Early Years At St Mary’s RC Primary School, Battersea:
At St Mary’s RC Primary school, our Early Years Foundation Stage comprises of one Nursery and one Reception class. We view our Early Years Foundation Stage as one of the most important school years as this is where we try to give our pupils the best possible start to their school career.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is a very important stage in a child’s life as it helps prepare for school ‘readiness’ as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. Children’s early years’ experience should be happy, engaging, fun and secure; and support their development, social skills and learning needs. Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfill their potential.
The children in our Early Years are excited and motivated to learn through rich and challenging learning experiences; opportunities to explore and take risks, and first-hand experiences.
We have high expectations for all our children and recognise that they each have different starting points. We plan according to each child’s stage of development so they can all thrive and develop. We aim for children to be well-rounded individuals who are independent, resilient, and confident in themselves and with others.
We enable strong partnerships with parents and provide parents with many opportunities to work closely with our staff to support children’s transition into the setting as well as their ongoing learning. We would like parents to feel secure in the knowledge that their child is well cared for and happy at school.
Our parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their children’s learning in school and at home, and are able to share learning experiences through ‘stay and play’ sessions, parent workshops and attendance on school trips. We recognise that parents are the first educators in their children’s lives and value contributions to judgements about children’s development. We use this information to support our assessments and share information about what children need to do next to develop and thrive. Parents have the opportunity to meet formally with their child’s teacher throughout the year to discuss and review their progress.
What is it like in the Early Years on a day-to-day basis?
Our Early Years Foundation Stage team ensure that planning follows the pupils’ interests through careful observation and assessment. Each area of the curriculum is planned for through broad themes which change half termly.
Every day, we provide opportunities for children to come together to share their experiences and have fun. Our children are happy, proud and feel secure knowing that we celebrate their successes and value their achievements. The curriculum is centred on the children’s interests with a balance of child- initiated and adult-led learning and offsite visits to local areas such as Battersea Park Library, Battersea Park or Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Joseph’s church.
Our learning environment (both inside and outside) facilitates child-initiated play and provides children with carefully planned opportunities, which allow them to explore, create and learn through exciting, stimulating, interactive and accessible resources.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework:
We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, which explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development and provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow.
The Early Years Foundation Stage specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. Children will learn skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
The following Prime Areas are those most essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional
As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in the Specific Areas. These are:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
All 7 areas of learning are used to plan children’s learning and activities. The staff teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are flexible and suited to your child’s unique needs and interests.
Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. It is very important that they develop social skills, such as turn-taking, sharing and independence; which help them greatly in the next stages of their learning. The guiding principles that shape our practice in the Early Years are that children are born ready, able and eager to learn.
Phonics teaching and learning are a key part of the Foundation Stage and help to develop early reading and writing skills. If you visited our Nursery or Reception class, you would see a range of activities taking place such as role-play, practical games, painting, cutting, sticking, retelling and reading books in the story corner. Children in the outdoor classroom may be riding bikes, playing musical instruments, building and balancing with a variety of resources, experimenting with sand and water or exploring the natural world.
The Catholic life of the school is rich in opportunities for children to encounter God and to deepen their relationship with Him as a loving, compassionate Father. We follow the Come and See RE programme in Early Years. The children’s learning is facilitated through songs, pictures, stories and art and craft activities.