At Bitterne Manor Primary School we aim to provide motivating first-hand experiences whilst encouraging our children to build resilience, ambition and a lifelong love of learning. We recognise that all children are unique, celebrating and welcoming differences within our school community. Our Early Years Curriculum has been designed to reflect the nature of our intake and follow and build upon our school values of using our heads, using our hearts and using our hands. It aims to teach the children the importance of respect for all people, creatures and the environment while they develop into confident and articulate individuals. Our ambitious curriculum aims to teach all children the skills and knowledge in order that they reach the seventeen Early Learning Goals set by the Department of Education.
We aim to:
- Provide a curriculum that offers children a wide range of opportunities ensuring that we do not expect children to aspire to things they have never encountered. We will work on broadening their experiences providing opportunities to try new things and encouraging them to relish a new challenge
- Provide high expectations encouraging them to develop perseverance and self-belief so that they can problem solve and achieve far more than they expected
- Provide a learning environment that helps children achieve their potential and support those who need additional help in order to maximise their chances of achieving the Early Learning Goals
- Provide children opportunities to develop their sense of wellbeing and ability to regulate their feelings so that they feel confident in our community and are equipped with all the tools they need to transition to Year 1 effectively
- Develop the skills and expertise of staff working in EYFS through regular and comprehensive professional development
Our curriculum follows the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage updated 2021 curriculum. This document specifies the requirements for learning and development in the EYFS and provides the prime and specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. Each topic planned is included in the curriculum for very specific reasons and we want to ensure that all children leaving the Reception Year are ready to start the Key Stage 1 curriculum. Topics are introduced with a good quality storybook or age appropriate non – fiction text. Using books in this way teaches children that books and reading form the basis of all learning. While our curriculum is topic based, we also follow our children’s interests, incorporating these into our curriculum and continuous provision in an exciting and engaging way that will move the children’s learning forward. This may involve following a class theme where we take advantage of cross curricular links in order to combine transferable skills and develop a wide-ranging vocabulary which underpins the children’s learning. This may also include following individual children’s interests and making the most of those focused moments where the teaching and learning can be maximised in a one to one way with teacher and child. Each year creates its own unique blend of whole class, guided, adult directed play and child-initiated play activities dependant on the nature and needs of the class of individuals.
Children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active and thinking critically and creatively and this takes place both indoors and in our outdoor area. Our outdoor area is open all year round and in all but the most challenging weather conditions. Children make their own decisions about where they learn best and teachers ensure that there are opportunities for all areas of learning both inside and outside.
The school follows the Pearsons’ Bug Club Phonics programme. Every child has access to a phonics session every day with intervention opportunities for those who find this area of learning more difficult. Each pupil also has their own ‘Bug Club’ login so that they can read books that are at their phonics level online at home.
Here can be found the Intent, Implementation and Impact for each of the seven Areas of Learning within the Foundation Stage Statutory Framework.
Prime Area: Communication and Language
Children will leave the Foundation Stage at Bitterne Manor as confident communicators who use a variety of rich vocabulary within a range of situations and conversations. They are clear when communicating their needs, wants, interests, thoughts and viewpoints. Our children are able to listen to others’ ideas respectfully and respond sensitively to those they disagree with. Speaking is used to ask relevant questions and to connect ideas. They understand the importance of listening and have developed their ability to follow more complexed instructions.
Our topics, routines and environment promote high quality communication and language development. Exciting and vocabulary rich texts are used to introduce children to new ideas, concepts and vocabulary, while also promoting curiosity and discussions. Pupils are encouraged to ask questions and contribute to group and whole- class discussion whenever possible. Children who struggle to communicate are targeted in the provision, and learning interventions are used when children lack confidence or do not have the expected level of development. Through our continuous provision and our learning environment, pupils are exposed to situations where they can experiment with the new language they have acquired (such as through role play or while investigating in our Curiosity Corner) and use their listening skills as they interact with peers and adults. By being exposed to new experiences (for example during cooking, trips or a Connecting to Nature session), our children apply their speaking, listening, questioning and reasoning skills. Routines such as Snack Time are valuable opportunities where speaking and listening skills can be modelled and promoted. The adults within the Foundation Stage model effective speaking and listening attributes (such as the use of language, looking at the person you are having a conversation with, speaking clearly and calmly and listening patiently) and use questioning and resources to further pupils’ own development. Repeating sentences back to children, extending what they have said or describing and commenting on what is happening are also used to develop speaking and listening skills. We reflect on our observations and interactions with our children, using our knowledge and assessments to then provide developmentally appropriate experiences that are linked to our children’s next steps and interests.
Below shows the progression of skills that build to the Communication and Language Early Learning Goals.
Through our high quality teaching and provision, we aspire for all children to reach the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Foundation Stage. All staff within the Foundation Stage know the children’s next steps and how to progress their knowledge and skills through interactions, play, resources and group and whole class work. Our children move into Year 1 with the confidence and skills to express themselves in a range of different situations, using a wide variety of rich language. They also have developed their listening skills and are great conversationalists!
Prime Area: Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Our children will leave the Foundation Stage at Bitterne Manor Primary School confident, independent and respectful. They show empathy to others and express their feelings appropriately, having developed positive attitudes about themselves and those around them. Each child will be a valued member of the class and their own identity will be shaped through an increasing awareness of their own and others' needs. Pupils will have an understanding of the characteristics of a healthy relationship. They will have developed positive dispositions to learning, be cooperative and communicative. Pupils will show determination to complete a goal, and demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges. Our children demonstrate an understanding of what is right and wrong, and why this is important. They understand there are consequences for behaviour, whether through rewards or sanctions. These characteristics underpin all that we do within the Foundation Stage. Through this area of learning pupils will have also developed an understanding of how their bodies work and what they need to be healthy and safe.
This area underpins all aspects of a child’s daily life at school. We have a rich variety of policies and activities which aim to support children’s progress towards the Early Learning Goal. These include regular assemblies based on PSED themes, Circle Times, themed days and weeks (for example Anti-Bullying week) and our school wide use of the behaviour policy. In Preschool we introduce the idea of feelings by exploring the books ‘Owl Babies’ and ‘The Colour Monster’. In Reception we revisit and deepen our understanding of these feelings by re-reading these texts. Throughout the day adults in the Foundation Stage model respectful relationships, demonstrating how to react to others and their emotions and how to interact with others in a variety of situations. We regularly think about how to look after our bodies and how to keep safe. For example in Reception, during our ‘This is Me’ topic, we teach about oral hygiene and diet using ‘Oliver’s Vegetables’ as a platform and in Preschool we use ‘I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato’ and Peppa Pig’s ‘Dentist Trip.’ In Reception we discuss how to keep safe in the dark during our ‘Jack Frost’ topic. The topic ‘Octonauts’ gives opportunities to learn about sun and water safety.
Below shows the progression of skills that build towards the Personal, Social and Emotional Development Early Learning Goals.
By the end of the Foundation Stage our children have developed and demonstrate an understanding about how relationships work, and how we show respect for others, creatures and material objects. They respond appropriately to one other and any challenges they may face. They follow the school behaviour policy, understanding why there is a need for rules. Pupils can explain the importance of physical activity and the effect this has on their bodies.
Prime Area: Physical Development
Our children will leave the Foundation Stage at Bitterne Manor Primary School having experienced a diverse range of physical activities and challenges. This area of learning offers opportunities for pupils to develop and practise the control they have over their own bodies. It allows for them to develop the confidence and skill in large gross motor movement such as running, jumping, climbing etc. Children also develop their spatial awareness and coordination, whilst at the same time encouraging the fine motor skills they need to develop holistically.
Pupils will have had ample opportunities to develop and practise the control they have over their own bodies, giving them confidence and skill in large gross motor movements such as running, jumping and climbing, as well as in using their fine motor skills. The Physical Development curriculum is designed so that children learn how to take measured risks and enjoy being active, both inside and outside. They not only use the designated Year R outside space, but also regularly use the school woodchip equipment (Reception), tyre park and gym equipment. Our daily Wake and Shake sessions are very popular as well as the two P.E. sessions they participate in each week. Pupils are comfortable and confident when using mark marking and writing instruments, demonstrating the correct pencil grip, and show that they can use cutlery effectively during meals and relevant activities. Our children use their fine motor skills through many of our day to day activities, such as when opening paint bottles and building with the small construction, demonstrating how the development of fine motor skills are implemented through the curriculum and continuous provisions.
Below shows the progression of skills that build towards the Physical Development Early Learning Goals.
All children achieve the Physical Development Early Learning Goal by the end of Reception. They are spatially aware, co-ordinated and confident in their movements. Children demonstrate correct pencil grip for sustained periods and can work with small items. Staff quickly see any children who need further support, and act accordingly, knowing how to progress a child’s skill in the area.
Specific Area: Literacy
Our children will leave the Foundation Stage at Bitterne Manor Primary School with a love for reading. Pupils enjoyed spending time reading and discussing content and their own ideas around a text. They will be confident in reading decodable words and a large number of high frequency words. They will write simple sentences that can be read by others and demonstrate their secure phonics knowledge. Pupils show independence by seeking resources, (for example word/sound mats) to help them develop writing independently. They identify purposes for writing, such as cards, stories or shopping lists. Our pupils know that their writing is highly valued and can always be improved by reflecting on the process.
The importance of reading and writing is activity promoted through a literature rich environment including; stories, songs, poems, mark making and writing in a variety of different contexts and for different purposes using a wide range of media. Children are exposed to reading and writing through all our areas of provision promote, discreetly or directly, active mark making and writing. This is endorsed in both outdoor and indoor provision. Adults are skilled at encouraging literacy opportunities through children’s play and add challenge where this has a focus for the child’s next step. Where support is required there are appropriate strategies to instil a love of books. In Reception pupils are taught Phonics on a daily basis through the Pearson Phonics Bug program of study. Every child will have two texts linked to their phonic phase alongside story books to take home each week. They will also have the sounds we are focusing on each week and key words to practise at home. Our Children share their reading books with adults at least once a week. Through our topics pupils are exposed to new and exciting texts that were brimming with rich language.
In Preschool the children are taught active listening skills through the phase 1 section of Letters and Sounds. We promote our reading corner throughout the day. Our book corner has a selection of books e.g. topic books, books of interest, library books. We promote early writing in all areas within our classroom including outside using a wide range of different mark making resources.
Below shows the progression of skills that build towards the Literacy Early Learning Goals.
Our children make excellent progress from their reading and writing starting points. They can read a variety of print including signs, captions, sentences and texts. Pupils have a love of stories, books and reading, and have developed a sense of wonder of the world of books. They are keen to share their reading with adults and understand that this is the key to accessing the wider curriculum. Our pupils understand writing is a form of communication and can write phonetically plausible sentences that they and others can read.
Specific Area: Mathematics
Our children will leave the Foundation Stage at Bitterne Manor Primary School having had many opportunities to develop their understanding of number (including the composition of numbers, number bonds and subitising), numerical patterns (including odds and evens and doubling), measurement, shape and space in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practise and talk about numbers and shapes. We encourage pupils to understand and respond to the symbols that represent numbers and what this means in real contexts. We support children in understanding what an important role shapes and numbers play in our everyday lives and how they develop our own understanding and help us to solve problems. We approach this area by fostering a love of number and the enjoyment of solving problems.
Below shows the progression of skills that build towards the Maths Learning Goals.
All children are expected to success and make outstanding progress from their starting points. They are competent with the skills of subitizing and have developed number sense skills. Pupils can talk about number and explain what it is and isn’t. They solve problems and make predictions about what might happen while using appropriate vocabulary. Our pupils apply their mathematical skills in a variety of contexts. They have a positive mind set about maths and making ‘mistakes’.
Specific Area: Understanding the World
Our children will leave the Foundation Stage at Bitterne Manor Primary School with an increased knowledge and sense of the physical world around them, their community and the wider world. They will respect the world around them and others, celebrating our similarities and differences, including our religious and cultural differences. Our pupils will have a greater sense of themselves and the changing environment.
In Preschool children will develop their own sense of themselves and their family through our ‘All About Me’ topic. In Reception children will learn about how family members lived in the past, as well as our local geographical area through our ‘This Is Me’ topic. Children will have experience of using a range of equipment and sources (including maps) to enable them to find out and gather information which they then used to further their understanding and learning. In Preschool children will begin to understand different celebrations when relevant throughout the year. In Reception the topic ‘Time to Celebrate’ allows our children to further find out and understand about different celebrations within other cultures and religions. They will have had opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, cultures, technology and the environment, and will take part in rich and meaningful first-hand experiences such as cooking, visiting places in the local community (e.g. church and library) and Connecting to Nature Sessions, as well as enjoying visitors and school trips that enhanced their learning. In Reception our R.E. allows children to learn about Christianity and Sikhism in particular. Our children will understand the natural changes that occur throughout the year, supported by ‘Winter’, ‘New Life’ and ‘Holidays’ in Preschool. In Reception this is through the topics ‘Jack Frost’, ‘Down in the Woods’ and ‘Bugs’ topics.
Below shows the progression of skills that build towards the Understanding the World Early Learning Goals.
Our children will leave the Foundation Stage with a firmer understanding and respect for people and communities and the world in which they live. Pupils understand the different roles people play within our society and will know that by calling 999 they can reach the emergency services. They will be observant, describing the changes they notice around them. They will be confident to talk about their families and friends. Pupils will care about their immediate environment and know that they can have an impact on the wider world.
Specific Area: Expressive Arts and Design
Our children will leave the Foundation Stage at Bitterne Manor Primary School having had a wide variety of experiences within the Arts, where all their senses have been engaged and stimulated, and many other skills (such as language and team work) developed. At Bitterne Manor Expressive Arts allows the children to revisit interested areas through many different media to gain multiple perspectives and a higher level of understanding. Due to our curriculum promoting and valuing creativity, originality, expressiveness and individuality, pupils are confident in sharing their own preferences and making choices about different ways they can express themselves.
Our topics, lessons, Connecting to Nature sessions and learning environment give our children new, and varied experiences within the arts. They will have ample opportunities to observe and experiment with different materials, tools, techniques, music and movements. For our pupils, emphasis is put on the process they go through rather than on the finished product. In creating, designing and making children investigate and use a variety of materials and techniques and explored colour, line, shape, space, form, texture and pattern in two and three dimensions. They develope their visual, spatial and tactile awareness and used marks, picture drawings, paintings and constructions to create products. Through music pupils express feelings and emotions. They will participated in playing instruments, using everyday objects to make music, singing, moving rhythmically and expressively to music, listen to music and create their own, often applying their ICT skills to enhance or record their work. Children are supported to develop their confidence and pride in their creative achievements. Direct adult led activities such as dance, role-play, stories, art, ICT and music lessons, ignite children’s creativity which they further explore through provision and child-led activities. We use practical activity, enquiry and purposeful play, with consolidation through practice, talk and reflection.
Below shows the progression of skills that build towards the Expressive Art and Design Early Learning Goals.
We believe all children will reach the Early Learning Goals in EAD by the end of the Foundation Stage. Our teaching and provision allow pupils to explore and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of art, design and technology, music, movement, dance, imaginative and role-play activities. Our pupils leave the Foundation Stage ready for the new knowledge and skills the National Curriculum has to offer in these areas.
Here can be found the development of skills and resources within our continuous provision throughout the year.
We provide effective and focused intervention for those children who are finding learning challenging and are not on track to meet expectations at the end of the year. This will be provided in an inclusive way and support from parents is also enlisted at an early stage to ensure that the children have every chance to achieve the Early Learning Goals.
The EYFS team collect evidence of children’s learning through work completed and ‘wow’ moment observations, which are then kept in their learning journey files. We use the Marvellous Me App to communicate with parents about their children’s learning and we share the learning we have done each day on our outside board. Parents contribute to the knowledge we have of the child in school through discussions and proud clouds.
We love to provide children with opportunities that they have not experienced before or that enhance their learning in school. Many of our children live in flats and have limited experiences of being outside in nature. Each week we use areas of our natural environment within school for ‘Connecting to Nature’ sessions. The main focus of these sessions is about developing children’s knowledge about the natural environment, how they can help nature, use nature to creatively express themselves and skills they can use when out in nature. Each of the 7 areas of learning within the Foundation Stage are also addressed, whether it’s Fine Motor skills when making a twig and vine frame, Expressive Art and Design when mixing natural objects such as mud and berries to produce paint, or Understanding the World through planting and growing vegetables and seeds. Each half term a ‘Connecting to Nature’ activity is sent home for families to do together, such as making a bird feeder or watching and discussing a sun rise or sun set and how this changes throughout the year. Many of our pupils have had limited opportunities to develop their food prep and cooking skills. We believe these skills are essential and so regularly incorporate cooking into our learning. Children are encouraged to problem solve, apply their knowledge (such as counting and measuring), follow directions and learn about cause and effect. Pupils gain a better understanding about where food comes from and healthy eating. Trips are also used to develop pupil’s knowledge, understanding and life skills. Some of these trips may be to the local church and library as well as to educational based organisations. We hope that by visiting free, local places, such as the library, families may be encouraged to use such facilities more often. In some homes quality interactions can be limited. Therefore, each week we send home a ‘Discussion Prompt’. These are varied and can be about anything, such as ‘If you could be invisible for the day, what would you do?’, ‘Talk about something positive that happened today’ or ‘Would you rather fly like a bird or swim like a dolphin? Why?’.
Throughout the year the Foundation Stage Team (Pre School and Year R) work closely together, discussing the learning taking place, any changes to provision or the curriculum, and moderating with one another. While we work slightly differently to meet the needs of the children, we ensure that our pedagogy and values are consistent, and that routines within Year R build upon those used in Pre School. In the Summer Term, to aid a smooth transition to school, Year R staff spend time weekly within Pre School, reading stories, taking part in or leading activities. As a Foundation Stage Team we also meet to discuss each pupil in detail, ensuring we have a rounded picture of every child and know how we can continue their learning journey. Children will also be invited to 'Stay and Play' sessions, first with their parents or carers, and then without their adult. In September Year R staff also conduct Home Visits to get to know children and families in a familiar setting.
By the end of the year we provide opportunities for our Year 1 teacher to come to observe and interact with the Reception children within their daily routine. The Year 1 teacher experiences their daily structure and lesson structure, as well as gaining a better understanding of the children’s current levels and how needs are met within the Foundation Stage. During the Summer term, as well as popping in to read stories and Transition Day activities, the Year 1 teacher plans a lesson with the Year R teacher, and delivers this to the children, allowing all parties to get to know each other better. All staff members working within the two classes also meet to discuss needs, home life and next steps for each pupil before they move to Year 1.
The team in Year R work tirelessly to ensure that children are surrounded by a kind, caring and happy environment which helps them develop the skills they will need in their journey through school and the wider world. It is a positive place to be where resilience, perseverance and successes are celebrated and every child feels valued and respected.
The impact of the EYFS curriculum is reflected in having well rounded, happy and confident children transitioning into Year 1.
We measure progress and children’s learning across the year through formative and summative assessments which are based on the staff’s knowledge of the child, their learning journeys and recorded photographs and videos. Our planning and provision are based on the needs of and next steps for our children, and can often change or be adapted due to our daily interactions and assessments. Those children who are not on track are vigorously monitored and meetings are held with S.L.T. to discuss the support that has been put in place for these pupils and the next steps that need to be taken to ensure they are making good progress. We aim to exceed the National and Local Authority data for children achieving Good Level of Development. Almost all our children make more than the expected steps progress from their starting points.
The judgements of our school are moderated within the Foundation Stage Unit, Key Stage 1, S.L.T. and other schools. This means judgements are secure and consistent with government guidelines.