Early Years Foundation Stage
At Delabole Community Primary School we are firm believers that the Foundation Stage is a vital but exciting time for children. It quite literally builds their educational platform giving stability to all learning that follows. During this time, children develop quickly and we want to make sure they have the best start to their school life with us.
The Uniqueness of Every Child
Here at Delabole, all staff believe that every child has the potential to be a competent learner who can grow to be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We recognise that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates. Children's attitudes and dispositions to learning are influenced by feedback from others; we use praise and encouragement, as well as celebration and rewards, to encourage children to develop a positive attitude to learning.
We give our children every opportunity to achieve their personal best and planning is adapted to meet the needs of all groups and abilities. We do this by taking account of our children's range of life experiences when we are planning for their learning.
At the Foundation Stage we set realistic and challenging expectations keyed to the needs of our children, so that most achieve the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Foundation Stage. We do 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 learn effectively;
- Offering a safe and supportive learning environment in which the contribution of all children is valued;
- Employing resources which reflect diversity and are free from discrimination and stereotyping;
- Planning challenging activities to meet the needs of both boys and girls, of children with special educational needs, of children who are more-able, of children with disabilities, of children from all social and cultural backgrounds, of children from different ethnic groups, and of those from diverse linguistic backgrounds.
- Monitoring children's progress and taking action to provide additional specialist support as necessary - such as referrals to Speech and Language Therapy.
- Working closely with parents, carers and other outside agencies to ensure all children's needs are met so that they are able to access the curriculum and make good progress.
'Play is the highest form of research.' Albert Einstein
At Delabole School we strive to create a learning environment that inspires, delights and intrigues, both inside and out. We know that by offering children a wide variety of experiences and opportunities, we could help develop future athletes, artists, authors or astronauts. If children feel confident to challenge themselves, try something new, discover a hidden talent or truly believe in themselves, it could make all the difference to their future. We plan activities and resources based on the children's current interests, developmental needs and areas of learning that need to be taught. When children are excited and completely engrossed in their learning they gain far more from it. We are far more concerned with the learning and processes that have taken place than the end product. We want children to leave us with a variety of skills and abilities to help them develop in a world full of unknowns. For this reason, it is critical that - alongside our parents - we work together to ensure every child's experience in the Early Years Foundation Stage is a preparation for life and not simply preparation for the next stage of education.
'We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet.' Margret Mead
'Play is the work of childhood.'
Within the Early Years Foundation Stage we have a slightly different focus compared to the National Curriculum. We have a large focus on the Prime Areas of Learning. These are:
- Communication and Languag
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
These are the fundamental skills that support any other learning. It is important that children have strong skills in these areas to help support them fully within the Specific Areas of Learning:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Art and Design
To track the children's development throughout the year and ensure they are making good progress we carry out numerous observations capturing their learning. In order to do this effectively we use an online system called 'Tapestry'. This is a secure website that allows you to access your own child's journal at home once your account and passwords have been set up. This is a fabulous system as it allows you to see instantly what your child has been learning but also means that you can contribute evidence towards your child's journal at home. This is really important as you are their primary educators and may see developments and milestones we may not have captured yet in class. Furthermore, the children adore sharing their achievement back in the classroom and talking about their learning that you have uploaded. Celebrating these efforts with peers help to build confident, proud learners.
When the children first start their school lives with us it can all feel a little overwhelming. We have worked hard to create a transition plan that gives us time to build those important relationships with the children and their families while they experience elements of school in shorter bursts before they start in September. This is something we are constantly evolving and adapting to meet the needs of our pupils.
In September we start the year with staggered starts that enable us to really get to know the children and to spend key time settling them into their new routines and expectations. It is important that children experience the joy and excitement of coming to school in their new uniform and joining our tribe. By the time the children have completed their first week of school the complete cohort will be in full time.
Taught sessions in our class build up throughout the year to reflect the children's developmental stage and focus. We plan sessions carefully to ensure children receive the right level of challenge and success whist providing them ample opportunity to plan and develop their own learning through interests and new discoveries. There is much talk in the media about a push to make the Early Years more formal but I can assure you that it is possible to achieve high standards and the drive for learning whilst providing children with the fundamental time to play and experience joy in following their own enquiries.
We strive to create lifelong learners that adore school and all the opportunities that come with it.
Home-School Partnership Around Every Child
'Children don't need more things. The best toy a child can have is a parent who gets down on the floor and plays with them.' Dr Bruce Perry
Alongside Tapestry, as previously mentioned, within EYFS we work hard to build the link between home and school. We are proud of the open relationships we create with parents as this sharing of knowledge, achievements and next steps really supports the children fully. They are at the centre of everything we do and are our primary focus at Delabole School. Each term there will be a planned opportunity for parents to come into school to discuss the children's learning with Mrs. Dickinson, Miss Marshall and the child themselves. However, in addition we also send home numerous letters, learning materials and invites to performances. Mrs. Dickinson and Miss Marshall are always available at the end of the day if you need to catch her briefly for anything or alternatively you can arrange a longer meeting in private with the office. Please frequently check your child's book bag for letters, new reading books and resources.
As a school we are here to support you with your child's phonic development. There will be many opportunities for us to share high quality Read, Write, Inc support materials at each stage of your child's development. We do our very best to keep you informed and up to date but if you do feel we could be doing something additional please let us know.
A Wraparound Approach to Nurture
'What a child can do in cooperation today, he can do alone tomorrow.' Vygotsky
Within EYFS we have a group of highly experienced and knowledgeable Early Years professionals. We are passionate about what we do and how we do it. We see ourselves as guardians of childhood whilst supporting children to learn, grow and develop. We bring together the experiences of working in a range of different Early Years settings and know how important collaboration is. We are a tight team which had been recognised by external professionals visiting the setting. In addition to our core team we also have Sarah Dingle - our SENDCo - who can support alongside other external professionals such as Speech and Language teams, if your child should require some additional support.
We will work closely with your child to help them achieve some amazing things. Although, it is a lovely moment for us when we can step back and watch them do something completely independently. Within EYFS, we foster such independence as this independent application of a new skill demonstrates strong learning has taken place.
We are sure you will quickly get to know our dedicated and welcoming team.