Early Years Foundation Stage
At St Gregory's Catholic Academy 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, at varying rates. We use praise and encouragement, as well as celebration/sharing circle times to encourage children to develop a positive attitude to learning. We give our children every opportunity to achieve their best. We meet the needs of all our children through various ways including planning opportunities that build upon and extend children’s knowledge, experience and interests.
In our Catholic school the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum is based on promoting the spiritual and moral development of every pupil through three prime areas and four specific areas of learning, as outlined in the revised ‘Development Matters’ document for the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Prime Areas of Learning
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
Specific Areas of Learning
- Understanding of the World
- Expressive Arts and Design.
Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. They practise and build up ideas, and learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems. All staff work together to foster the characteristics of effective early learning.
- Playing and exploring
- Active learning
- Creating and thinking critically
Please see our web pages for more information about our EYFS classrooms.
DfE has published a new guide for parents, produced by Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre. 'What to expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage' (formerly ‘What to expect when’) guides parents through what to expect with their child’s development. It aligns with the new Development Matters to help practitioners engage with parents about their child’s development.
(From the Foundation Years webpage. Foundation Years is funded by the Department for Education and brought to you by the National Children’s Bureau)
Communication and Language Development
Developing Early Language and Communication at St Gregory’s Catholic Academy
Early language is the single most important factor in influencing literacy levels at age 11. More important than behaviour, peer relationships, emotional wellbeing, positive interaction and attention. Vocabulary at age 5 is also linked with wider outcomes in mental health and employment in adulthood
Our Early Years Policy places a strong emphasis on children developing competence in speaking and listening and acknowledges that all other areas of learning make a vital contribution to the successful development of communication.
Language and communication is nurtured and developed through
- children being exposed to daily high quality texts, rhymes and poems
Story of the week
- key vocabulary being planned for and displayed in independent learning areas
- high quality interactions between both staff and children and children and children is scaffolded
- high quality role play within the indoor and outdoor ensures that children can use and develop language effectively
- partnership working with parents and carers
- partnership working with external agencies such as Stoke Speaks Out and Speech and Language Therapists
- Identified target support for children such as ‘Language Steps’ and ‘NELI’
Staff have received Stoke Speaks Out Level training and have received Launchpad for Literacy training. This has enabled staff to identify and close skill gaps and to ensure progression for all through quality first teaching. Language development and enrichment is an ongoing priority for CPD.
Planning and Practise
Medium and short term plans include focused vocabulary. The planned vocabulary is based on the topic and/or book of the week and the daily focus. Through carefully planned guided sessions new vocabulary is introduced and then is reinforced through independent learning opportunities.
Staff will always be a good role model for spoken language. Daily routines model vocabulary and allow the chance for children to begin to join in as they develop and extend expressive language. Language enrichment is differentiated, inclusive & progressive. Through interactions and observations staff will know how to interact and model vocabulary so that it is matched to children’s individual next steps.
A focussed story will be planned for each week. The children will become very familiar with the text developed through activities such as talk for writing, role play and continuous provision activities. This will be shared with parents at home. Other texts, both fiction and non-fiction, are read alongside the text. A rhyme or poem of the week supplement the text or topic. Again, this is shared with parents.
High quality role play significantly impacts and develops language and communication. When children are interacting together they learn new words and expressions from those around them. Child begin to discover the most effective words to get their point across to their friends. As they use new words they become confident communicators and subsequently learn to listen to others. Staff model the use of language and provide further opportunities to extend children’s language skills through quality interactions.
We recognise that some children have specific language needs and in order to make progress require additional support alongside quality first teaching. On entry to both nursery and reception all children are screened using the ‘Stoke Speaks Out Communication Screen’. Children who score significantly low (red band) are assessed using the BPVS to obtain a standardised score. Identified children will then either be referred to Speech and Language Therapy Services or take part in interventions programmes such as
- Language Steps (nursery)
- Time to Talk (nursery)
- Early Talk Boost (nursery / reception)
- Talk boost KS1 (reception/KS1)
- NELI (reception)
Working with External Agencies
We value research based approaches and acknowledge that a multiagency approach to the development of language and communication significantly impact upon the development of early communication and language. We work with
The Stoke Speaks Out Toolbox for assessment and intervention and use the SSO assessment to assess children for referral for speech and language therapy
Working with Parents
A weekly focus is shared with parents which informs them of the focus book, focus rhyme / poem and focus vocabulary. Parents are encouraged to come into school for the ‘Book Start’ session run by the local librarian and school led workshops.
Parents are sign posted to parent friendly resources for example,
In the Summer term as part of the induction, weekly play and stay sessions support and develop children’s vocabulary through interactions, stories and rhymes. Staff scaffold language to parents and carers and offer support and guidance on language development, reading and singing to young children and the use of dummies. Play and stay sessions also ensures that we can identify early intervention and signpost parents for support.
See below for more guidance on supporting children at home.
Early Mathematical Development
EYFS Statutory Educational Programme:
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.
By providing frequent and varied opportunities to build and apply this understanding – such as using manipulatives, including small pebbles and tens frames for organising counting – children will develop a secure base of knowledge and vocabulary from which mastery of mathematics is built. In addition, it is important that the curriculum includes rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of mathematics including shape, space and measures. It is important that children develop positive attitudes and interests in mathematics, look for patterns and relationships, spot connections, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes.
Learning with Numicon
What is Numicon?
Numicon is an approach to teaching maths that helps your child to see connections between numbers. It supports your child as they learn early maths skills in nursery and primary school. It is a multi-sensory way of learning, which means your child learns by seeing and feeling.
See below for more information.