The EYFS Unit
Our EYFS unit is made up of a Pre-School class (accepting children from 3 years old) and a Reception class. We work as a unit, to ensure that all children enjoy a range of opportunities indoors and outdoors that develop their experiences and foster a love of learning. Whilst the children have their own classroom that they enter in the morning and use as their base for the day, they free-flow between the two classrooms and outdoors. We believe that this is a huge advantage for the children - the older children model and teach skills and knowledge whilst the younger children learn from their older peers. There are a number of adults across the EYFS unit who work with all children, completing observations, enhancing learning opportunities and developing secure, caring relationships with the children. All staff contribute to learning journeys, which document each child's individual path through Reception, celebrating achievements and showing progression. These are available for children and parents to access continually throughout the year.
We use the 'Development Matters' guidance in order to plan, assess and monitor the progress made by children. Please click here to see the guidance.
RE is taught discretely in classes and follows the Questful RE and Understanding Christianity schemes. Please click here for a list of RE units covered throughout the year.
Phonics is taught discretely in groups based on children's attainment, using the Read Write Inc scheme. Please click here for more information.
Talk for Writing strategies inform speaking and listening, reading and writing opportunities and engage the children in fostering a love of stories. Alongside this, the Reception class develop their understanding of mathematics through the use of White Rose Hub and NCTEM mastery resources.
The Four Themes of the EYFS
The four themes of the EYFS underpin how we run our EYFS unit and ensure that all children develop and learn to the best of their ability.
A Unique Child
Every child is unique and is constantly learning. They can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. At Clayton-Le-Woods, we treat every child as an individual and celebrate them. The Pre-School and Reception classes have celebration boards in each classroom, where children can display things that they are proud of, from school or home, for everyone to see. We use our knowledge of the children we work with to inform our planning, choosing learning opportunities and activities based on the needs and interests of the children in our EYFS unit. We ensure that all learning journeys are individual to each child and show the developments they have made throughout their time with us. Each child is allocated a key person group and that group is planned for based on the individual interests and needs of the children in that group. Next steps for each child are also informed by the child's key person and developed through learning opportunities in the EYFS unit.
Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships, with adults and their peers. As we work as an EYFS unit, children develop strong relationships with all adults across the setting and adults support children's learning. Adults are aware of children's current age bands and next steps through classroom displays, making it easy for any adult entering the setting to determine how to best meet the needs of that child. Key person groups allow children to develop a secure, positive relationship with a key adult who they interact with on a daily basis. We promote positive relationships between all children within the EYFS unit and promote our class rules continually. We work in pairs and small groups to develop children's understanding of how to cooperate with others and resolve conflicts appropriately. We have an open door policy for parents, as we feel that home-school relationships are vital in building strong foundations for children's learning and development. We invite parents to come into class every morning with children and have lots of opportunities for parents to come into school and see how their children are learning.
Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, where learning experiences are matched to individual needs and are valuable. At Clayton-Le-Woods, we ensure that high quality resources are available for children to access freely in spacious and well planned areas. There are different areas across the two classrooms to allow for quality learning to take place in spacious, well resourced spaces and the children free-flow to gain access to all areas. In addition to this, our outdoor environment provides a number of different areas for children to access and develop their learning. Rich learning opportunities are planned for by the EYFS team, through adding enhancements to permanent resources in order to meet the children's needs and develop their interests. Adults engage with children and support them in all areas indoors and outdoors, modelling language, skills and collecting observations on children. We teach the children about our Growth Mindset culture, where mistakes are celebrated as opportunities to learn something new and there is no such thing as 'can't'.......we can't do it yet!
Learning and Development
Children learn and develop in different ways. At Clayton-Le-Woods, we teach children through challenging, play based opportunities across all areas of learning and development. As a team, we continually reflect on our planning, practice and assessments, making adjustments to improve and meet the needs of our children. Assessments of children's progress and development are kept and monitored as a team, as well as by the senior leadership team. We look at key groups in order to ensure that all children are achieving their full potential and to plan where adjustments need to be made. Our EYFS unit fosters the characteristics of learning; playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically.
Characteristics of Effective Learning
The characteristics of effective learning underpin our pupils learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage. The ways in which they engage with others and their environment – playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically – underpin learning and development across all areas and support the children to remain effective and motivated learners. We look for these characteristics when observing children and plan to develop them during everything we do.
The Learning Environment
Our classrooms have recently been renovated and provide an exciting and engaging environment for children to learn and thrive in. Resources and equipment are available for children to access independently and labelled with photographs and words to ensure children know where things belong. In addition, we also use our outdoor space continually which has a number of different areas to learn in and resources to ensure learning takes place outdoors as well as indoors!
Pre-School Classroom Reception Classroom
Please see the long term plans for each area of indoor provision below.
Examples of Observations
Observations of children are collected by all members of the EYFS team and inform assessments and next steps of the children. They are displayed in learning journeys, which the children have access to in class to share with parents, visitors and friends.
We value the involvement of parents and provide lots of opportunities for parents to be involved in their child's learning and celebrating their achievements.
Parents are welcomed into classrooms every morning to spend time with children exploring the learning environment, discussing their achievements and look at learning opportunities within class. The children enjoy showing their parents what they have learnt and exploring new activities with them.
There are regular opportunities for parents to join us in celebrating achievements, share learning opportunities, share information and develop learning at home. Some examples of these are:
- We held an afternoon tea party, prepared and set up by the children. Children shared story maps with parents and retold their favourite traditional tale/fairy tale.
- Our outdoor area opening celebration allowed parents to explore our newly renovated outdoor area alongside the children.
- Learning journey open sessions allow children to sit alongside the parents and share their learning journeys with them. The children are so proud of their achievements and love sharing these with their parents.
- We led an EYFS Harvest Worship, where children shared their worship time and prayers with parents, only a few weeks into the first half term!
- We have held parent workshops on reading and phonics and most recently on Growth Mindset.
- Parents evenings alongside the rest of the school provide opportunities to discuss children's learning, achievements and progress on a one-to-one basis.
- Reception children receive homework packs each week. These packs are designed to provide learning opportunities between the child and an adult and cover a range of different areas of development and skills that are vital for children to achieve the expected standards at the end of the EYFS.
- Class mascots are used to develop home-school links. Children are selected to take home Elmer (Willow class) or the Everywhere Bear (Ash class) and keep a diary alongside parents, showing what they having been doing with the Everywhere Bear that week. Ash class have now moved on to taking home the Marvellous Me box which encourages children to celebrate their interests, achievements and individuality.
- We also provide parents with WOW moments that can be filled in and brought to school to celebrate children's achievements out of school.
- EYFS newsletters are sent home every half term, sharing news, new topics and key dates with parents so they are fully aware of what will be happening in class each half term.
- Each Christmas, the EYFS unit perform their own nativity which parents are invited to.
- We held a Gardening Morning for parents to attend and help us develop our mud kitchen and nature area. We planted seeds, decorated plant pots and explored our mud kitchen together.
- Every half term, parents are invited to attend whole school reading mornings to promote a love of reading for pleasure across every year group.
The fundamental British Values of ‘Democracy’, ‘The Rule of Law’, ‘Individual Liberty and Mutual Respect’ and ‘Tolerance of Different Faiths and Beliefs’ are already embedded in the EYFS curriculum and practice. We actively promote British Values in a number of different ways.
- We ensure that children know their views count and their opinions are important, e.g. we follow the children’s interests for topics and activities, we are flexible in order to address children's questions and interests.
- We encourage children to make decisions together, e.g. when sharing a group toy like a large train set, deciding focuses for key person time.
- We encourage the children to see their role in the ‘bigger picture’, e.g. they are part of a family, class, school, church family etc.
- We encourage children to value each other’s views and beliefs and to talk about their feelings. e.g. through key person times and circle times.
- We Provide opportunities for the children to vote for activity choices, e.g. choosing a book for story time or choosing a golden time activity by a show of hands.
- We encourage children to complete activities that involve turn-taking, sharing, discussion and collaboration, in both our indoor and outdoor environments.
- We value and respect each others by following our class rules; kind hands, kind feet and kind words.
- We work together to create an environment where it is ‘safe’ to make mistakes, share thoughts and ideas and to explore different options, e.g. by promoting forgiveness after an argument, by providing opportunities to retry an activity and develop a tolerance for different views, by developing a growth mindset culture where making mistakes and learning from them is celebrated and we understand that we should never give up trying.
The Rule of Law
- We encourage adults and children to work together to create class rules.
- We discuss the need for rules and how they should be administered fairly, e.g. the need for rules to keep everyone safe and happy.
- We teach children to understand their own and others’ behaviour and feelings along with their consequences.
- We work together to create an environment where actions are consistently followed through, e.g. adherence to class rules, thinking place and traffic light system to reflect on behaviour.
- We encourage and support children to learn how to distinguish right from wrong through continual discussion about right and wrong choices.
- We encourage children to take turns, share and compromise and praise these behaviours.
- We encourage children to develop a positive sense of themselves and provide opportunities to develop self-esteem and confidence. We have class celebration boards in class as well as WOW moment displays, to celebrate children's achievements and what they are proud of both in and out of school.
- We provide opportunities to take on risks, challenges and responsibilities (through helping hands monitors) and also encouraging children to explore and discuss their thoughts, feelings and ideas with others.
- We encourage children to try a range of different activities and to discuss and select their own preferences. We develop this through our key person systems, by observing children, planning next steps and working alongside children to explore areas of learning they may need support or encouragement with.
- We provide opportunities for children to follow and develop their own interests and ideas and incorporate these into our continuous provision planning.
- We provide activities for all children to engage in and actively challenge gender-specific tasks and activities, encouraging all children to explore all ways of learning in a way they are comfortable with.
Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
- We aim to create an environment that includes, values and promotes different faiths, cultures, views and races.
- We provide opportunities for the children to make links with the wider community, e.g. inviting family members or speakers to visit the class and trips out to local places such as Cuerden Valley, Clayton Green Library.
- We encourage children to learn about other faiths, cultures, traditions, families, communities and ways of life. We encourage the children to share their experiences with the group if they feel comfortable to do so. We incorporate this into class learning and through the homework packs that Reception class are issued weekly.
- We encourage children to learn about the world around them, both locally and further afield, e.g. local trips, using books, stories, posters and videos to learn about places far away, cultural days, local events and activities, national celebrations.