The EYFS is based upon four principles:
· A unique child. 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 and develop a positive attitude to learning.
· Positive relationships. We recognise that children learn to be strong and independent from secure relationships and aim to develop caring, respectful and professional relationships with the children and their families.
· Enabling environments. We recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending the children’s development. Through observations we assess the children’s interests, stages of development and learning needs before planning challenging and achievable activities and experiences to extend their learning.
· Learning and development. The Foundation Stage classrooms are organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are areas where the children can be active, be quiet and rest. The classrooms are organised into learning areas where children are able to find and locate equipment and resources independently.
The EYFS is for children from birth to five years of age. All children begin school with a wide variety of experiences and learning and it is the role of the adults working in the foundation stage to build upon these prior learning experiences. This is done through an approach to learning which values the contributions made by parents and carers and develops each child as an individual.
It is every child’s right to grow up safe, healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and with economic well-being. The overarching aim of the EYFS is to help young children achieve these five outcomes.
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. Each child is valued as an individual and teaching and learning is based on the understanding that children develop at different rates.
At Dobcroft Infant School, we aim to:
- Provide a safe, challenging, stimulating, caring and sharing environment which is sensitive to the needs of the child including children with additional needs.
- Provide a broad, balanced, relevant and creative curriculum that will set in place firm foundations for further learning and development in Key Stage 1 and beyond.
- Use and value what each child can do, assessing their individual needs and helping each child to progress.
- Enable choice and decision making, fostering independence and self-confidence.
- Work in partnership with parents and carers and value their contributions ensuring that all children, irrespective of ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities, gender or ability.
- Provide opportunities whereby children experience a challenging and enjoyable programme of learning and development.
- Provide experiences for all children, whatever their needs, which are inclusive rather than parallel.
Learning and Development
Learning and development is categorised into three prime areas of learning:
- Communication and language.
- Physical development.
- Personal, social and emotional development.
- Additionally there are four specific areas of learning:
- Understanding the world.
- Expressive arts and design.
- Achievement of these prime and specific areas of learning is by:
- Playing and exploring.
- Active learning.
- Creating and thinking critically.
In the Foundation Stage children are given opportunities to:
speak and listen and represent ideas in their activities;
use communication, language and literacy in every part of the curriculum;
become immersed in an environment rich in print and opportunities to communicate.
Observation, Assessment and Planning
Good planning is the key to making children’s learning effective, exciting, varied and progressive.
Effective learning builds on and extends what children know and can already do. Our planning shows how the principles of the EYFS are put into practice and is always informed by observations we have made of the children, in order to understand and consider their current interests, development and learning needs. All staff who work in the Foundation Stage are involved in this process.
The planning within the EYFS is based around the children’s interests. These plans are used by the EYFS team as a guide for weekly planning. However, we may alter these in response to the needs of the children. We make regular assessments of children’s learning and we use this information to ensure that future planning reflects identified needs. Assessment in the EYFS takes the form of long, short and recorded observations and this involves the teacher and other adults as appropriate. These observations are recorded and used to inform children’s attainment. Each pupil’s attainment is monitored using the Sheffield Tracker and progress is shared with the head teacher and the Senco during half termly inclusion meetings.
The parents and carers are given the opportunity to contribute to the assessment of their child’s attainment through Wow sheets which are completed at home and then shared with school staff and added to the children’s personal celebration book. During the Autumn and the Spring Terms parents and carers are invited to attend meetings with their child’s class teacher to share the attainment and identify next steps for learning. Next steps are also shared with parents and carers through the home school reading diary. At the end of the third term, we provide a written summary in relation to the children’s early learning goals to parents and carers.
We aim for all children to read with confidence, fluency and understanding; to have an interest in the written word and read for enjoyment and to use a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct. We use the reading scheme Read, Write, Inc. throughout the school. This is a phonics based scheme and builds confidence in reading, spelling and key words. Children are encouraged to take a book of appropriate level home as often as possible and to give depth to their reading the 'home' books are phonics and non- phonics based but most are not RWI based.
Our children will learn to:
apply their phonic knowledge and skills to decode words until their decoding is automatic and their reading is fluent
respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes for all 40+ phonemes, including alternative sounds for graphemes
read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs that have been taught
read common exception words
read words containing common suffixes and contractions
read other words of more than one syllable that contain taught GPCs
read aloud books closely matched to their phonic knowledge, so that they can sound out unfamiliar words accurately
re-read these books to build up their fluency and confidence in word reading
read frequent words quickly and accurately without overt sounding and blending
We provide an environment rich in print and possibilities for communication.
Our well stocked book corners reflect current themes and personal interests
We teach a daily interactive and multisensory phonics session and reinforce phonics in contextualised opportunities as part of embedded practice.
Teachers lead daily shared reading sessions in which they demonstrate reading strategies and generate discussion so that children learn how to interpret and make sense of what they read.
Teachers provide rich and regular story times to nurture a love of language and books.
Children in foundation stage will have individual reading sessions until the child demonstrates secure social and emotional developmental skills which will enable them to move on to guided reading.
EYFS and KS1 classrooms provide colour banded reading books which are shared at home.
Learning Through Play
Children learn through carefully planned play activities and staff will decide when child-initiated or adult-led play activities would provide the most effective learning opportunities. Every child will have opportunities to learn in the indoor and outdoor learning environments during the day.
Staff use observations of the children engaged in learning through play to identify the Characteristics of Effective Learning the children are displaying as part of their learning when engaged in play activities.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning focus on the child’s attitudes and dispositions towards their learning.
Playing and exploring – engagement
Finding out and exploring
Playing with what they know
Being willing to ‘have a go’
Active learning – motivation
Being involved and concentrating
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
Creating and thinking critically – thinking
Having their own ideas
Choosing ways to do things
All the areas of the Characteristics of Effective Learning link directly to Dobcroft Infant School’s Five Learning Seals. The Learning Seals provide a way for young children to articulate their learning and promote the development of desirable learning behaviours.
What we teach in Years one and Two
We use the National Curriculum for Mathematics as a scaffold for planning children’s learning. We follow as maths mastery and children engage in independent, teacher led and group mathematical activities using apparatus and imagery to support their learning. They learn efficient methods of addition and subtraction and some number facts by heart. Mathematics is taught in an engaging and practical way with plenty of opportunities for problem solving. (Please see Maths & Calculation Policy)
We have high standards of literacy throughout our school and provide a language rich environment so that children can improve their skills of speaking and listening, reading, writing, spelling and handwriting. Communication groups such as LEAP (Language Enrichment Activity Programme), VIP(Vocabulary Improvement Programme) and NIP (Narrative Improvement Programme) make our practice inclusive and successful for all children.
Our daily phonics lessons are based on the Read Write Inc programme and Letters and Sounds and are interactive and fun. They help the children to decode effortlessly so that they can build fluency when reading independently and spell words accurately when writing. Earlybirds small intervention groups before school, support those learners who find phonics challenging.
Our Foundation children learn traditional stories and retell and change them using Pie Corbett’s story mapping techniques. Once they can decode with fluency, children participate in Guided Reading groups during which they learn how to be reading detectives and answer questions about the text. We share reading targets with parents and carers so that you can support your child’s reading. Our well stocked library is staffed by parents and children enjoy exploring fiction and non-fiction each week. We use our class blogs as a reading resource and children are excited to post comments.
We teach our children to enjoy writing. They learn to mark make and write legible letters then cursive writing using Disco Dough activities and the Sheffield Structured handwriting scheme. We weave writing throughout the curriculum from making lists and labels in role play areas to science reports and letters to members of our community. Where possible, we provide real purposes to write. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are an integral part of our writing and children learn to use dictionaries and thesauruses. We systematically teach sentence structure and generate sentences first before we write them. Children in Key Stage One learn to proof read and edit their own writing.
In Y2 we are trialing a mastery approach in English where we use a rich text for whole class lessons, with one text per half term to ensure depth of understanding for all.
Science and the Foundation Subjects (History, Geography, Art, Music, Physical Education)
The study of science enables children to understand the world around them. It involves making observations, collecting evidence and undertaking practical investigations in order to understand major scientific ideas. Science should always encourage critical and creative thought by encouraging children to engage in questioning and discussion about science-based issues, which affect their lives. Through their work in science, children will gain knowledge and understanding that will help them begin to make sense of phenomena and events in our world today.
These objectives are intended for all pupils in school. How they are implemented will be dependent on the age and ability of the pupil:
- Grow in confidence in science so they are able to express their ideas through using scientific language
- Begin to make sense of their observations and investigations by suggesting possible explanations
- Communicate their knowledge and understanding in a variety of ways
- Formulate and share ideas and begin to work out ways of testing them
- Recognise hazards and risks when working with living things and materials
- Make simple and accurate measurements
- Develop an enthusiasm and fascination about science itself
- Become curious about their environment
- Develop respect for the environment and living things
- Stimulate and excite pupils’ curiosity about changes and events in the world
- Satisfy this curiosity with knowledge
- Help pupils to learn to question and discuss scientific issues that may affect their own lives
- Help pupils develop, model and evaluate explanations through scientific methods of collecting evidence using critical and creative thought
- Engage pupils as learners at many levels through linking ideas with practical experience.
In Foundation Stage, the children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum.
We teach science in reception classes as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year. As the reception class is part of the Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum, we relate the scientific aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals (ELG’s), which underpin the curriculum planning. The majority of the science work covered within the Foundation stage falls into the Knowledge and Understanding of the world theme. Children often work in small focus groups with an adult to develop their observational skills and to use comparative language. The majority of the work will be oral.
Key Stage 1
At Key Stage 1 pupils observe, explore and ask questions about living things, materials and physical processes. They begin to work together to collect evidence to help them answer questions and to link this to simple scientific ideas. They begin to evaluate evidence and consider whether tests or comparisons are fair. They use reference materials to find out more about scientific ideas. They share ideas and communicate them using scientific language, drawings, charts and tables with the help of computing if it is appropriate. Planning takes in to account that the school places a high emphasis on the development of pupil’s skills of working scientifically.
KS 1 Coverage
Humans and other animals
Living Things and their Habitats
Everyday materials/Use of everyday materials
We cover the National Curriculum content for these subjects through modules of work each term. Work during Key Stage One is essentially practical, to give children the opportunity to construct knowledge and understanding through a range of age appropriate learning experiences.
We were awarded Gold Artsmark (May 2010) in recognition of the effective Arts curriculum offered.
Sustainability / ECO
We are a lead school for climate change and a Green Flag (gold level) ECO school. We are proud to offer all children the opportunity to explore both local and global issues that impact on our planet.
Computing is an integral part of classroom learning, both as a discrete subject and as part of cross curricular work.
All classes offer children experience of the 6 strands of computing within the National Curriculum; finding things out ,developing ideas and making things happen, exchanging and sharing information , reviewing and modifying and evaluating work as it progresses. Identifying and writing algorithms to gain an understanding of how they are implemented as programs on digital devices.
Children will develop computing skills, which will then be applied to solve problems in different areas of the curriculum. Pupils will be assessed on their ability to use and apply the computing skills they have learnt.
Pupils have access to computers in the computer suite. Pupils have access to digital cameras, microphones; flip video cameras, pixies and beebot programmable floor robots as part of their computing learning.
Pupils are able to access the school learning platform (Purplemash & reading with Bug Club) from home.
In Physical Education sessions we cover a range of activities, such as movement, gymnastics and games skills. These skills and co-operative group work come together in small group and team games. All children will experience 2 hours of PE a week. Y1 and Y2 children experience an additional 15 minutes physical walk/run per day to the above.
Religious education helps children appreciate different cultures and religious approaches. We provide religious education according to the locally agreed Sheffield syllabus. This is based on the 3 major faiths: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. We also incorporate other religious festivals and celebrations into our curriculum.