At Ark Blacklands, our EYFS curriculum is designed to be ambitious for all pupils and ensures that children are active participants in the learning process; they are challenged to think, question, reflect and analyse. The EYFS framework covers the development and learning of children from birth to the end of their reception year in school. We aim to build on children's previous experiences as they enter our school from several local nurseries, to ensure a happy and purposeful year in reception. This enables our children to be ready and confident for Key Stage 1.
In our EYFS setting we provide a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment which supports the growth of independence, resilience, collaboration and reflects our Habits of Success. At Ark Blacklands we place a high value on vocabulary and experiences which prepare children for the rest of their school journey.
Children in Reception follow our EYFS curriculum, which gives children a broad range of knowledge and skills which provide the right foundations for good future progress through school and life. Our curriculum is language rich and each of our topics uses inspiring stories and nursery rhymes to underpin all learning. Children learn and hone new skills and knowledge, and demonstrate their understanding through seven areas of learning and development:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
These seven areas are used to plan children’s learning and activities and are tailored to suit each child’s individual needs. The curriculum is designed to be flexible so that staff can follow each child's unique interests.
Children in the EYFS learn by a daily mix of direct instruction; independently playing and exploring; being active and creative, and solving problems in and outside the classroom. Our specially designed EYFS outside play area gives children the chance to play safely and freely whilst simultaneously learning to assess risk and develop the skills to manage new situations. Our extensive school grounds also provide opportunities for outdoor exploration. We supplement the curriculum further with enrichment activities including visits to the local community and inviting visitors into school to engage with the pupils.
EYFS teachers quickly identify children who may need additional support and early interventions take place to ensure all children progress in their learning. Our dedicated speech and language specialist supports children with any individual speech and language needs.
Special ‘wow’ moments in each child’s journey through EYFS is recorded in their electronic ‘Learning Journey’ which parents are encouraged to contribute to, allowing us to celebrate learning at home as well as at school.
At the end of the EYFS, in the summer term of the Reception year in school, teachers complete an assessment which is known as the EYFS Profile, using the Early Learning Goals. This assessment is carried out by the Reception class teachers and is based on what they, and other staff, have observed over a period of time.
We firmly believe that all of our children can become fluent readers and writers, the direct teaching of which, starts with Phonics. Teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support.
Teachers are supported in the delivery of Phonics lessons by the Ruth Miskin Read, Write Inc (RWI) programme, which is a Department for Education validated systematic and synthetic phonics programme. The programme ensures that children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. We model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics, in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the Phonics lesson, and across the curriculum. Through this rigorous approach to the teaching of Phonics and early reading, our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar words as they read.
We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we understand that vocabulary, speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects. Children participate in planned speaking and listening activities that are matched to their developing needs. We also foster a love of reading through exposing children to a wide range of reading books and storytelling. We value reading as a crucial life skill, therefore, by the time children leave us, we expect that all Reception children will have acquired the foundation skills necessary to read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure and purpose as they grow.
Pupils make excellent progress from their baseline to reach a Good Level of Development enabling our children to be ready and confident for Key Stage 1.
Please see here for further detail of the impact of our curriculum.