Our Early Years setting follows the curriculum as set out in the 2023 Statutory Framework. This includes 7 areas of learning and development that are equally important and interconnected. However, 3 areas known as the prime areas, are 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:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
The prime areas are strengthened and applied through 4 specific areas:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive arts and design
At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, we work hard to provide a stimulating environment that provides exciting opportunities, promotes challenge, exploration, adventure and a real love of learning.
Every day our children get the opportunity to be an artist, writer, mathematician, scientist, designer or a storyteller to name but a few! These opportunities enable our children to be confident and independent, to believe in themselves and interact positively with others.
We understand that play is an integral part of learning and this is at the heart of our early year’s curriculum. Warm and positive relationships between staff and children, consistent routines and strong relationships with parents are key. We recognise the crucial role that early years education has to play in providing firm foundations upon which the rest of a child’s education is successfully based.
At St Joseph’s, we prioritise creating a ‘language rich’ environment through the use of songs, nursery rhymes, stories and providing time for quality interactions between adults and between peers. Trained staff ensure that interactions are positive and progressive, allowing children to flourish and gather words at pace in order to become confident communicators.
Children are encouraged to become early readers through enjoyment of books and the systematic teaching of phonics. The children learn nursery rhymes and develop their mathematical thinking through direct teaching and exploration. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences.
We have built our school environment to enable our children to strengthen their core muscles through physical play. Children spend time outdoors in their natural environment in all weathers. They take part in play-based exploration and sensory experiences in our mud kitchen, sandpit, tuff trays as well as taking part in sessions in our nature garden. Our learning environment is adaptable in order to reflect children's interests and progression. The children are supported to learn to work together, manage their feelings and ask questions through skilled adult facilitated play.
The use of continuous provision enriched with classroom enhancements, topics, trips and visitors support children’s development in all areas of learning. The use of quality key texts, are chosen carefully to encourage children's speech, language and communication development. Planning is flexible and responsive to children’s needs so plans are changed and adapted dependent on children’s interests.
We understand the importance of parental engagement and believe that our parents have a crucial role to play in their children's education. We work hard to create strong partnerships between home and school. Parents receive skills and knowledge organisers to inform them of what their child is learning each half term and to explain how they can support this at home. Parents enjoy using children’s home learning journals and ‘wow’ moment slips to comment on their child's learning and share experience from home. Parents also share photos and work samples of suggested home learning activities via google classroom.
As part of the learning and teaching process, children are assessed in relation to their progress towards the Early Learning Goals. These judgements are made on the basis of observations and in-depth knowledge of the children acquired through ongoing assessment and quality interactions between adults and children. These ongoing assessments are used to inform planning and next steps in teaching and learning for all children throughout the year.
Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children, from their own starting points make good progress. During their time with us children make progress towards the national expectation for a good level of development at the end of the year. Children also make good progress toward their age-related expectations both academically and socially, developing a sense of themselves before transitioning into Year One.
Children develop their characteristics of effective learning and are able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. Children are confident to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with peers and adults drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing.