The Foundation Stage applies to children from three years of age to the end of the Reception year. In our school, all children join us at the beginning of the school year in which they are five. The Foundation Stage is important in its own right, and in preparing children for later schooling. The Early Learning Goals set out what is expected of most children by the end of the Foundation Stage. The Foundation Stage prepares children for learning in Key Stage 1 and is consistent with the National Curriculum.
Children joining our school have already learnt a great deal. Many have been learning in one of the various education settings that exist in our community.
“Early years experience should build on what children know and can already do”. (Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage pg 15)
The early year’s education we offer our children is based on the following principles:
· It builds on what our children already know and can do
· It ensures that no child is excluded or disadvantaged
· It offers a structure for learning that has a range of starting points, content that matches the needs of young children and activities that provide opportunities for learning both indoors and outdoors
· It provides a rich and stimulating environment
Aims of the Foundation Stage
· To provide an induction programme that enables children to come to school happily
· To build a relationship with both children and parents through pre-school visits, information meetings and booklets, enabling children to settle well into St.Peter & St.Paul’s Catholic Primary School
· Personal, social and emotional well-being
· Positive attitudes and dispositions towards learning
· Attention skills and persistence
· Language and communication
· Reading and writing
· Knowledge and understanding of the world
· Physical development
· Creative development
Teaching and learning styles
Teaching and learning in the early years curriculum is carefully planned and structured to meet individual needs.
We organise the curriculum into topic areas and make links to all six areas of learning
The more general features of good practice in our school that relate to the Foundation Stage are:
· The partnership between teachers and parents, so that our children feel secure at school and develop a sense of well-being and achievement
· The understanding that teachers have of how children develop and learn, and how this must be reflected in their teaching
· The range of approaches that provide first-hand experiences, give clear explanations, make appropriate interventions, and extend and develop the children’s play, talk or other means of communication
· The carefully planned curriculum that helps children achieve the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Foundation Stage
· The provision for children to take part in activities that build on and extend their interests and develop their intellectual, physical, social and emotional abilities.
· The encouragement for children to communicate and talk about their learning, and to develop independence and self-management
· The support for learning, with appropriate and accessible space, facilities and equipment, both indoors and outdoors
· The identification, through observations, of children’s progress and future learning needs, which are regularly shared with parents
· The good relationships between our school and the other educational settings in which the children have been learning before joining our school
· The clear aims of our work, and the regular monitoring of our work to evaluate and improve it
· The regular identification of training needs for all adults working in the Foundation Stage
Play in the Foundation Stage
“Well planned play, both indoors and outdoors, is a key way in which young children learn with enjoyment and challenge.”
(Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage, pg 25)
· Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. They practise and build up ideas, and learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems.
Inclusion in the Foundation Stage
“No child should be excluded or disadvantaged because of ethnicity, culture or religion, home language, family background, special educational needs, disability, gender or ability.
“Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage pg 14)
In our school we believe that all our children matter. We give our children every opportunity to achieve their best. We do this by taking account of our children’s range of life experiences when planning for their learning.
In the Foundation Stage we set realistic and challenging expectations that meet the needs of our children, so that most achieve the Early Learning Goals by the end of the stage. Some children progress beyond this point. We achieve this by planning to meet the needs of boys and girls, children with special education needs, children who are more able, children with disabilities, and children from all social and cultural backgrounds.
We meet the needs of all our children through:
· Planning opportunities that build on and extend the children’s knowledge, experience and interests, and develop their self esteem and confidence
· Using a variety of teaching strategies that are based on children’s learning needs
· Providing a wide range of opportunities to motivate and support children, and to help them to learn effectively
· Offering a safe and supportive learning environment, in which the contribution of all children is valued
· Planning challenging activities for children whose ability and understanding are in advance of their language and communication skills
· Employing resources that reflect diversity, and that avoid discrimination and stereotyping
· Monitoring children’s progress, and providing support as necessary. This involves speech therapy for some of our children.
The Foundation Stage Curriculum
Our curriculum for the Foundation Stage reflects the areas of learning identified in the Early Learning Goals. Our children’s learning experiences enable them to develop competency and skill across a number of learning areas.
The Foundation Stage has six areas of learning, these are:-
· Personal, social and emotional development
· Communication, language and literacy
· Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy
· Knowledge and understanding of the world
· Creative development
· Physical development
Each area has Stepping Stones and Early Learning Goals. These set out the skills, knowledge and understanding and attitudes which it is hoped children will reach or exceed by the end of the Foundation Stage.
The Early Leaning Goals provide the basis for planning throughout the Foundation Stage. Our medium term planning is completed half-termly. Short term planning is on a weekly/daily basis. Planning is displayed in the classroom to enable access by teaching and support assistants.
“Well planned, purposeful activity and appropriate intervention by practitioners will engage children in the learning process”.
(Curriculum guidance for the Foundation Stage pg 15)
“Practitioners must be able to observe and respond appropriately to children.” (Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage pg 16)
During the induction period in the Autumn term, each child is assessed on points one to three of the Foundation Stage e-profile. These results are then used to inform planning and grouping of children, which takes place later in the term.
Throughout the Foundation Stage, as part of the learning and teaching process, we assess each child’s development in relation to the Stepping Stones and Early Learning Goals that form part of the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage. These assessments are made on the basis of our accumulating observations and knowledge of the whole child. In Reception the e-profile is completed on a regular basis to track individual achievements and set future targets in the Autumn, Spring and Summer terms.
Assessments against the scales are finalised during the summer term, summarising each child’s development. These results are then forwarded to the Local Education Authority.
The e-profile and scores are shared with parents throughout the year during parents' evenings and are available for the parents to view at any time throughout the year if they wish to do so.
The Foundation stage profile forms the basis for reports to parents, and is given out at the end of the Reception year.
The final scores of each child’s profile are also forwarded to the Year One teacher at the end of July, therefore allowing the teacher to plan accordingly for each individual child, ready for starting Year One in the September.
Induction / Parental involvement
“Parents and practitioners should work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect within which children can have security and confidence.”
(Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage pg 12)
We want to ensure a smooth transition from home to school and allow parents to ask any questions they may have about starting school.
We believe that all parents have an important role to play in the education of their child. We recognise the role that parents have played, and their future role, in educating their children. We do this through:
· Talking to parents about their child before their child starts school;
· Visits by the class teacher to the child’s nursery setting to meet the children prior to starting school
· Opportunities given to the children to spend time with their teacher before starting school
· Inviting all parents to an induction meeting during the term before their child starts school
· Explaining to parents our induction period, which is eight days over a two week period. The children are split into two groups. One group attends mornings for the first four days and the second group attends afternoons for the first four days. Then the groups swap for the remaining four days. In the last day of the second week all children attend school for a full day. Therefore, all children attend school, full time on the third week of the Autumn term.
· Offering parents regular opportunities to talk about their child’s progress in our Reception class
· Encouraging parents to talk to the child’s teacher if there are any concerns, as we have an open-door policy
· Offering a range of activities, throughout the year, that encourages collaboration between child, school and parents.
There is a formal meeting for parents in the Autumn and Spring terms at which the parents can look at their child’s work and discuss their child’s progress in private with the teacher. Parents receive a report on their child’s attainment and progress at the end of each school year and have an opportunity to discuss their child’s progress in the Summer term with the class teacher
“For children to have a rich and stimulating experiences, the learning environment should be well planned and well organised.”
(Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage pg 14)
We plan a learning environment, both indoors and outdoors, that encourages a positive attitude to learning. We use materials and equipment that reflect both the community that the children come from and the wider world. We encourage the children to make their own selection of the activities on offer, as we believe that this encourages independent learning.
Monitoring and review
To be reviewed by Miss Tunstall, Mr Reid and Governors September 2012
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