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Early Years

We largely follow a ‘teaching in the moment’ approach. Adults create enabling environments that are equipped to meet the needs, interests and stages of development of each child. Adults move to where the children are engaged and interact with them as they play, making the most of children’s natural desire to explore and learn to enhance the learning whenever a “teachable moment” is spotted. Practitioner observations, interactions and the outcomes of these moments are recorded and contribute to the child’s ‘Special Book’ which is a detailed profile of the child’s developmental learning journey.  This approach supports children to develop as purposeful, calm, confident and independent learners. Our highly skilled teams support children to meet their next steps and drive their innate desire to learn forwards.

Play can help children to develop these positive dispositions for learning:

  • finding an interest
  • being willing to explore, experiment and try things out
  • knowing how and where to seek help
  • being inventive – creating problems, and finding solutions
  • being flexible – testing and refining
  • being engaged and involved – concentrating, sustaining interest, persevering with a task, even when it is challenging
  • making choices and decisions
  • making plans and knowing how to carry them out
  • playing and working collaboratively with peers and adults
  • managing self, managing others
  • developing ‘can-do’ orientations to learning
  • being resilient – finding alternative strategies if things don’t always go as planned
  • understanding the perspectives and emotions of other people.

Practitioners cannot plan children’s play, because this would work against the choice and control that are central features of play. Practitioners can and should plan for children’s play, however, by creating high-quality learning environments, and ensuring uninterrupted periods for children to develop their play.

The Foundation Stage curriculum is organised into different areas of learning.

Prime Areas: Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Physical Development and Communication and Language

Specific Areas: Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design

What to expect in the EYFS

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’) which guides parents through what to expect in their child’s development. It aligns with the new Development Matters to help practitioners engage with parents about their child’s development. Please download the document above view this useful document. 

Development Matters is for all early years practitioners, for childminders and staff in nurseries, nursery schools, and nursery and reception classes in school. It offers a top-level view of how children develop and learn. It can help you to design an effective early years curriculum, building on the strengths and meeting the needs of the children you work with. It guides, but does not replace, professional judgement.

The curriculum consists of everything you want children to experience, learn and be able to do. It must meet the requirements of the educational programmes in the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). These are included throughout Development Matters for ease of reference. This guidance sets out the pathways of children’s development in broad ages and stages. The actual learning of young children is not so neat and orderly. For that reason, accurate and proportionate assessment is vital. It helps you to make informed decisions about what a child needs to learn and be able to do next.

Key Stage 1

We aim to provide a rich, inclusive and creative curriculum which empowers our children to become confident, reflective, informed and curious learners.  Our Curriculum is organised to provide our children with the skills and knowledge to achieve success in life, building on prior learning and experiences. We believe in a broad and balanced curriculum, where all subjects are valued. Reading, writing and maths are taught discretely, with outcomes and experiences linked to topics and our key texts where appropriate. Reading is given a high priority across the curriculum, as we believe this allows our children to unlock a deeper knowledge of their topics, strengthen their understanding and build life-long learning skills.  

We recognise the importance of oracy and vocabulary; the deliberate teaching of rich vocabulary ensures that our children are able to express their knowledge and understanding of their learning in a precise and considered manner.  

Foundation subjects are grouped around themes, where appropriate, to ensure our children have the opportunity to create learning links and embed a knowledge-rich understanding of a broad range of topics and concepts. Through our curriculum, we celebrate the diverse cultures of our children and local community. We go on local trips, drawing on the wealth of resources that Waltham Forest and London have to offer. Click here to read more about each subject area.

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