Pupils learn at New Close EYFS through a balance of play, adults modelling, observing each other and through guided learning and direct teaching.

Throughout our Early Year’s Department, in both Nursery and Reception, we carefully organise enabling indoor and outdoor environments for high-quality play. Children are provided with plenty of time to invent their own play and engage in exploration through the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. Sometimes the adults join in sensitively to support and extend children’s learning. Our indoor and outdoor environment is well-planned to encourage learning. We know that language development is central to self-regulation and so we encourage children to use language to guide their actions and plans, giving plenty of opportunities for children to focus on their thinking, persist and plan ahead.

The delivery of the curriculum is planned through a weekly or fortnightly focus on different high-quality texts. We currently use the revised EYFS and Development Matters documents to support our planning. However, whilst we are not Early Adopters of the new EYFS framework, we have started to adapt our planning in preparation for September. To see examples of our current weekly book planning, see our Bunny and Rabbit Class page. Intellectual preparation and co-planning between the adults in both Nursery and Reception means that opportunities for cross-curricular learning, stemming from a deep understanding of the texts are fulfilled so that all aspects of the children’s development are met and sustained thinking and active learning are promoted. The EYFS department have a list of 100 high quality texts that they have identified as a good foundation for children’s learning. The aim is that children will have come to know and become richly engaged in these 100 books during their time in Nursery and Reception.

In Reception we carefully structure our days so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, maths and phonics every day. These sessions are followed by group work when adults guide the children’s learning. This focused group time means the adult can check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.

In Nursery we offer few carefully planned adult led sessions alongside allowing the children freedom to engage in high quality, open ended play, in which they can start to develop their own understanding of the experiences they have had. This allows them time to develop friendships, understand social cues and build strong foundations for learning throughout the rest of their school journey. Adults will listen during these play times and interact sensitively at times to help extend the play or to offer new ideas that can help the children enhance the learning taking place.

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow the rigorous and highly successful Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme for teaching phonics, which starts with phase 1 in nursery. The program is followed faithfully so that they meet good outcomes for reading with almost all children passing the Year one phonics screening. Adults work carefully to match children’s phonic ability to one of their home/school reading books, whilst the other is designed to encourage richer reading and enjoyment of story and non-fiction.

We follow the White Rose Maths scheme in Reception with an emphasis on studying the key skills of number, calculation, measure and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding through 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. Nursery pupils begin to develop these key skills during daily maths opportunities where they explore sorting, quantities, shape, number and counting awareness. These early 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.

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 children on who are needing further challenge. This ensures that all children have an equal chance of success. We use Blast in both Nursery and Reception to develop early language skills and we ensure that our vulnerable children are given time to talk. By knowing our children and what their next steps are we are able to provide on the spot intervention both by sensitively joining in with their play and through short, 5 minute activities repeated daily with targeted children.

We regularly monitor teaching and learning through observations from the school SLT and within the EYFS department. We are developing a staff who are deeply knowledgeable in early years and are focused on moderating outcomes across the phase so that every member of the team feels confident in making accurate judgements about where individual pupils are and their next steps of learning and how they might move them forward. We also have strong working relationships with the school’s Parent Support Advisor, the school SENCO and a wider body of support from the Acorn Trust to ensure that any social, emotional and educational needs are identified and addressed early so that gaps in learning can be closed. This is particularly essential with our very transient, military school community.

We pride ourselves on developing strong and respectful partnerships with parents which set the scene for children to thrive in the early years. We listen to parents regularly and give parents clear information about their child’s progress. We also share achievements and next steps with parents so that they can be part of helping their child progress towards achieving them. We know that some of our pupils get much less support for their learning than others. By knowing and understanding our children and their families we can offer extra support and help to those who most need it.