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Early Years Foundation Stage

Our Early Years Foundation Stage is made up of one Nursery class and one Reception class. We aim to provide a rich, inspiring, creative and nurturing environment where children can begin their educational journey.

For Parents Guide on What to Expect in EYFS please click on the image below.

At St Mary’s we believe Learning happens everywhere. The opportunity for learning is continuous in our environment. From the classroom, to the outdoor area, to the lunch hall, and all the way to the school gate. Our highly effective staff use every chance to encourage independence, language, thinking and learning. We believe there is learning in every moment of the day, from sharing a story to making playdough cakes and from lining up to building a castle.

Early language and vocabulary development are the foundation to children’s achievement, in these early years and later. We create a language rich environment in which we encourage and support our children to become excellent communicators. To understand and to be understood is modelled throughout all learning situations. Working in a space with many other children brings challenges, especially to our youngest children. Resolving differences, learning to listen, to share or take turns and to consider the needs of others are a core part of the personal and social development of children. We focus on teaching and supporting our children to develop the skills to interact with their peers.

All children have the potential to achieve and succeed. 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. Our children are happy, proud and feel secure knowing that we celebrate their successes and value their achievements.

Our Curriculum

Our indoor and outdoor classroom environments are places where the children are excited and motivated to learn through inspiring and challenging experiences, opportunities to explore and take risks, and first-hand experiences. The curriculum is centred on the children’s interests with a balance of child- initiated and adult-led learning and includes off site visits to Battersea Park Library, Battersea Park, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and other locations inspired by learning topics. Places such as a city farm, the theatre or a supermarket.

Each term the key literacy texts used in our planning inspire creative experiences such as baking our own bread, designing and making our own dragon eggs, growing cress seeds, studying artists and their techniques from around the world and learning songs and dances from different cultures. We create opportunities for wonder and discovery ensuring high levels of participation and engagement.

Phonics

At St Mary’s we follow the Sounds-Write phonics scheme. This is a structured, precise and highly successful teaching program of early reading and writing skills. With our staff’s enthusiastic and creative delivery of literacy based learning experiences we ensure our children have the knowledge and skills needed make a successful transition to Year 1.

Religious Education

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.

EYFS Framework

The Early Years Foundation Stage framework explains how and what children will be learning in order 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.

Prime Areas for a Child’s Healthy Development and 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:
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

For Development Matters please click on the image below.

The Reception Baseline Assessment

The Reception Baseline is a statutory assessment that all Reception age children will take part in. It is a quick and very child-friendly assessment, which takes place in the first six weeks of starting school and gives us a ‘snapshot’ of your child’s ‘starting point’ in school. This information will be used by the Department of Education to track your child’s progress from Reception to Year 6.

For information for Parents on Reception Baseline Assessment please click on below image.

Parents

When children feel valued, safe and as though they belong, they are happy, confident, and independent learners. In order for this to happen effectively, we place great value on the partnership between school and home. We recognise that parents are the first educators in their children’s lives and we value their contributions.
 
At St Mary’s we aim to build strong partnerships with parents and provide opportunities for you to work closely with our staff to support your child’s transition into our setting as well as their ongoing learning. Parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their children’s learning in school and at home, and to also be a part of our school life and events. 

  • We have ‘stay and play sessions’ upon enrolment in the Nursery and Reception classes where the children and parents have a chance to visit and see our environment in action.
  • Welcome meetings and ‘get to know you’ events are held at the beginning of the academic year.
  • Family learning workshops provide opportunity for parents to participate in the classroom and find out about different ways to support your children’s learning.
  • There are two formal parent meetings each year where parents meet with the class teacher to discuss your child’s development and progress.
  • Drop in sessions in Reception class give parents a chance to see phonics teaching in real time and to know how to best support your child’s early reading and writing development.
  • We make ourselves available to talk to parents on an informal basis each day and are happy to arrange appointments for more in depth discussions.
  • At the end of the academic year we provide parents with a written report about their child’s learning, development, interests, achievements and targets.
  • Parents are invited to attend school trips with both the Nursery and Reception classes.
  • Throughout the year there are a number of school life events such as assemblies, prayer services, performances, sports days, multicultural evenings and coffee mornings where parents can be a part of their children’s learning and development.

All of this helps us to ensure that our parents feel secure in the knowledge that their child is safe, well cared for, happy and making progress at school.

Nursery Curriculum Overview
Reception Curriculum Overview