At Hunsley Primary, we believe that the Early Years of school life underpin and set the standard for all other learning to follow. This is why we have a clear statement about ‘The Importance of Early Years’, in our Early Years Foundation Stage Policy.
Our Foundation Stage provision offers the necessary balance of ‘teacher-led’ input and ‘pupil-initiated’ learning. We create a supportive, stimulating context in the school indoor and outdoor learning areas for children to play and engage in enquiry, discovery and reflection. We value the importance of outdoor and hands-on learning and therefore our children learn through a ‘free flow’ indoor and outdoor provision. We want our children to be confident in expressing their ideas, happy to make independent choices, and keen to explore the world around them. It is here in EYFS that we set down the roots of our curriculum approach at Hunsley Primary.
It is really important to us that children are encouraged to think and talk about what they are learning and how they are developing, using the language of learning even at this young age. This is an early approach to ‘metacognition’, enabling the children to begin to see themselves as learners and build on their love of learning! We know that Hunsley children love learning, thrive on knowledge and like to bring what they discover at home into the classroom during our Show and Tell sessions.
Learning habits and routines are very important and we teach pupils how to look after and enjoy the resources around them. We aim to make the learning relevant to children’s lives though our EYFS themes and colourful, engaging, learning environment, and we place the pupils’ individual interests and choices at the heart of the classroom so they feel unique, safe, secure and ready to explore. In our Early Years provision we also focus on supporting our children to become independent. We take time to support the children in being able to take care of their own physical needs, understanding how to keep their bodies safe and healthy, from hand washing to brushing their teeth!
The Reception provision is centred round the children’s all-round development according to the EYFS Framework – development of key skills such as writing, reading and mathematics, as well as essential social, personal, creative, communication and physical development goals.
The Early Learning Goals
We use our Reception practitioners’ skills and expertise to create routines, build relationships, develop activities and resources in a rich learning environment which provide pupils with the opportunities and conditions to flourish in all aspects of their development. We provide balance across the areas of learning and look to identify each child’s specific needs, strengths and next steps, so that they can make excellent progress.
To view the Early Learning Goals please click here.
The ‘Prime Areas’
Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language are at the heart of the Reception provision and are what our staff concern themselves with every moment of each day to ensure the environment and the relationships are right for each child to flourish as a unique individual.
Recognising the importance of the Prime Areas, the Reception Team also offer a number of interventions to support the children with their listening, attention, speaking and social development. The EYFS team are trained in delivering support groups such as ‘The Nuffield Early Language Intervention’ and ‘Talk Boost’ which are offered to our Reception cohort on a weekly basis.
The key aspects of effective learning set down in the statutory framework are also at the heart of the Hunsley Primary vision and values:
The children’s learning is supported skilfully by our Foundation Stage experts, working closely with our primary partners to help teachers embed pupils’ new skills and growing knowledge through accurate, moderated assessment and joint
Our pupils experience every opportunity to develop excellent literacy and communication skills through access to a wide range of written, audio and visual material to stimulate their early reading and listening skills and encourage recognition of key sounds, letters and spellings, making an early start on learning new technical vocabulary essential later on in school.
By discretely using the Pearson Bug Club phonics and reading scheme materials (including online resources for parents to access), we teach the children the reading skills that will get them on the road to independent reading with lasting impact. Opportunities for reading and writing for different purposes will be given during adult-initiated sessions, as well as being rooted in all areas of our classroom provision, encouraging independent application of new knowledge and skills.
Maths is a favourite subject of many Hunsley children and we know how important it is to make maths fun, ‘real’, engaging and accessible so as to build a lifelong love of the subject and make sustained and rapid progress through primary and secondary phases.
The challenge of maths in Reception is that first grasp of number and patterns and we use Numicon, amongst a wide range of other teaching resources, such as resources from White Rose and puzzles and games from nrich, to support each child’s exploration in a fun, colourful and enquiry-based way. Numicon allows children to enjoy hands-on, practical mathematics, to ask and answer questions and to problem-solve.
Our staff are trained to make the next vital steps: ‘follow, support, question, stimulate thinking’ by recognising the potential to develop deeper understanding from initial play, by questioning and supporting, observing and recording, using the play as a way into more teacher-led learning stemming from the child’s choices. This is very much focused on children becoming confident with key mathematical skills such as counting, sorting, looking for patterns and using mathematical language. So that children learn about numbers and develop mathematical understanding in an imaginative and enjoyable way much of the work is developed through stories, number rhymes and songs, games and practical activities.
Maths specialists from our Trust team have worked with our staff to secure this early learning. We also offer ParentLearn sessions on site (in the use of Numicon, for example) to reassure parents about the ways they can support maths skills in a fun and straightforward way at home.
Understanding the World & Expressive Art and Design
These two areas of learning are all about children making sense of the world and making connections, to solve problems, make choices and to communicate their ideas and feelings. To support children’s creative and scientific development, certain skills are taught and opportunities given to develop their ideas, explore and experiment.
The specific areas support the foundations for future work in science, design and technology, expressive arts, history, geography and computing. Practical activities are planned which enable children to learn new skills and to explore, observe and talk about their experiences.
Children are involved in exploring colour, texture and shape; experimenting with paint, drawing materials, collage and clay; exploring and creating the different sounds of musical instruments; using their senses to investigate objects and materials such as sand, water and fabrics; finding out about and identifying features of living things both indoors and out; talking about how things work, for example how and why programmable robots move, and creating simple computer programmes; developing understanding of their own cultures and those of other people; and using different construction kits to build objects they have designed themselves.
As with Key Stage 1 and 2, Reception pupils are taught to think about how they can make connections in their learning and secure knowledge which they will build on as they progress through school. In Reception, the children explore through questioning and challenges, often based around favourite books and stories; for example, they love to track down the ‘evil peas’ from ‘Supertato’, or find out who has been creating problems for the ‘Three Bears’!