Mere’s Edge Federation
Early Years Foundation Stage Policy
‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds’ Hebrews 10 v 24
Mere’s Edge Federation EYFS are teacher led, mixed age classes. We pride ourselves on our caring and cooperative environment as we learn from and support one another to reach our full potential and have fun together. Everything we do is underpinned by the schools values.
Our experienced, warm and welcoming teams provide opportunities for children to learn, explore and play through a mix of child initiated and adult led play and experiences which follow children’s interests.
At our schools, we understand that children’s early years are the most influential in their education as they set the foundations for all future learning. We provide an exciting, stimulating curriculum based on the principles of the EYFS framework.
Principles of the EYFS
We believe every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS 2021) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.
We seek to provide:
• quality and consistency in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind
• a secure foundation through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each individual child and are assessed and reviewed regularly
• partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers
• equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported
· A unique child. We recognise that every child is a competent learner who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We recognise that children develop in individual ways and at varying rates. We use praise and encouragement as well as celebration and rewards to encourage and develop a positive attitude to learning. The Unique Child develops through the Characteristics of Effective Learning, which move through all areas of learning. These are: playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically
· Positive relationships. We recognise that children learn to be strong and independent from secure relationships and aim to develop caring, respectful and professional relationships with the children and their families.
· Enabling environments. We recognise that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending the children’s development. Through observations we assess the children’s interests, stages of development and learning needs before planning challenging and achievable activities and experiences to extend their learning.
· Learning and development. The Foundation Unit is organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are areas where the children can be active, be quiet and rest. The unit is set up in learning areas where children are able to find and locate equipment and resources independently. We encourage independence throughout the whole setting.
Our early years settings follow the curriculum as outlined in the 2021 statutory framework of the EYFS.
The EYFS framework includes 7 areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected. However, 3 areas known as the prime areas are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
The prime areas are:
The prime areas are strengthened and applied through 4 specific areas:
The characteristics of effective learning are:
Playing and exploring – engagement
Active learning – motivation
Creating and thinking critically – thinking
We will provide a broad and balanced curriculum that will enable each child to develop personally, socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, creatively and intellectually to their full potential. Each child is valued as an individual and teaching and learning is based on the understanding that children develop at different rates.
At Mere’s Edge Federation, we aim to:
· Provide a safe, challenging, stimulating, caring and sharing environment which is sensitive to the needs of the child including children with additional needs.
· Provide a broad, balanced, relevant and creative curriculum that will set in place firm foundations for further learning and development in Key Stage 1 and beyond.
· Use and value what each child can do, assessing their individual needs and helping each child to progress.
· Enable choice and decision making, fostering independence and self-confidence.
· Work in partnership with parents and guardians and value their contributions ensuring that all children, irrespective of ethnicity, culture, religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities, gender or ability.
· Provide opportunities whereby children experience a challenging and enjoyable programme of learning and development.
Assessment and Planning
Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play, and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Practitioners respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction.
As children grow older, and as their development allows, the balance gradually shifts towards more adult-led activities to help children prepare for more formal learning, ready for year 1.
At Mere’s Edge Federation, ongoing assessments are an integral part of the learning and development processes. Staff observe pupils to identify their level of achievement, interests and learning styles. These observations are used to shape future planning. Practitioners also take into account observations shared by parents and/or carers. Observations are recorded using Tapestry (an online record of children’s learning journey).
In Cockshutt C of E Primary School and Nursery, when a child is aged between 2 and 3, practitioners 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.
At the end of the EYFS, staff complete the EYFS profile for each child. Pupils are assessed against the 17 early learning goals, indicating whether they are:
A “Good Level of Development” is achieving expected levels in the three prime areas, plus literacy and mathematics.
The profile reflects ongoing observations and discussions with parents and/or carers. The results of the profile are then shared with parents and/or carers.
The adults plan activities and experiences for children that enable children to develop and learn effectively. In order to do this, practitioners working with the youngest children are expected to focus strongly on the 3 prime areas.
Staff also take into account the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience. Where a child may have a special educational need or disability, staff consider whether specialist support is required, linking with relevant services from other agencies, where appropriate.
In planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners reflect on the different ways that children learn and include these in their practice.
In addition to pre-planned adult led learning, we also use “In the Moment Planning”. This is a tool which helps all staff to scaffold children’s learning in the moment; something which is greatly beneficial.
Parents as Partners
We recognise that children learn and develop well when there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers. Parents and/or carers are kept up to date with their child’s progress and development through Tapestry, written reports and parents evenings throughout the year. These help to provide parents and/or carers with a well-rounded picture of their child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities.
Throughout the year, we provide a range of activities that encourage collaboration between child, school and parents: open mornings/ afternoons, celebration assemblies, church services, sports day, etc.
In nursery, each child is assigned a key person who helps to ensure that their learning and care is tailored to meet their needs alongside the class teacher. Parents are welcomed into the classroom to help their children settle every morning and pass on any relevant information. In reception, the EYFS teacher acts as key person to all children, supported by the teaching assistants.
Please also refer to the intimate care, safeguarding and inclusion policies.
Monitoring and review
It is the responsibility of the EYFS teacher to follow the principles stated in this policy.
There is a named Governor responsible for the EYFS. This governor will discuss EYFS practice with the practitioners regularly and provide feedback to the whole governing body, raising any issues that require discussion.
The Head teacher and subject coordinator will carry out monitoring on the EYFS as part of the whole school monitoring schedule.
Signed by Head Teacher _____________________________ Dated _________
Signed by Chair of Governors _________________________ Dated _________
Date of next Review _________________________________