Early Years & Foundation Stage 

What is EYFS?

The Early Years & Foundation Stage (EYFS) applies to children from birth to the end of their reception year. It is based on four overarching principles:

  • Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
  • Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
  • Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
  • Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.

At Barlby Bridge we have a 26-place Nursery which offers places in the morning 8.45am-11.45am and there is one Qualified Teacher and one Advanced Teaching Assistant here. We also have one Reception Class with 28 places and to ensure best practice we have two adults here also, one Qualified Teacher and one Advanced Teaching Assistant. In addition to this we have support staff who also work within the classes and provide extra support and intervention where needed.

This Early Years Policy includes the following:

  • Aims and Principles
  • Planning and organising the curriculum
  • Classroom organisation and resources
  • Involving parents
  • Assessment, Monitoring and evaluation

Aims and Principles

  • To ensure that all children feel included, secure and valued.
  • To provide a relevant curriculum with tasks that make sense to the children and are both practical and purposeful.
  • To provide opportunities for children to engage in activities planned by adults and those that children plan or initiate themselves. Practitioners consider the individual needs and interests of each child and use this information to plan challenging and enjoyable experiences in all areas of learning and development.
  • To acknowledge the holistic nature of young children’s learning and natural links will be made between different areas of the curriculum, with the emphasis on learning through play and the importance of developing speaking and listening skills.
  • To create a learning environment that develops children’s imagination and encourages children to explore and express their ideas and feelings.
  • To respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding development through positive interaction.
  • To involve parents and carers and outside agencies where necessary.
  • To promote equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice
  • To provide early intervention for those who need additional support in line with the school’s Special Educational Need’s Policy
  • To ensure a smooth transition into key stage 1

Planning and organising the curriculum

There are seven areas of learning and development outlined in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) that provide a guide for planning, teaching and assessing in early years settings. Our curriculum uses Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage as guidance to meet the requirements set out in the statutory framework. Our curriculum is unique to our children. It is planned through a series of themes that reflect and respond to the children’s needs, interests, prior experiences and stages of development across the seven areas of learning, offering experiences in all areas of the curriculum and which carry equal importance to provide a broad and balanced curriculum with opportunities for play and child- initiated activities. It ensures that children are provided with a range of rich, meaningful first hand experiences in which children can explore, think creatively and are active and ensure that each child has the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding in every area of the EYFS. Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful activities and through a mix of adult led and child initiated learning.

All children will receive quality first teaching on a daily basis and activities will be adapted accordingly. In addition to this, where children have been identified as having a specific need, intervention programmes, activities and support will be implemented. Teachers and Teaching Assistants plan programmes together and where needed with liaison with the Special Needs Co-ordinator. (Please refer to the ‘Special Needs Policy’ for greater detail). The needs of children with English as an additional language will be met through planning and support alongside our ‘English as a Second Language’ practitioner.

  • The long term plan is the Foundation Stage Curriculum. This is an overarching framework that informs all other stages of planning. It shows the range of experiences and learning opportunities that are available while children are in the early years.
  • Medium term planning takes the form of a theme based upon the children’s interests. It is evaluated weekly to respond to other emerging interests that the children may have.
  • Short term plans select activities and learning objectives from medium term plan as deemed appropriate to meet the needs and interests of the children. Plans are extended and adapted accordingly.
  • Skills progression documents. For every area of learning, we have carefully mapped out the skills that children should acquire which will allow them to progress successfully through the school. Skills are built on from the EYFS Curriculum through to the end of Year 6 to ensure learning is progressive and pupils consistently have the opportunity to revisit skills learnt in previous year groups and connect new knowledge this knowledge.

There are three prime areas within the EYFS:

  • Communication and Language – children will be given lots of opportunities to experience a rich language environment, develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
  • Physical Development – children will be provided with opportunities to be active and interactive, to develop their co-ordination, control and movement and will be taught the importance of physical activity.
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development – children will develop a positive sense of themselves and others, form positive relationships and developing respect for others, develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings and be resilient, understand appropriate behaviour and have confidence in their own abilities. They will also learn to Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs and understand the importance of healthy food choices.

There are also four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied:

  • Literacy – children will be taught to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children will be given access to a wide range of reading materials to ignite their interest.
  • Mathematics – children will be provided with opportunities to develop and improve their understanding and skills in counting and using numbers, understanding patterns within the number and counting system, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems and describing and using shapes and measures.
  • Understanding the World – Children will make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
  • Expressive Arts and Design – Children will explore and play with a range of media and materials, be given opportunities and encouragement for using their imagination and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, singing, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.

Classroom Organisation and Resources

The organisation of the classrooms reflects the importance that is placed on children learning through play and first-hand experience, developing independence and having opportunities to initiate their own activities.

The Nursery and Reception classrooms provide the following areas:

  • Small world
  • Role play
  • Large and small construction
  • Sand
  • Book corner with a range of fiction and non-fiction books
  • Writing/mark making area with a range of writing resources
  • Creative area with access to paint, collage materials, box modelling resources and playdough
  • Laptops and Ipads
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Musical instruments
  • Maths area with a range of mathematical resources, games and equipment
  • Outdoor area – a safe, enclosed area which includes fixed play equipment, a fixed role-play area, sand pit, outdoor chalkboards, mud kitchen, plants, pipes and guttering, large sheds with range of labelled resources for children to use independently and with an adults. There is also a set of boots and waterproof clothing in order to make full use of the outdoor area, school field and on site Forest Schools area.

Assessment, Recording and Reporting

  • Assessments are made in line with the EYFS Statutory Framework.
  • Daily practice includes observations of children’s development and progress.
  • Discussions are held with all adults in EYFS and the headteacher about individual children’s development and next steps.
  • Significant observations of children’s achievements are recorded online using Class Dojo and are shared with parents.
  • An end of year report is provided to all parents/carers on their child’s development against the seven areas of learning.
  • At the end of Reception children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals for each area of learning.

Health and Safety and Safeguarding

Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them. We follow the safeguarding and welfare requirements detailed in the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance and adhere to the school’s safeguarding policy. We are a healthy school and participate in the free fruit and milk for under-fives scheme. For our Reception children we provide the universal infant free school meal and the menu is regularly monitored with the chef and shared with the children daily. We cater for those children who have special dietary requirements and have robust systems in place ensuring that all children receive the correct meal. Fresh water is readily available for all children and we encourage children to bring in water bottles with water only. Children are taught the importance of keeping clean, washing their hands and brushing their teeth correctly.

Involving Parents

Parents/carers are the child’s first and most enduring educators. When parents/carers and practitioners work together in early years settings, the results have a positive impact on the child’s development. A successful partnership needs to be a two-way flow of information, knowledge and expertise. We aim to develop this by:

  • Outlining how the EYFS is being delivered to parents/carers during the new parents meeting in July, to enable them to understand the value of supporting their child’s learning at home and how they can access more information.
  • Curriculum letters are sent home periodically and updated on the class page on the school website to keep parents informed of their child’s current curriculum and learning needs, with an outline of activities which could be undertaken at home to support this.
  • All parents will be invited to join the Mercury Class and Rocket Class closed group Facebook pages where they can share achievements at home, communicate with other parents in their child’s class and staff can post links, updates and home learning ideas.
  • Operating an “open door” policy, whereby parents/carers can come and discuss concerns and developments in an informal manner, and also to view children’s learning.
  • Sharing progress at school through annotated photographs and observations that are shared online using 2 build a profile and in Nursery Class Dojo and encouraging parents to use ‘Wow Moment’ slips to record any special moments or achievements at home.
  • Inviting parents/carers to come to stay and play sessions in the school and to accompany children on school visits.
  • In the Autumn Term, there will be meetings for parents to further explain the curriculum, with a particular focus on phonics and to share ideas on how parents can be involved how they can support children with their learning.
  • Discussing individual next steps and progress with parents/carers at parents’ evening in Autumn and Spring terms.
  • Providing an annual written report to parents/carers in July summarising the child’s progress against the Early Learning Goals.
  • All parents will be invited to join Friends of Barlby Bridge School (FOBBS), which exists to facilitate social occasions so that families can get to know one another and feel part of the school, to raise money to provide extras that enhance the education of all children in school and to contribute to the ethos of the school.
  • Any concerns over special needs will be discussed with parents and the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) for the school.

Please click on the pictures below to be directed to websites which will support your further understanding of the Early Years and give ideas on how to support your child:

Little Wandle Phonics