At Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, the EYFS curriculum is designed to encourage independent, inquisitive and happy learners. We recognise children’s prior learning and various starting points, and create a holistic curriculum that maximises cross-curricular links and builds strong foundations for their future.
Every child is recognised as a unique individual, and we acknowledge and promote children’s interests to provide them with the opportunities to follow their imagination and creativity. All topics come directly from the children and use all areas of the classroom and provision. This is enhanced further by providing opportunities for school trips, visitors coming in to school and whole school theme weeks ensuring the children always get the best possible experiences. The children’s interests are always at the forefront of our curriculum.
In Reception, we invest time into helping children to recognise their personal goals, which allow them to reflect and aim high. We celebrate the differences in our school community, and always strive to promote a love for learning. The children want to achieve their very best and always aim for the weekly Star of the Week Award.
We recognise that children have a thirst for new experiences and knowledge, and should be provided with opportunities to engage their inquisitive minds. Therefore, we provide vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, that follow children’s interests, to support learners in investigating and developing their skills. We regularly use our Forest School Nature Area to enhance these skills further.
We work in close partnership with our families throughout the year to support the children’s learning; with the use of our Tapestry learning journal, we strengthen these relationships.
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities and challenges.
The weekly timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, Mathematics and Phonics every day. Our Phonic sessions are taught in small groups enabling children to learn in the style that meets their needs .
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences, which is carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development, including Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow the highly successful Letters and Sounds program faithfully so that they meet good outcomes for reading with almost all children passing the Year One phonics screening check. Children also enjoy reading a variety of books inside and outside of school through quality guided reading sessions and whole class reading led by adults. Our book corner reflects the books read in class and children enjoy looking at these books in their provision. We also celebrate World Book Day as a school. All children are expected to share their reading book at home with an adult and are regularly listened to read in school.
We follow the Maths Mastery approach in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of Mathematical language. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration and in adult lead activities. These collaborative and practical mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts. Teaching Mathematics in such a kinaesthetic and practical way, supports our children to become logical problem solvers that can demonstrate resilience and justification when learning.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional intervention and support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or moving on children who are doing very well. This includes, for example, ‘1-1 intervention’ provision in Maths, Phonics and Physical Development to promote fine motor skills. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part of all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations and assessments of children.
Our regular monitoring of teaching and learning includes: We are highly focused on frequently moderating outcomes across the year group so that every member of our team feels confident in making accurate judgements about where individual pupils are and their next steps for learning.
We aim to ensure all children progress through a balanced and creative EYFS curriculum. We strive to ensure each child makes a very good level of progress through the Early Learning Goals, from their individual starting points. All children get the best possible start to their school life and develop the knowledge and skills to reach and exceed their potential in KS1. To check that we are achieving this we take the following measures;
We strive to achieve a high standards of enriched play-based exploration alongside excellent teaching and assessment, as our children move through the year. Our creative and balanced provision of learning experiences enables our children to develop as happy, motivated, and independent learners. Parents and Carers are always informed of their child’s progress, we also have termly parents evenings alongside annual reports.
The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial. By commenting on what children are interested in or doing and echoing back what they say with new vocabulary added, practitioners will build children’s language effectively.
Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others.
Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults.
It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing).
Developing a strong grounding in number is essential so that all children develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently, develop a deep understanding of the numbers to 10, the relationships between them and the patterns within those numbers.
Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.
The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness supports their imagination and creativity. It is important that children have regular opportunities to engage with the arts, enabling them to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials. The quality and variety of what children see, hear and participate in is crucial for developing their understanding, self-expression, vocabulary and ability to communicate through the arts. The frequency, repetition and depth of their experiences are fundamental to their progress in interpreting and appreciating what they hear, respond to and observe.
Sacred Heart Forest School
Forest School is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment. It is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.
At Sacred Heart, we teach Forest School lessons in the Early Years so that all the children have a chance to develop a wide range of skills that they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do so inside the classroom. It also supports our children’s self-esteem and confidence and allows them the chance to achieve things they thought they might not have been able to previously.
We also use Forest School lessons as an opportunity to enhance other areas of the national curriculum and regularly carry out Science, Geography and Art related activities. Our teachers have the freedom to use our Forest School Area (The Nature Area) whenever they feel it is appropriate for their lessons.