The Early Years
Our curriculum has been developed in conjunction with the DfE guidance, including, but not limited to the following:
• The Early Years Foundation Stage (2021)
• Development Matters (Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage) Revised July 2021
Statutory guidance outlines settings should provide:
Quality and Consistency: At Lakeside we work hard to ensure all children make good progress. We pride ourselves on having an inclusive environment that ensures children are both supported and challenged in their learning.
A Secure Foundation: Our curriculum is planned according to children’s individual curiosities, through core stories, themes, and community needs. We are highly reflective and use observations and interactions to inform future planning.
Partnership Working: As one of our school drivers, community and parent partnership is vital in ensuring all children are provided the right foundation for good progress throughout their school life. We provide a holistic approach to teaching and learning. Working with parents to ensure the environment and learning opportunities not only support your child but challenge them too.
Equality of Opportunity: We aim to provide a safe, caring, and friendly environment for all our children to allow them to learn effectively, improve their life chances and help them to reach their full potential.
We have designed our curriculum in accordance with the four guiding principles. These shape our curriculum and are interconnect with our vision, values, drivers and Lakeside Learner.
- Unique Child
- Positive Relationships
- Enabling Environments
- Learning and Development
There are seven areas of learning. Three of these are seen as the prime focus for healthy development of pre-school aged children. They are seen as the foundations of learning.
Communication and Language
• Listening, Attention and Understanding
The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. At Lakeside we understand the importance of back-and-forth interactions in a child’s language and cognitive development. Our learning environment is language rich, and the team is committed to engaging in high quality interactions. Children are given opportunities to experience a language rich environment to develop and extend their vocabulary, to develop confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to become active listeners. If we identify communication and language as an area of need, we use targeted interventions to support progress. These include, but not limited to; Wellcomm, Talk Boost, Speech and Language strategies advised by Surrey SEN Team.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
• Managing Self
• Building Relationships
Children’s wellbeing and happiness is at the heart of all that we do. At Lakeside we know that the development of PSED is crucial for children to lead happy and healthy lives, and fundamental to their cognitive development. The team are committed in developing positive, warm, and strong relationships with all children. At Lakeside we use Zones of Regulation to support children to manage emotions and develop a sense of self. Alongside our PSED provision we follow Jigsaw, which is a PSHE Scheme. Jigsaw developed emotional literacy, social and life-long skills, RSE/RSHE and resilience in an age appropriate manner.
• Fine Motor
• Gross Motor
Physical and sensory experiences are vital in developing children’s co-ordination, strength, spatial awareness, agility, balance, stability, and all-round development. At Lakeside, the children have access to the indoor and outdoor environment and a range of resources to support both gross and fine motor development as well as weekly PE sessions. During our PE lessons we follow the Get Set 4 PE scheme to support physical education in the early years. To promote children’s gross and fine motor skills we follow the programme Squiggle While you Wiggle in both Nursery and Reception. This programme builds the foundations for pre-writing skills, developing both gross and fine motor movements.
Alongside these three prime areas, there are four specific areas for learning.
• Word Reading
Children are given access to a wide range of high-quality texts to foster a love of reading. Our curriculum themes are planned through children’s interests and core books. In Nursery we follow Letters and Sounds Phase 1 to form the foundations of literacy. Once the children are secure and have mastered the aspects in this area we move onto ELS (Essential Letters and Sounds). It is a complete systematic and synthetic phonics programme. ELS teaches phoneme and grapheme correspondence, supports children’s oracy skills, reading, and writing. Children are given a wide range of writing opportunities linked to texts that they are familiar with or experiences that they have had. To develop children’s handwriting we use the Letter Join programme. This focuses on pre-writing patterns and letter families.
• Numerical Patterns
At Lakeside we ensure children learn mathematical concepts through practical ‘hands on’ experiences to develop their knowledge and understanding of numbers, counting, calculation, shape, space, and measures. Talk is at the heart of early problem-solving skills, which is essential in children gaining a deep, secure, and adaptable understanding of mathematical concepts. At Lakeside we follow a maths mastery approach to mathematics. We use NCETM and White Rose to enhance our curriculum. Children are taught mathematical skills during adult led activities. They then have a variety of opportunities to develop and refine knowledge and skills taught during child led learning through adult interactions and enhancements.
Understanding the world
• Past and Present
• People, Culture and Communities
• Natural World
Children are given opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and their environment. It is vital to help guide children to make sense of their physical world and their community. It starts with children exploring their own past and present experiences. To help foster curiosity and encourage children to explore similarities and differences in their community, environment and promote exploratory play. To develop a sense of belonging, understand diversity, build self-esteem, respect, and responsibility. In Nursery we have “Welly Wednesday’s” and Forest School sessions in Reception. These adult led activities promote outdoor learning and embed knowledge and skills within this area of the curriculum.
Expressive Arts and Design
• Creating with Materials
• Being Imaginative and Expressive
Children are encouraged to explore and use a range of media and materials. They are encouraged to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions through art, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology. Access Art is a KITE wide scheme that supports the teaching and learning of art. We utilise the topics, themes, and ideas available when and if they link with our objectives for the half-term or weekly plans. In Reception we follow Charanga, a music scheme that support adult led activities. Children can then apply the knowledge and skills acquired in their child led learning.
Subject leaders use statutory guidance, EYFS Policy, Intent Statement and EYFS Progression documents to inform their Progression of Knowledge and Skill documents. We use these to inform our curriculum objectives to set realistic and challenging expectations that meet the needs of all our children. These provide an ambitious and progressive top level view of what we want our children to know, understand and be able to do. We achieve this through:
• Planning opportunities that build upon and extend children’s knowledge, experience, and interests, and develop their self-esteem and confidence.
• Using a wide range of teaching strategies based on children’s learning needs.
• Providing a wide range of opportunities to motivate and support children and to help them to learn effectively.
• Providing a safe and supportive learning environment in which the contribution of all children is valued.
• Using resources which reflect diversity and are free from discrimination and stereotyping.
• Planning challenging activities for children whose ability and understanding are in advance of their language and communication skills.
• Monitoring children’s progress and taking action to provide support as necessary.
Children are encouraged to be independent, and we have many areas and activities where children can self-select materials and equipment. Through such child-initiated play the children can develop ‘Characteristics of Effective learning’ which include:
• Playing and Exploring
• Active Learning
• Creative and Critical Thinking
Our Curriculum Drivers, Lakeside Learner and School Values are interconnected with the Early Years curriculum. They are fundamental in enabling children to develop life-skill qualities.
At Lakeside the child is central to all that we do, their happiness and wellbeing is at the heart of our curriculum. Our aim is for all children to be confident communicators, inquisitive, independent, and happy learners. We recognise children’s individual needs and prior learning to create a holistic curriculum that build’s strong foundations for the future. The skills and knowledge acquired is underpinned by a strong set of values. Children at Lakeside understand the importance of respect, they are considerate of others and develop social and emotional intelligence.
Throughout their time in the Early Years, the children develop a sense of belonging to our school community and we believe community involvement and parent partnership are key to children’s education. We champion equality and believe every child can make progress. We recognise that all children are unique, and we celebrate differences within our school community. This is achieved through a curriculum that activates children’s natural desire to learn, following their interests and own curiosities. We encourage children to show courage and be aspirational in all that they do.
At Lakeside we know the development of oracy skills is key not only in academic achievement, but a child’s social, emotional, and interpersonal skills. We aim for all children to develop a wide vocabulary, to clearly articulate and communicate their needs, wants and ideas. To be able to activate their inquisitive nature and ask questions. At Lakeside we aim for children to acquire the skills and experiences to prepare them for life in an everchanging world. Ensuring they receive high quality and consistency in teaching and learning so that all children make progress.
We understand that children learn in a holistic way, and we orchestrate the environment to facilitate a community of enquiry. Children are given ample opportunities to act in an autonomous way and encouraged to take a lead in their own learning. However, we know that children need adult instruction to learn new things we ensure that there is a healthy balance. We trust in children’s judgements and actively tune into their passions and interests using them as a vehicle for learning. Our Early Years staff are dynamic and creative in their approaches to delivering the curriculum and strive to offer learning opportunities in meaningful ways that are designed to promote the love of learning!
Our Early Years team follow a flexible timetable inspired by children’s interests, curiosities and love of learning.
Through quality first teaching and a clear sequence of objectives we ensure all children make progress and have appropriate challenge and support in all areas of learning. We use Progression of Skill and Knowledge documents to ensure all children follow a clear sequence of objectives.
All children are recognised as individuals and treated according to their needs. We understand that children learn in a holistic way, and we orchestrate the environment to facilitate a community of enquiry. Children are given ample opportunities to act in an autonomous way and encouraged to take a lead in their own learning. However, we know that children need adult instruction to learn new things we ensure that there is a healthy balance. We trust in children’s judgements and actively tune into their passions and interests using them as a vehicle for learning.
Child Led Learning “Explore and Learn”
Children have extended periods of time to engage in their own lines of enquiry. Our learning environment is set up to ensure children have access to open ended resources to support learning in all areas of the curriculum. The inside and outside environments have equal importance. During this time children will:
• Engage in open ended resources that support learning in all areas of the curriculum.
• Practice the skills and knowledge acquired in adult directed activities.
• Practice and embed learning behaviours.
• Develop their metacognitive skills and self-regulation.
• Adults interact in child led learning to support, scaffold, challenge and extend thinking.
• Children have agency over their learning and environment. Helping to develop intrinsic motivation and a love of learning.
Thematic Approach and Adult Directed
Our curriculum is planned around several high-quality texts, which follow a theme and are rich in language. Planning promotes awe and wonder, excitement and offers numerous experiences. Our themes are constantly evolving and developing according to community and cohort needs or interests.
Direct teaching is a carefully planned set of objectives according to children’s next steps. Staff teams meet half-termly to use the Progression of Skill and Knowledge documents to plan objectives according to children’s next steps, to further extend current learning or plan new skills or experiences that need to be offered. Some planned activities include:
• Storytime and Grandma Fantastic (Nursery) – Her love of language promotes the development of new words.
• Systematic phonics approach.
• Daily Circle Times.
• Mindfulness – Breathing techniques, yoga, outdoor learning.
• Adult led inputs to teach a new skill planned through a selection of language rich high-quality texts.
• Enhancements – Activities available to the children during child led learning. These are planned with a clear objective, informed by statements from the progression document.
The curriculum ensures that when children leave Early Years they have achieved a Good Level of Development (GLD) across all areas of the curriculum. An integral aspect of the curriculum is that children are prepared for their future and are beginning to acquire the qualities and skills of our Lakeside Learner. Their individual identity is valued, and our children are kind and caring whilst also promoting high levels of respect for others. From their different starting points, all children will make good progress academically, emotionally, creatively, socially, and physically. Knowledge, understanding and skills will be secured and embedded so that children attain highly and are fully prepared for starting Year 1.
At Lakeside, ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process. Staff teams will meet daily to evaluate the day’s learning and discuss their observations of the children. In light of this discussion, learning will be adapted for the following day. We work closely with the Inclusion Lead to ensure our curriculum meets the needs of all children, including SEND and disadvantaged. A variety of summative and formative assessment methods are embedded into our practice to ensure that outcome judgements are holistic and focussed on the individual child. Photographs/Videos of children’s learning are shared with parents through an online system called Tapestry. All practitioners have access to Tapestry and are responsible for sharing annotated photographs with parents throughout the year. We encourage parents and/or carers to contribute to their child’s learning journey to feed into the child’s overview of their learning.
When a child is aged between 2 and 3, staff review their progress and provide parents and/or carers with a written summary of the child’s development in the 3 prime areas. This ‘progress check’ highlights the areas in which a child is progressing well and the areas in which additional support is needed.
End of Year Assessment
At the end of their time in Nursery, they will receive a written report against the prime areas of learning, characteristics, and next steps. This ensures that necessary information is passed onto the next setting to build on the child’s knowledge and understanding. Children with additional needs will have a report based around their characteristics of learning alongside their most recent individual support plan/targets. There will also be meetings and discussions with reception class teachers, SENCos, DSLs at primary schools as appropriate
On arrival into our setting the team spend long periods of time interacting and building relationships with all children during their play. These in-depth observations are our baseline, which informs future planning and teaching opportunities. Alongside our internal baseline we complete the statutory Reception Baseline Assessment.
Focus Children “Learning Detectives”
Reflecting the changes in EYFS assessment, across the Kite Academy Trust we use a Focus Child Approach.
Each week a small number of children are chosen to be a focus child. During child-initiated learning time, adults will focus on these children to identify their progress/next steps and learning styles. Each child is a focus child twice a year, this resulting in parents having the opportunity to contribute and consult with the teachers in a structured way each term. In Nursery, the number of cycles will be dependent on the term the child will start with their academy. During each child’s focus week, quality interactions and learning experiences are reflected on and used to inform next steps. These reflections are also shared with parents via Tapestry.
At the end of their week as a focus child the team will meet with the parents to discuss progress, achievements, and next steps through a telephone conversation. Evidence in children’s learning journeys supports all areas of the curriculum. These observations are used to shape future planning. Staff also consider observations shared by parents and/or carers. Next steps will be shared and agreed between key people and parents, and strategies provided to enable success at school and at home. Children with identified SEND will have individual targets set throughout the year which are regularly reviewed and discussed with parents. These targets will link to their intervention plan.
End of Year – Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP)
At the end of the year, we provide a well-rounded picture of your child’s knowledge, understanding and attainment against the Early Learning Goals (ELG). We meet the family to discuss their child’s progress, next steps and support when transitioning to year 1.
An integral aspect of the curriculum is that children are prepared for their future and are beginning to acquire the qualities and skills of a Lakeside Learner. Their individual identity is valued, and our children are kind and caring whilst also promoting high levels of respect for others. From their different starting points, all children will make good progress academically, emotionally, creatively, socially, and physically. Knowledge, understanding and skills will be secured and embedded so that children attain highly and are fully prepared for starting Year 1.
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