every opportunity to achieve their personal best and planning is adapted to meet the needs of all groups and abilities. We do this by taking account of our children’s range of life experiences when we are planning for their learning.
At the Foundation Stage we set realistic and challenging expectations keyed to the needs of our children, to ensure all strive to achieve the Early Learning Goals by the end of Reception. We do this through:
- Planning opportunities that build upon and extend children’s knowledge, experience and interests, and develop their self-esteem and confidence;
- Using a wide range of teaching strategies based on children’s learning needs;
- Providing a wide range of opportunities to motivate and support children and to help them learn effectively;
- Offering a safe and supportive learning environment in which the contribution of all children is valued;
- Employing resources which reflect diversity and are free from discrimination and stereotyping;
- Planning challenging activities to meet the needs of both boys and girls, of children with special
- educational needs, of children who are more able, of children with disabilities, of children from all social and cultural backgrounds, of children from different ethnic groups, and of those from diverse linguistic backgrounds;
- Monitoring children’s progress and taking action to provide support as necessary (such as referrals to speech therapy) as necessary. Individual Support plans are put in place at first identification.
- Working closely with parents, carers and other outside agencies to ensure all children’s needs are met and we enable them to access the curriculum and make good progress.
- At Kings Meadow Primary School we recognise that children learn to be strong, confident and independent from being in secure relationships. We aim to develop caring, respectful, professional relationships with the children and their families.
- Parents as Partners - We recognise that parents/carers are children’s first and most enduring educators and we value being partners with them in their child’s education through:
- Talking to parents/carers before their child starts school at our open afternoons and induction meetings;
- Arranging, where possible, visits by the teacher to all children in their home setting or childcare provision prior to their starting school;
- Providing a handbook of information about commencing Reception at Kings Meadow Primary/Welcome pack;
- Outlining the school’s expectations in the Home-School agreement;
- Inviting children to have the opportunity to spend time in Reception Class for three induction visits before starting school;
- Providing an induction meeting for Reception parents/carers to meet with staff to discuss school routines, expectations and to answer any questions parents/carers may have.
- Holding a parent consultation early in the academic year to establish how a child is settling into the school environment.
- Operating an open door policy for parents/carers with any queries or concerns. Conversely, if Foundation staff have concerns about the progress of a child, they will immediately approach parents and carers to discuss them.
- Written contact through the Home-School Diary and school newsletters.
- Sending home ‘Proud Clouds’ or ‘Magical Me’ slips designed to enable parents to record outstanding achievements.
- Parents can complete ‘WOW moments, completing a certificate of achievement at home to share with their class teacher.
- Publishing a Creative Curriculum topic map detailing the areas of learning and the overarching theme of the term or half-term as well as a class newsletter/termly overview. (See Class Pages on school website)
- Inviting parents to attend informal meetings about areas of the curriculum, such as phonics or reading.
- Sharing regularly the children’s ‘Learning Journal’ with parents/carers and valuing the on-going contributions to this from parents/carers.
- Offering two parent/teacher consultation meetings per year at which their child’s progress is discussed.
- Sending a written report on their child’s attainment and progress at the end of their time in Reception.
- Asking parents to sign a generic permission form for visits, food tasting and photographs, etc.
- Parents are invited to a range of activities throughout the school year such as assemblies, workshops, Christmas productions and sports day, etc.
- Offering opportunities for parents and carers to visit the school on a volunteer basis to assist with the children’s learning e.g. hearing readers - Our ‘Reading Rocketeers’ volunteer group.
- Offering a range of activities, throughout the year, to encourage specific collaboration between child, school and parents e.g. Dads and Lads reading event, topic outcome events.
- Staffing - Reception – One class teacher and one Teaching Assistant
- Nursery Staff – One Class teacher and Two Teaching Assistants.
- There may be specifically appointed staff to support children with additional needs. All staff in the Foundation Stage aim to develop good relationships with all children, interacting positively with them and taking time to listen to them.
The Role of the Key Worker.
Children thrive from a base of loving and secure relationships.
A key person is a named member of staff with responsibilities for a small group of children who helps those children in the group feel safe and cared for.
It involves the key person in responding sensitively to children’s feelings and behaviours and meeting emotional needs by giving reassurance, such as when they are new to a setting or class, and supporting the child’s well-being. The key person supports physical needs too, helping with issues like nappy changing, toileting and dressing. That person is a familiar figure who is accessible and available as a point of contact for parents and one who builds relationships with the child and parents or carers.
Records of development and care are created and shared by the key person, class teacher, parents and the child. Small group activities foster close bonds between the child and the key person in a way that large groups cannot easily do. These groups allow the key person to better ‘tune into’ children’s play and their conversations to really get to know the children in the group well. Our children feel settled and happy and are more confident to explore and as a result become more capable learners.
The class teacher has the overall responsibility of the class but works closely with your child’s key worker to plan ways forward and next steps.
- At Kings Meadow Primary School we recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending the children’s development, where the children feel confident, secure and challenged. The children have daily access to an indoor and outdoor environment that is set up in discrete areas of learning with planned continuous provision.
- Play-based learning is paramount and children have opportunities to direct their own learning with planned opportunities provided by staff.
- We plan a learning environment, both indoors and outdoors, that encourages a positive attitude to learning and reflects the individual’s interests, passions and abilities. We use materials and equipment that reflect both the community that the children come from and the wider world. We encourage the children to make their own selection of the activities on offer, as we believe that this encourages independent learning. We ensure that resources and spaces are safe to use and checked regularly.
Learning and Developing
- The EYFS Curriculum – Our Dimensions Curriculum for the Foundation Stage reflects the areas of learning identified in the Early Learning Goals.
- The seven areas of learning and development shape our educational provision All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Our children’s learning experiences enable them to develop competency and skill across a number of learning areas.
Children receive a balance of adult led and child-initiated activities in order for most children to reach the levels required at the end of EYFS. These 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.
The Three Prime areas are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
Staff also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Children’s development levels are assessed and as the year progresses, the balance will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas of learning, as children grow in confidence and ability within the three prime areas.
However, if a child’s progress in any of the prime areas gives cause for concern, staff will discuss this with the child’s parents/carers and agree how to support the child.
Reception pupils also participate in a daily phonics sessions, following the ‘Read, Write Inc.’ program and in line with school policy.
‘Talk for Writing’ Program created by Pie Corbett is introduced in Nursery and Reception and children develop in-depth learning of core texts and focused nursery rhymes.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
We ensure that our environment and delivery of the curriculum incorporates the three characteristics of effective teaching and learning:
- Playing and Exploring - children will have opportunities to investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
‘Children’s play reflects their wide ranging and varied interests and preoccupations. In their play children learn at their highest level. Play with peers is important for children’s development.’
Through play, our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. They practise and build up ideas, learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems.
- Active learning - children will have time and space to concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy their achievements.
‘Children learn best through physical and mental challenges. Active learning involves other people, objects, ideas and events that engage and involve children for sustained periods.’
Active learning occurs when children are motivated and interested. We provide our children independence and control over their learning. Our children develop their confidence and learn to make decisions. Children gain a sense of satisfaction as they take ownership of their learning.
Creating and Thinking Critically - We encourage and support children to have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
“When children have opportunities to play with ideas in different situations and with a variety of resources, they discover connections and come to new and better understandings and ways of doing things. Adult support in this process enhances their ability to think critically and ask questions.”
Children are given the opportunity to be creative through all areas of learning. Adults can support children’s thinking and help them make connections by showing interest, offering encouragement, clarifying ideas and asking open ended questions. Children can access resources and move around the classroom freely and purposefully to extend their learning.
The Early Learning Goals provide the basis for planning throughout the Foundation Stage. Teachers use the ‘Dimensions Curriculum’
The planning objectives within the Foundation Stage are from the Development Matters Statements from the Early Years Foundation Stage document.
The planning is based upon themes with discrete phonics, maths and reading as directed teaching. However, planning, which is based upon a different topic which is identified as a vehicle of interest to deliver the children’s next steps in learning, also therefore responds to the needs, achievement and interest of the children.
Staff complete an “Empowering Young Minds’ planning format to plan next steps linked to children’s needs and interests.
Our medium-term planning identifies the intended learning, with outcomes, for children working towards the Early Learning Goals, and also for those working towards National Curriculum levels.
Foundation Stage staff use observations as the basis for planning. Staff are skilled at observing children to identify their achievements, interests and next steps for learning. These observations then lead the direction of the planning. Relevant and significant observations are recorded in the children’s Learning Journals.. The ‘Evidence Me’ Parent App allows us to share these with parents in their online journal
During the first term in Reception, the teacher assesses the ability of each child using a baseline Assessment tool. These assessments allow us to identify patterns of attainment within the cohort, in order to adjust the teaching programme for individual children and groups of children.
We record each child’s level of development against the 17 early Learning goals as Emerging, Expected or Exceeding. We make regular assessments of children’s learning, and we use this information to ensure that future planning reflects identified needs.
Assessment in the Foundation Stage takes the form of both formal and informal observations, photographic evidence and through planned activities. Assessment is completed regularly and involves both the teacher and other adults, as appropriate. The collection of assessment data in the Foundation Stage Profile is a statutory requirement.
The teacher keeps progress records and learning journals and records examples of each child’s work. These progress books contain a wide range of evidence that we share with parents at each parental consultation meeting.
Tracking grids are updated at the end of each term. This provides a summary sheet for each child which feeds into the whole-school assessment and tracking process. We record each child’s level of development to be emerging, developing or securely working within the Development Matters age-bands.
At the end of the final term in Reception we send a summary of these assessments to the LA for analysis. The Year 1 teacher uses this information to make plans for the year ahead. We share this information too at parental consultation meetings and in the end-of-year report.
Parents receive an annual written report that offers brief comments on each child’s progress in each area of learning. It highlights the child’s strengths and development needs, and gives details of the child’s general progress. We complete these in June, and send them to parents in early July each year.
The Learning Environment
The Foundation Stage classroom is organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are specific areas where the children can be active, be quiet, creative etc.
Children have access to both inside and outside area across the day; this has a positive effect on the children’s development. The Foundation Stage has its own outdoor classroom area as well as its own playground and climbing equipment.
Being outdoors offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and in different scales than when indoors. The children explore, use their senses and are physically active and exuberant.
All areas of the curriculum are explored outside
Teaching & Learning Styles
Developing Learning Power
We believe that children that children can become confident lifelong learner if equipped with the appropriate skills, attitudes and capacities for learning from an early age. Children learn to become resourceful, resilient, reflective and reciprocal learners.
In order to develop these appropriate attitudes we:
- Enable children to initiate and carry out their own activities independent choices and decisions;
- Encourage children to find, use and replace equipment and resources independently (in an organised, labelled and accessible learning environment);
- Encourage the children to make plans, modify plans, review and reflect on their learning;
- Model and use the language of learning with both children and adults alike;
- Use and encourage the use of open-ended and challenging questioning. Techniques;
- Model ‘being stuck’ and learning from mistakes;
- Using consistent strategies for what to do if you get stuck!
- Encourage collaboration;
- Enable children to see each other as tools for learning as well as the teaching staff.
Starting school can be a difficult time for young children; we therefore plan this time carefully to support children with the transition and to ensure it is as smooth as possible for each child and that they settle in to their new class quickly and happily.
Starting Reception – Parents of all children starting in the next academic year will be invited to an Induction Meeting in the Summer term to meet their child’s new teacher and other key staff and learn more about the Reception curriculum. This is an opportunity for staff to:
- Introduce the school prospectus;
- Introduce them to EYFS Curriculum and what to expect;
- Explain about uniform, PE kit and school dinners/ free school meals;
- Explain about holidays and absences;
- Introduce uniforms and book bag information.
New class sessions - The children are given three opportunities to come in to school to meet their new class teacher and other children in their class. They will spend a morning in their new class. Parents can leave their child during this session.
This means that before they join their new class the Reception environment is already a familiar place to them. Arrangements are also made for the children’s new class teacher to visit them in their current nursery setting.
Starting in Key Stage 1 (Year 1) - Throughout the Reception year, each child’s involvement in whole school life will have been built upon; many of the teaching and support staff will already be familiar people to them. They will have taken part in Key Stage and whole school assemblies as well as sharing playtimes with the Key Stage 1 children.
Children have the opportunity to meet their new class teacher and spend a morning in their new class during the summer term.
Safeguarding & Welfare
‘Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure,
when their individual needs are met,
and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them.’ (Statutory Framework for EYFS 2014)
- At Kings Meadow Primary School, we understand that we are legally required to comply with welfare requirements as stated in the Statutory Framework for Early Years Foundation Stage 2014.
We provide a setting that is welcoming, safe and stimulating where children can grow in confidence; We:
- Promote good health;
- Manage behaviour effectively in a manner appropriate for the children’s stage of development and individual needs;
- To ensure that all adults who look after the children are suitable to do so;
- Ensure that the setting, furniture and equipment is safe and suitable for the purpose it was intended for;
- Maintain records, policies and procedures required for the safe efficient management of the setting and to meet the needs of the children.
It is important to us that all children in the school are ‘safe’. We aim to educate children on boundaries, rules and limits and to help them understand why they exist. We provide children with choices to help them develop this important life skill. We encourage children to take risks and highlight the importance of keeping themselves safe by teaching them how to recognise and avoid hazards. We aim to protect the physical and psychological well-being of all children.
(See our Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy).
Good Health - All children are provided with a healthy snack each day as well as being given the choice of milk. They have access to water at all times. The children are taught about healthy foods and choices in a variety of ways.
Mental Health & Well-being
We fully support our children’s mental health and well-being by teaching a range of activities to promote healthy bodies and minds.
All of the children bring different home life experiences and staff are fully committed to supporting their well-being and providing support for parents when needed. Staff will guide parents to seek additional help and will inform SENCO or Head teacher for support.
We promote mindfulness through meditation, breathing exercises, art, group activities and yoga.
Intimate Care – ‘Intimate care ‘is any care which involves washing, touching or carrying out an invasive procedure that most children are able to carry out themselves. However, depending on a child’s age and stage of development, they may need some support, for example dressing, wiping their bottom after using the toilet and changing underwear following an accident. In most cases, intimate care in Reception is about personal hygiene and we inform and consult with the school nurse of all children requiring intimate care.
Every child has the right to privacy, dignity and a professional approach from all staff when meeting their needs and it is important that staff work in partnership with parents to give the right support to an individual child. No intimate care is to be given without the express written permission of the parent or guardian of that child and all parents and guardians will be asked to provide that permission when their child joins reception and nursery.
(See our Intimate Care Policy)
Monitoring and Review
It is the responsibility of those working in Nursery and Reception to follow the principles stated in this policy. The Head Teacher and EYFS Leader will carry out monitoring on EYFS as part of the whole school monitoring schedule. The Governing Body will also be part of this process.
This policy will be reviewed as necessary