Learning within EYFS
At St Thomas’, in the Early Years, we ensure our children develop a broad range of skills and knowledge which provide the right foundation for future progress throughout school and life. Our children are at the centre of all of our teaching and learning approaches. As a result of this, our provision is set up to ensure it matches the needs of all of our children whilst encouraging independence and positive relationships through deepening the child’s thinking and providing daily challenge. We provide a safe, stimulating and happy environment for the children to build resilience, develop in confidence and where they are able to feel valued as individuals.
We seek to provide:
- Quality and consistency, with high expectations so that every child makes good progress.
- A secure foundation through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each child and are assessed and reviewed regularly.
- Partnership working between practitioners and parents and carers.
- Equality of opportunity ensuring that every child is included and supported.
We believe that all children bring with them deep curiosity and potential, are competent, capable thinkers and learners as well as creative communicators and conversationalists. In the Early Years at St Thomas’, we aim to create a learning environment that is exciting, engaging and a happy place to learn and grow.
The Learning Environment
Our learning environment is organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are specific areas where the children can be active, be quiet, and creative amongst many other things. Through our enriched learning environment, we aim to promote learning across all 7 areas of the EYFS framework. Children are able to be active learners, to create and think critically. All of our staff are passionate about promoting learning across the curriculum, and children have access to both the inside and outside areas across the school day. Being outdoors offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and on different scales than when indoors. The children can explore, use their senses and be physically active and exuberant. Links are made between both learning environments to ensure that all children receive a rich and varied curriculum that supports their learning and development.
What learning looks like?
Play and exploration is fundamental within our EYFS department. This means children are able to choose activities where they can engage with other children or adults or, sometimes, play alone. During these activities, the children will learn by first-hand experiences; by actively ‘doing’ as well as through scaffolding and modelling by adults. At St Thomas we plan learning experiences considering both the children's individual needs and achievements as well as a range of learning experiences that will assist them to make progress. Children deepen their understanding by playing, talking, observing, planning, questioning, experimenting, testing, repeating, reflecting and responding to adults and to each other. As the children progress through Reception, the academic learning activities increase. Each child continues to be supported and challenged through a lively and motivating curriculum, which caters for each child’s individual needs and abilities.
Characteristics of Effective Learning is a key element of the Early Years Foundation Stage development. It covers the ways in which children should learn from their environment, their experiences and their activities and how this is to be reflected in teaching lessons.
The 3 characteristics are:
- Playing and exploring - e.g.: showing curiosity about objects, events and people
- Active learning - e.g. showing a ‘can do’ attitude
- Creating and thinking critically - e.g. observing and solving a problem.
Teaching and Learning in the Imaginary World of Stories through Dramatic Play
At St Thomas’ our shared vision as a school is to focus on empowering all learners to learn for life. We are fully committed to delivering a narrative immersion approach, which puts stories and drama at the heart of our curriculum. Through the Narrative Immersion approach within EYFS we visit ‘Story world’ on a weekly basis. It enables children to develop:
- Thinking skills
- Emotional intelligence
- The dispositions of independent learning
Which linked to long term learning and life skill development help to develop their ability to:
- Work in groups;
- Manage relationships;
- Resolve conflict peacefully;
- Solve problems;
- Develop self-discipline;
- Have the confidence to speak out.
- Think independently and creatively.
The narrative immersion approach through different stories
- Provides a vehicle for a broad and balanced curriculum.
- Enables pupils to grasp the art of story-telling.
- Develops a language rich environment.
- Provides a context for learning and gives it added value and purpose.
Our Narrative Immersion curriculum forms the basis for lifelong learning.
Please feel free to take a look at our Long Term planning which shows the texts that are covered over a two year cycle within Nursery and Reception.