At St Mary’s Catholic Primary we aim to provide motivating first-hand experiences whilst encouraging children to build resilience, ambition and a lifelong love of learning. We recognise that all children are unique, therefore, our curriculum is child centred following the interests and fascinations of the children in the current year group. We are passionate about children leading and engrossing themselves in their learning. We need to embed a language of learning based on the characteristics of effective learning and use our class ‘Learning Detective Pets‘ to enable children to understand and talk about their learning experiences using the following words – Challenge, Determination, Being Positive, Taking a Risk, Independence and Effort.
We aim to:
- Provide a curriculum that offers children a wide range of opportunities ensuring that we do not expect children to aspire to things they have never encountered. We will work on broadening their experiences providing opportunities to try new things and encouraging them to relish a new challenge.
- Provide high expectations encouraging them to develop perseverance and self-belief so that they can problem solve and achieve far more than they expected
- Provide a learning environment that helps children achieve their potential and support those who need additional help in order to maximise their chances of achieving the Early Learning Goals
- Provide children opportunities to develop their sense of wellbeing and ability to regulate their feelings so that they feel confident in our community and are equipped with all the tools they need to transition to Year 1 effectively
- Develop the skills and expertise of staff working in EYFS through regular and comprehensive professional development either run by the EYFS Lead or attending courses run by other providers
Our curriculum follows the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early years Foundation Stage, updated September 2021. This document specifies the requirements for learning and development in the EYFS and provides the prime and specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. Through our knowledge of each child and formative assessments the EYFS team plan exciting and engaging activities that will move the children’s learning forward. This may involve following a class theme where we take advantage of cross curricular links in order to combine transferable skills and develop a wide-ranging vocabulary which underpins the children’s learning. This may also include following individual children’s interests and making the most of those focused moments where the teaching and learning can be maximised in a one to one way with teacher and child. Each year creates its own unique blend of whole class, guided, adult directed play and child-initiated play activities dependant on the nature and needs of the class of individuals. We look forward at the start of a year to see where the class will lead us.
Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active and thinking critically and creatively and this takes place both indoors and in our outdoor area. Our outdoor area is open all year round and in all but the most challenging weather conditions. Children make their own decisions about where they learn best and teachers ensure that there are opportunities for all areas of learning both inside and outside.
The school follows the Letter and Sounds phonic programme and Pearson’s Bug Club, using a wide range of physical and online resources to support this. Every child has access to a phonics session every day with intervention opportunities for those who find this area of learning more difficult. We use the phonics session to also develop children’s expertise in handwriting.
We provide effective and focused intervention for those children who are finding learning challenging and are not on track to meet expectations at the end of the year. 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.
The EYFS team collect evidence of children’s learning through work completed in their learning journey book, observations, photos and videos which are shared with parents daily using Facebook Class Group. This means that parents can engage with children regularly about their learning and can contribute to the knowledge we have of the child in school. Parents are very active and love to use the Facebook Group to record the milestones children make at home during the year.
By the end of the year we provide opportunities for children to increase their independence in recording their work as appropriate to ensure they are well prepared for the move to Year 1. We also ensure that the pedagogy in Year 1 reflects the independent learning skills children have gained in Year R working together as teams to develop expertise and confidence in all teaching staff. We do this through pupil progress meetings where reflections on practice are made, evaluated and decisions about the best way to move forward to enhance children’s learning.
The team in Year R work tirelessly to ensure that children are surrounded by a kind, caring and happy environment which helps them develop the same skills in their journey through school. It is a positive place to be where resilience, perseverance and successes are celebrated and every child feels valued and respected.
The impact of the EYFS curriculum is reflected in having well rounded, happy and confident children transitioning into Year 1. Our children are often amazing role models for others in school.
We measure progress and children’s learning across the year through formative and summative assessment which are based on the teacher’s knowledge of the child, their learning journeys, photographs and physical evidence. We aim to exceed the National and Local Authority data for children achieving Good Level of Development. Almost all our children make more than the expected steps progress from their starting points. The judgements of our school are moderated with other schools and this means judgements are secure and consistent with government guidelines.