The Early Years Foundation Stage at St Bart’s
We intend for the children in EYFS to have had as many different experiences as possible before they leave to move into KS1 which will shape their learning, broaden their horizons and harvest existing talents.
We recognise that children need motivation to learn effectively and, using the Characteristics of Effective Learning to instil a mindset of not giving up, we intend for them to gain the necessary skills to become successful, lifelong learners. We provide an environment which ensures these different types of learning occur throughout the day, which immerses the children in an engaging world and encourages the children to be confident in communicating and thinking for themselves.
We intend the Prime Areas of Learning to be fundamental in the foundation of learning throughout our EYFS, to provide an environment which enables the children to grow in these areas and one which allows the Specific Areas of Learning to develop and grow the children’s knowledge and skills.
Our school’s curriculum drivers of resilience, environment and diversity are integral to our planning. We intend all children and adults in our EYFS to demonstrate love and respect to one another.
We provide an environment that allows and encourages personalised learning and growth.
Much of the learning that occurs in EYFS is open-ended. We resource the inside and outside areas with equipment that the children are free to use and adapt however they want. These include a wide variety of materials for art, literacy, maths, investigation and role play which are kept at child height and are easily accessible to them. The children are never more than a metre away from something to write with. Tools are within easy reach, and children are taught and trusted to use them safely.
Children are encouraged to take control of their own learning, to come up with their own ideas, and are taught to deal with failures and successes. Our adults are skilled at asking questions and extending learning without encroaching on the children’s own ideas and vision, offering ideas and resources that extend knowledge and understanding of the Prime and Specific Areas.
We use topics as a basis for planning activities and these are changed weekly or fortnightly in order to maintain the children’s interest. They are often based on the children’s interests at that time and the children are encouraged to input their own ideas. These are recorded and put on the wall at child-height for the children to engage with.
Many of the activities the children engage in are self-initiated and may or may not be topic-based. There are many areas within the environment that provide continuous provision or loose parts to support creativity and innovation and the children adapt and use them freely.
The timetable of the day is designed to enable children to become fully immersed in their learning with as little interruption as possible. We provide a snack bar and drinks for them to access when they wish. Phonics and other whole-class activities such as collective worship, story time, learning inputs and the use of areas around the school grounds take place at transition times such as at the beginning or end of the day, before or after lunch.
Children are expected to participate in some adult-led activities which are specifically targeted to develop knowledge and skills in individual children. We recognise and encourage the children’s strengths as well as identify and support them with areas for development.
The EYFS at St Bart’s is the foundation for developing a long-lasting relationship with parents. We actively encourage parents to play a part in the children’s lives at the school by inviting them in not only to workshops, open classrooms, performances and events, but also to come and help in the classrooms and have the opportunity to communicate with the adults in the classes whenever necessary. We value the parents’ knowledge of their own child’s capabilities and they are encouraged to use our online assessment tool Tapestry to enable a home-school dialogue.
As soon as children start in EYFS at St Bart’s we begin instilling and developing the understanding of loving your neighbour as yourself, expressing God’s love in all that they do. We introduce the BARTS values as a bedrock for not only their school career but also to support them in their journey throughout the rest of their lives.