Welcome to the Foundation Stage at Sevenoaks Primary School
The Foundation Stage is based on the principle that early years’ provision should offer a sound foundation for future learning through a developmentally appropriate curriculum.
The Foundation Stage places great emphasis on children learning by doing. Young children are given more opportunities to gain first hand experiences through play and active involvement rather than by completing exercises in books or on sheets.
Throughout the Foundation Stage the children play, make friends, develop and learn. They have great fun, exploring and creating, indoors and outside. They gain independence and confidence and their natural curiosity is encouraged at all times.
‘Development Matters’ states that:
“Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments.
The four themes of the Early Years Foundation Stage are:
- A Unique Child
- Positive Relationships
- Enabling Environments
- Learning and Development
Learning and Development
The Early Years Foundation Stage is separated into three prime areas and four specific areas. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas are the prime areas. Adults must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
The Prime areas consist of:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
The Specific Areas consist of:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive Arts and Design
At Sevenoaks Primary we teach phonics every day through the Letters and Sounds programme, supported by additional rhymes and songs from the Jolly Phonics and Read, Write Inc schemes. Parents and carers are invited to attend a phonics workshop early in the academic year to help them find out more about how we teach early reading and writing skills. Foundation Stage children are taught in classes, and support staff work with children who may need additional guidance. Throughout the Foundation Stage children are taught Phases 1, 2 and 3 of Letters and Sounds. The national expectation is that by the end of the Foundation Stage children will have successfully learnt all of the sounds and tricky words in Phase 3, and be able to blend and segment words using these sounds.
We have a wide selection of reading books that support this phonetic approach to the teaching of reading and parents are also able to use virtual books to further support reading at home.
At Sevenoaks Primary children have access to a balanced curriculum that encourages them to learn through play in addition to taking part in focused activities led by experienced Early Years teachers and support staff. Each day, children are exposed to an exciting and varied timetable, which has a careful balance between children exploring and learning independently through play, and focused activities planned and led by adults. We try to ensure that activities and topics are based on the children’s interests and adults work together to plan accordingly. It is important that children are supported in the Foundation Stage in order to be prepared for the transition into Year 1. Towards the end of the Foundation Stage the balance will shift towards more activities led by adults, to help children prepare for more formal learning, ready for Year 1.
We have three reception classes at Sevenoaks Primary, Lion Cubs, Leopard Cubs and Tiger Cubs. There are three teachers and three Early Years teaching assistants in the Foundation Stage. We also have other assistants, including trainees and volunteers, who provide additional assistance under the supervision of qualified staff.
We are well-resourced with new, air conditioned classrooms and an exciting outdoor area. Our outdoor area is a dedicated space for the Foundation Stage children and includes a climbing frame, a tunnel, a mud kitchen and a lovely big tree to climb on. Children have multiple opportunities throughout the day to access this area. We also have a large covered area so we can be outside in all weathers.
At Sevenoaks Primary, we organise the learning environment to encourage children to be independent. As well as adult led focused activities and independent focused activities, children have access to activities that they can initiate themselves and resources that allow them to follow their own ideas. This type of learning occurs both inside and outside.
Developing the Home-School Partnership
We believe that parents and carers are the child’s first and most enduring educators. We try to work with them as partners in their children’s learning. We endeavour to develop a close working relationship between home and school involving parents in their child’s development as much as possible. Some of the ways we encourage this are:
- Parents and teachers have the chance to chat informally at the end of the school day. Parents are welcome to make appointments at any time if they wish to discuss anything in greater detail or privacy.
- Involving parents and carers as helpers for regular classroom activities and for special events such as visits to the local area.
- Support and advice is available regularly for parents of children with special needs.
- Sharing Books encourage a connection between home and school and contain a weekly newsletter from each class.
- Home visits are offered and encouraged before children start school in September. This allows staff and families to begin to build a bond early on
- Teaching staff are capturing children’s progress and development using the Tapestry Online Learning Journal app. Parents and carers are encouraged to access this information at home to find out what children have been learning at school, and to share children’s achievements outside of school.
- To find out more, please go to https://tapestry.info/about.html/
Links with the Community and Other Agencies
We use the opportunities offered by the local community in the following ways:
- We visit the local Wildlife Reserve and connect this visit to our topic of minibeasts
- Visits from people in the locality and school community who come to talk to the children on a variety of issues. For example we had a visit from a teacher who had seen a fairy in his garden during our Fairy Investigation.
Planning, Assessment and Record Keeping
We assess each child on entry through games and activities and monitor their progress throughout the year. We track progress regularly in numeracy and phonics. Any child who is not making the expected progress is supported by teaching staff and assistants with additional interventions. At the end of the Foundation Year each child’s progress is assessed using the EYFS Profile. Children are judged to be either emerging, at expected levels or exceeding against all 17 Early Learning Goals. The majority of children at Sevenoaks Primary school make a good level of development by the end of the Foundation Stage.
For further information & resources, visit www.foundationyears.org.uk