The Early Years at Drighlington Primary School are fun, exciting and full of special moments. Children learn to be resilient, thoughtful learners that challenge themselves, problem solve, negotiate and communicate with one another. An engaging, safe and positive environment allows children to thrive academically, personally and socially. Relationships with each other are of the upmost importance and children learn to share experiences positively and confidently ensuring strong and healthy bonds throughout their time at Drighlington Primary School.
Our school culture of high expectations for learning and behaviour is introduced in Nursery and continues through to Year 6 with all children forming part of a successful, hard working school community. Children are inspired and motivated to learn more about themselves and the world around them in a caring, engaging and supportive environment. We provide a carefully planned, structured and monitored, child-initiated and adult-led curriculum that enables each child to develop maximum levels of self-confidence, self-motivation, and resilience whilst learning positively, happily and collaboratively with others. The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) is used as a guide to end-of-Reception expectations rather than a definition of what should be taught.
Aims of EYFS learning at Drighlington Primary School
- Early Years children at Drighlington engage in a stimulating curriculum that ensures that all seven areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) learning and development are addressed with the understanding that securing the essential skills of reading, writing and mathematics enables successful learning across all other subjects;
- We recognise that the teaching of reading, including phonics, is central to Early Years at Drighlington;
- Carefully planned areas of provision allows children to explore and investigate both new and familiar topics with enhancements included to develop basic skills e.g. phonics, writing and number. Adults skilfully play alongside children ensuring progress through higher level questioning and support;
- A wide variety of teaching approaches are used to support, encourage and challenge children in their learning. Learning projects guide children’s learning but do not dominate. Child led play can lead to a completely new adventure!
- As children progress through Early Years, they are gradually exposed to more formal teaching and learning through guided group work in preparation for moving into year 1.
We have a rigorous approach to teaching and acquisition of phonics with daily lessons, using Read, Write, Inc approaches. Phonics activities are also woven into the indoor and outdoor provision in a practical, engaging and stimulating way. We love reading at Drighlington Primary School! As well as daily opportunities to read through our phonics sessions children have access to a wide range of engaging and exciting books throughout the provision. Children start their reading journey on wordless picture books before moving onto phonically decodable books, in which children are able to successfully and accurately apply their phonics learning to segment, blend and read a variety of texts.
There is a constant focus on mathematics in Early Years at Drighlington Primary School. White Rose maths hub resources, daily counting and number songs all support the adult led sessions which are then extended through areas of provision, both indoors and outdoors, providing mathematics based problem solving play activities daily.
As with reading and writing, mathematics is everywhere in the Early Years classrooms. In addition to focused teaching sessions, children enjoy learning through real life experiences, be it using a phone in the role-play, building with blocks so they do not fall down, pouring a drink that does not spill or playing shops - the mathematical brain is always working. We provide many opportunities to promote mathematical learning including singing number rhymes and songs, recognising, matching and sequencing numbers, learning and using mathematical language, recognising and using 2D and 3D shapes in the environment, showing an awareness of patterns, time, measure and money and solving problems.
Understanding of the World
Understanding the world around us creates exciting, new learning experiences. Children show fascination when investigating uncharted topics. We foster an ethos of curiosity and challenge amongst the children. Children’s knowledge grows the more they experience. We provide experiences linked to the world, people and technology.
Personal social and emotional development
Children develop a positive sense of themselves and others. They are supported to form positive relationships and have respect for others. They develop their social skills and learn how to manage their feelings appropriately in different contexts. We also develop a Growth Mindset from an early age with children in Early Years developing a "can do" attitude and a positive approach to challenges.
Children are supported to become independent, caring and resilient individuals. This begins with being able to look after themselves and their belongings. We actively encourage our children to place high regard on responsibility and safety for themselves and others. The children have the opportunity to find out about how to keep their bodies safe and healthy, by supporting them to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Activities are planned to provide opportunities for children to be active as well as develop their co-ordination, control and movement. These activities include daily access to the outdoor play environment, focused fine motor opportunities and PE sessions. These all help support the development of both fine and gross motor skills.
Fine motor skills are involved in smaller movements that occur in the wrists, hands and fingers. It is important that children have the opportunities to strength these areas of the body in preparation for writing and forming letters. In the Early Years at Drighlington we provide a range of different activities to support this development:
- Cutting and using scissors
- Using tweezers
- Use of malleable materials such as play dough
- Puzzles and jigsaws
- Drawing with pens, pencils and crayons
- Painting with various sized painted brushes
- Model making
Gross motor skills are involved in movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts and movements. For children to develop larger movements and have the ability to walk, run, hop, skip, slide, catch, jump and kick they must practise these movements regularly. Activities to strength these movements include:
- Using the climbing frame
- Crawling through things
- Running, skipping and jumping
Communication and language development
Language development is based around three aspects: listening and attention, understanding and speaking. Children have opportunities to experience a rich language environment, to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves and to speak and listen in a range of situations. The adult’s role is to model language, hold conversations with the children and ask stimulating questions to foster such development. The ability to communicate effectively is a key skill and the better a child is at it, the better their future prospects will be.
Mark making and writing are essential skills that are fun and exciting. Children see writing as an independent skill purposeful to their learning. Writing is all around and not just confined to the writing area. Cursive script is taught from the outset. Whilst learning to write, resources are suitable for the child’s stage of development and they are taught correct pencil grip and how to sit at a table.
Expressive arts and design
Expressive arts and design supports children to use different materials and media to express themselves through art, design, drama, music, movement and dance. Children have access to range of different musical instruments. They experience with sound and movement, listening to and making their own compositions.
We believe that every child should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Inclusion is at the very heart of our curriculum. Activities are carefully planned and resourced with this in mind ensuring access to all. Children are closely monitored to ensure that no child is knowingly left behind. We run daily interventions to prevent children from falling behind. Children identified with special educational needs embrace our language rich curriculum. Support plans and packages are carefully and collaboratively planned with parents and carers and reviewed regularly.
Partnerships with parents is an important part of education at Drighlington Primary School. Working closely with parents enables practitioners to ensure parents feel confident that their child is safe, well looked and is receiving a high quality education during their school hours. There is an on- line learning journey called Tapestry, that allows practitioners and parents to communicate with each other on a regular basis. Parents are able to share home experiences by uploading pictures and sharing activities. It is a privilege to be able to see the children and their experiences out of school. In addition to Tapestry, there are plenty more experiences to further strengthen partnerships.
- Parents evenings to update on progress
- Inviting parents into school to share in their child's learning
- Information sessions about aspects of the children’s learning
- Reading diaries are sent home daily where both parents and practitioners can record listening to children reading
We are proud of our partnership with parents and encourage families to any concerns as they arise so that we can deal with them quickly and effectively.