At Beecroft Garden Primary School, we want all of our Early Years children to be happy, confident, well-rounded individuals who have a love of learning and exploring. We believe in providing all children with a safe, secure and stimulating environment, both inside and out, that builds on individual wants, needs and interests. We strive for all children to succeed and become confident and independent learners. We build on children’s prior learning and starting points as well as their experiences at home. Working together with parents and carers throughout their time in our Foundation Stage, we aim to provide the best possible start to their learning journey.
Our curriculum is built around high quality fiction and non-fiction texts, which link to a variety of themes and help children to learn and develop the skills and knowledge, set out in the EYFS Framework. We are passionate about developing a love of reading from the very start of our children’s education; reading opens the door to the world of adventure, increasing imagination and curiosity.
At Beecroft, we acknowledge the value that children learn best by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. Our outdoor areas are used all year round and in most weather conditions. We ensure activities support the Characteristics of Effective Learning to ensure learning takes place, and that the children are challenged at the same time. Children learn through a balance of both adult led and child initiated learning opportunities. Our timetable is structured carefully to provide a rich and varied creative curriculum, and changes throughout the year to take into consideration the changing needs of our children. We want the children to find love and enjoyment in everything that they do at Beecroft.
Prior learning: We aim to recognise children’s prior learning, both from previous settings and from their experiences at home. We work in partnership with parents, carers and other settings to provide the best possible start at Beecroft Garden Primary School, ensuring each individual reaches their full potential from their various starting points. We do this by placing a strong emphasis in the first term on the Prime Areas of learning, which include, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development.
The importance of language: We strive upon building a language rich environment. This includes using every opportunity to use language, to interact, to share a focus, to talk, to take turns. Building a language rich environment is also about building a nurturing environment, giving the children love and affection and building their self-confidence. We provide a nurturing learning space, which is purposefully designed to provide the necessary stimulus to develop children’s language skills effectively. Our Practitioners seize every opportunity to use language, interact and encourage turn taking. We also emerge our children in helping us develop key vocabulary that might be used that week, based upon our topic / story. Along with extending vocabulary to ensure children within our setting have a diverse and language rich experience.
Reading rich environment: Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Fiction and non-fiction texts are chosen carefully to fit in with our themes. We aim to expose children to quality texts, which not only inspire a love of reading but will also spark their interests and develop their vocabulary, language, imagination and communication skills. These texts are reflected in our provision and the activities provided for children. Writing activities are planned around the texts to enable children to apply their phonics. Children have a daily literacy and phonics lesson as well as a time to read with their teachers throughout the week.
Phonics: We follow the Little Wandle scheme for phonics. In the autumn term of Reception, phonics lessons take place daily in Reception class. Children take home books to help them practise the speed sounds and once they can blend, books, which help them practise blending these sounds. They are listened to regularly in school.
Maths: In Mathematics in Reception, we build upon the foundational skills they have previously learnt in Nursery. Children learn through using concrete and pictorial representations, taking part in activities using them and playing games. There is a strong emphasis on mastering skills and developing a deep understanding of number. As such, children are taught to subitise quickly and explore how numbers are constructed.
Themed learning: We have identified 6 overarching themes to base learning on. Each of these themes provides enough scope to follow children’s interests and ideas whilst also ensuring coverage of the statutory framework. Current themes are: all about us; people who help us; transport; journeys. Food glorious food; in the garden. Organising topics in this manner also links to the whole school half termly themes. In addition it provides a clear transition between reception and KS1, with half termly links providing clear links with the subjects which are taught in in KS1 and beyond, allowing children to develop the core knowledge and skills they will use moving through the school.
Inclusive practice: We have designed our curriculum to be inclusive. All children learn together, but we use targeted support and intervention for children who may not be reaching their full potential or need further challenge. This includes sessions to develop Speech and Language skills; fine motor skills; mathematics; phonics or social skills. Children with an EHCP or IEP have bespoke targets and may identify that their learning needs to take place away from the classroom due to their sensory or other individual needs at times.
Our broad and enriched curriculum supports our children to be able to make links and apply their skills and knowledge in varied, meaningful ways. In our active and challenging learning environments, both inside and outdoors, children learn and ask questions about the world around them and beyond. Children develop their independent learning and problem-solving and communication skills. Our school values teach the children about compassion, tolerance, their rights and the rights of others. The flexibility of our curriculum allows their voices to be heard and celebrated. Their interests are reflected in enriching learning experiences and opportunities to learn through educational visits and visitors. The children develop their personal identities, creativity, imagination, curiosity and resilience and become successful lifelong learners.
We believe that each child is unique and ensure that they all have appropriate support to achieve. We take time to observe and evaluate how our children learn. This aids us to monitor the effectiveness of our curriculum to ensure that the learning needs of specific children, classes and year groups are fully supported. Observational assessment ensure progress by helping teachers and early years practitioners to identify the starting points of children’s learning and to plan broad and hands on experiences. Our assessment procedures allow us to effectively monitor and support the progress of all children, including vulnerable groups such as those with SEND, Pupil Premium or children with EAL The internal and external moderation of our judgements give us confidence that they are consistent with other settings.
Our level of GLD reflects the impact of the teaching and learning in our EYFS. Children in the EYFS at Beecroft Garden School make good progress from their starting points. We believe that this is due to the successful balance of learning experiences. The children are confident and successful learners who are prepared for the next stage in their learning. They are fully supported to have a positive transition between Reception and Year One. Effective communication between staff ensure that the children’s previous learning is built upon successfully.