Teaching and Learning in the Foundation Stage
The school follows the curriculum guidance for the Foundation Stage which is arranged in 6 cross-curricular areas, all of which are of equal importance.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Children are given opportunities to gain confidence and self-respect and to establish relationships with other children and adults. Through a variety of practical activities, they begin to work as part of a group and independently in order to improve their concentration.
Children are encouraged to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and to show respect for other cultures and beliefs. Taking turns and sharing are developed, as is appropriate behaviour, including the care and concern for living things, property and the environment. Cultural and religious events are introduced to children throughout the school year.
Communication, Language and Literacy
Children are taught to listen attentively and to talk about their experiences. Skills are developed through storytelling, following instructions, conveying messages, sharing stories, songs and poems and through the use of role play and puppet play in a variety of settings.
Through sharing books, children begin to handle them carefully, understand how they are organised and recognise that print is used to carry meaning. They are encouraged to draw on a range of strategies such as context, repetition, phonics and the recognition of familiar words. Phonics is taught in a variety of ways including using the ‘Jolly Phonics’ scheme of work and the children are asked to complete activities at home with parents in order to support their developing phonic knowledge.
We encourage children to use pictures, symbols, familiar letters and words to communicate meaning. They write independently and by tracing and copying for a variety of purposes, for example invitations, story writing, lists and diaries. Correct formation and appropriate use of capital and lower case letters is encouraged.
During the course of the year, the children will gradually be introduced to the structure of the Literacy Hour.
Children use mathematical language in a variety of play situations, for example shopping, height charts and board games. Work is initially of a practical nature - which is an important first step in learning. Children will learn to compare, sort, match, order, sequence and count to 10 and beyond. They learn to recognise and use numbers to 10 and beyond and carry out practical addition and subtraction. They begin to recognise, describe and make patterns.
Knowledge and Understanding of the World
When children are encouraged to talk about their observations and sometimes to record them, they begin to ask questions to gain information about why things happen and how they work. They explore the features of living things, objects and events in the natural and man-made environment, looking closely at similarities and differences, patterns and changes.
Pupils have the opportunity to explore and select materials and to use skills such as cutting, joining, folding and building to make simple objects and models. They are encouraged to talk about where they live, their families, and past and present events in their own lives. This is supported by stories, artefacts, pictures and photographs.
They have the opportunity to become familiar with technology through the use of computers and audio equipment.
The school is connected to the Internet and is linked into the National Grid for Learning.
Through gymnastics, swimming and outdoor activities, children are encouraged to use a range of small and large equipment, gaining confidence and control and working safely. They will be encouraged to handle simple tools, objects, construction kits and malleable materials safely.
Through art, music, dance stories and imaginative play, children are given the opportunity to use their imagination, to listen and to observe. They use a range of materials, tools and instruments to express their ideas and to communicate their feelings. They perform regularly in the classroom and in an assembly to which parents are invited.
Staffing in the Foundation Stage Classes
Each Foundation Stage class is taught by an Early Years’ specialist teacher with a learning support assistant. All assistants have been on appropriate training courses.
Organisation of the Curriculum
Children’s progress in all six areas of learning are recorded on the Foundation Stage Profile which is an ongoing document for assessment, maintained throughout the Reception class. The profile is used in discussion with parents during consultations over the year. A copy of the profile is given to parents at the end of the summer term as a summary of each child’s achievements and progress. Another copy is passed on to the next class teacher in order to plan for appropriate continuity and progression in Key Stage 1 where the children follow the National Curriculum.
The children’s day is made up of many elements: talking and listening, reading and writing activities, stories and poetry, art and craft, mathematical activities, PE, singing and making music and exploring the world around them. Activities are often organised around a theme which the teacher uses to initiate activities. Out-door learning environment is used to support activities across the wider curriculum.
Parents are encouraged to support their children’s learning through shared home reading and phonic activities, and as adult helpers in the classroom.
Early in the Autumn term we invite parents to a curriculum evening where they are given more detailed information about the Foundation Stage and the content of the curriculum so they are better informed to support their children’s learning at home.
There is also a notice board in the Foundation Stage corridor which outlines the curriculum for the week and how the activities support the six areas of learning. This is an important source of reference for staff and parents, who are invited to look at it each week in order to support their child’s learning, and gain up-to-date information about the curriculum. This weekly curriculum outline is also available on the school’s website under the “curriculum summaries” link.
During the summer term, the children will be given opportunities to meet with their new class teachers and spend time in their new classroom in order to facilitate smooth transition from the Foundation Stage into Key Stage 1. Parents are given an information leaflet, which provides them with important information about Key Stage 1, in order to support the transition for their children.