In our foundation unit, we want to prepare our children to become successful learners for the entirety of their primary education. We have developed a curriculum that is accessible and achievable by holding the prime areas of personal and social development and communication language and literacy at the heart of our EYFS curriculum as these are essential to unlocking children’s full potential. Our main aim is to ensure that our children happy, literate and in good learning routines, therefore, these elements are a priority as we feel they are essential to children becoming successful learners. Children are encouraged to achieve and be the best that they can be through tight development of the characteristics of effective learning.
We have developed our curriculum to be centred around carefully selected topics, a core story and key vocabulary. We have intentionally decided to repeat topics every year, so that vocabulary, concepts and knowledge become secure and embedded. In F1, children explore and experience the curriculum, building the foundations for F2. Whilst in F2, we take the content deeper and we advance and master the identified vocabulary.
Early reading and phonics are at the heart of our curriculum: teaching of reading, including phonics, is the core purpose of the reception year. Reading is the gatekeeper to a broad and balanced curriculum and therefore our timetable and focus is heavily weighted in this area: We have triangulated our approach to reading. The three main focus areas are phonics, hearing stories (focusing on story language and vocabulary and reading in the environment.
We have linked our vocabulary work to the Isobel Beck work linked to tiered vocabulary. We teach explicitly tier one words to our children using picture to picture, picture to word cards to support our children’s understanding. For phonics, we use the RWI approach. More information about this can be found in the RWI section of our website. This will all help towards the CCL vocabulary development and ensure key objectives are being achieved.
The core stories are pitched at an age appropriate content and difficulty level. These stories are used in teaching and read repetitively so that children have memorable knowledge of quality stories. Although these stories are core to our curriculum children are immersed in a wider range of books and stories through, daily stories, recommended reads, character visits and dress up day
We have a balance to our teaching approach to ensure we get a variety of direct whole class teaching, small group, independent and 1:1. We use different strategies depending on the lesson or focus of learning. These strategies are used to teach carefully crafted skills and knowledge linked to Maths, Phonics and Literacy, plus one session for an aspect that links to the topic.
Children in F1 are immersed in stories and rhymes and this is used as a stimulus to ‘mark make’ on a daily basis. In F2, children read and write every day and are also immersed in core stories and rhymes. In F1, we encourage children, mainly through adult support, to develop their play, however, on a daily basis children will be exposed to small focussed activities in phonics, writing and maths. In F2, the teacher will regularly organise adult lead small group activities, but also, will ensure that adults are regularly in play.
It is vital that all areas of provision are used to develop communication and language and or maths through enhancements which are ongoing opportunities to develop communication, language and listening skills. These will be planned to meet current objectives for children but will be open ended and allow for differentiated outcomes. All these activities can come from either topic, children’s interested or core stories and if children are taught a range of strategies (through modelling and scaffolded support) they will be able to engage independently and move learning on.
At Coleridge, we ensure that all children can be successful within mathematics, provided that they have opportunities to explore mathematical thinking in real-life contexts, which give them opportunities to develop mathematical concepts and understanding. We value the importance of play and use provision areas to continuously support this; the learning environment is ever-changing and is continuously linked to the needs, abilities and interests of our children. Direct teaching is important within the unit to ensure key skills are modelled but effective mathematics is through explorative play in which children can apply their thinking to every day situations and contexts. Maths is taught daily and the Mathematics provision is carefully planned for to meet the needs of all pupils. As the children learn more, the provision changes to allow children to independently apply their skills.
The size of numbers is an important part of our Foundation Stage curriculum and we ensure, through our progression of teaching, that children have a secure understanding of number and can subitise effectively. Teachers use the White Rose Foundation Stage curriculum to support the teaching of this: working in small steps to ensure children have a secure conceptual understanding. In Autumn, children focus on numbers to 5 whilst supporting children’s curiosity and investigation into larger numbers. Children are encouraged to see numbers all around them in everyday life and this is supported throughout the unit with number trays where examples are collected throughout the week. Role play and areas throughout the unit are used to support this understanding of number and to build number sense at this early stage. Through this a secure understanding of cardinality, counting, comparison, composition and pattern all learners are supported to ensure they are provided with the firm foundations needed for their journey into the learning of mathematics.
Although there is a large weighting towards number in the Foundation progression, children are given a wide range of opportunities to develop their understanding of Shape, Space and Measure. We believe it is an essential skill for our children and teachers within the unit create environments that allow children to experiment through child-led play as well as through purposeful focused activities.
Maths Mash Ups are used for five minutes daily to secure basic skills around number, calendar maths, shape and pattern, measures, time and money. Counting, number recognition and subitising are incorporated daily to support this key skill. Teachers use songs, rhymes and music to keep children engaged and allow children to recall key facts that they can apply to their explorative play.
Mathematical reasoning and talk is encouraged across school and this is also encouraged throughout the unit. Children are encouraged to reason and problem solve, even at this early stage, and through active learning and thinking critically they are supported by the adults within the unit to explain their thinking. Vocabulary and talk guidelines are used throughout mathematical discussions to support their thinking.
Our environment is key to the children’s development. It is set up to support children’s interactions, opportunities for talk, investigation and exploration. We encourage independence and the development of characteristics of effective learning through access to the provision. Adults model how to use the areas effectively and use sustained shared thinking to extend children’s learning.
The list of recommended reads are below:
Top tips for reading!
Each half term we will send home and upload a newsletter with some top tips for helping your child with reading at home. This term is all about Fred talk!
One of the first steps when learning to read is oral blending. This is sounding a word out (Fred talk) and then being able to blend the sounds to say the whole word. Fred is a frog that we use in our phonics lessons at school and he can only sound words out. You could practise sounding words out when you’re out and about and at home. This will help your child with hearing the sounds in words which is a really important skill in early reading. Here are some examples of how you can practise Fred talk at home. Have fun!
At our school children in Foundation Stage are provided with a curriculum which understands that every child is unique, is constantly developing and can be resilient, capable and self-assured. Our provision recognises that children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. We provide enabling environments which respond to children ideas, thoughts and interests while providing support for children to explore and take risks. We know that children develop and learn in different ways and we teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development.
The Prime areas of learning are:
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Language and Communication
- Physical Development
These Prime areas of learning are fundamental throughout the EYFS
The Specific areas of learning are
- Understanding of the world
- Expressive Arts
The Specific areas of learning include essential skills and knowledge; they grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning.
We use the ‘Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage’ guidance to support our children’s learning and development. When planning our curriculum we observe the children in variety of contexts and learn about their passions and interests at home from parents and families. We use this to see where each child is on their learning journey. We plan how to support children to strengthen and deepen their learning and how to extend and challenge each child.
Guiding principles of Foundation Stage Curriculum
- To provide a rich, stimulating, exciting and hands on curriculum. Teachers will be innovative providing playful learning opportunities across all seven areas of learning and development.
- To provide enabling environments for learning and development indoors and outdoors making use of school grounds and the local area/community.
- To be child led and flexible. Our curriculum will be led by children’s interests and the changing world around us.
- Children will spend time initiating their own learning with practitioners joining when invited or when beneficial to learning and development. Children will spend time learning with practitioners in adult planned and led activities.
- To develop children’s basic skills and their understanding of learning skills to get children ready for their next steps and ensure lifelong learning.
- To develop children’s independence, aspirations and enterprise skills.
- To engage, involve and support parents and families with their children’s learning in school and at home.
Throughout their time in Foundation Stage children’s learning is supported through three characteristics of learning: Playing and exploring – finding out and exploring, playing with what they know, being willing to have a go.
Active learning – being involved and concentrating, keeping trying, enjoying achieving what they set out to do.
Creating and thinking critically – having their own ideas, making links, choosing ways to do things.
Our children will be introduced to the learning skills characters for Resilience, Communication, Problem solving, Critical and Creative thinking, Team work and Reflection. The children really enjoy meeting the characters and discussing which learning skills can help them with their learning.