Early Years Curriculum Intent
The Early Years Foundation Stage covers the following seven areas of learning. The prime areas: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language. The specific areas: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Areas of learning and development
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
At St Bernadette’s, we recognise that parents and carers are their child’s first teachers and believe that they have an important role in working in partnership with staff. We want all of our children to develop an early love of learning across all seven areas of the Early Year’s Foundation Stage Framework. Both our Nursery (FS1) and Reception (FS2) environments are carefully planned, resourced and adapted to suit the needs and interests of the children we teach. Our setting is designed to promote independent learning, where children feel, safe, motivated and confident. The activities build on and extend upon their interests and develop their intellectual, physical, social and emotional abilities.
We hold outdoor learning in high regard and plan and resource all seven areas of learning in this area. Children are encouraged to explore their learning in any weather and we strongly believe that all weather learning is vital to children’s sustained progress.
Children are encouraged to self-select resources to further develop their knowledge; this is supported by staff. An emphasis is placed upon good modelling of language within our Early Years team, as we know that developing a clear spoken language and understanding is integral to the development of vocabulary and subsequently secure early reading skills.
We promote a learning culture where all children feel safe, secure and valued and actively encourage children to develop resilience. As a Christian community, the Gospel teachings form the basis upon which all of what we teach is built. We believe that each child is unique and created in the image of God.
We offer a curriculum which balances structure and exploration through play. We highly value the impact of a play-based curriculum and savour the ‘wow’ moments that occur with children’s natural levels of intrigue and curiosity. Where possible we promote the use of real life resources to allow children the opportunity to engage with things that they will encounter in the world around them. For example, each year, when learning about growth and development, we have chick-hatching in class, we have ensured that we use an ethical company that complements our school ethos.
We supplement our school-based curriculum with many trips and visits throughout the school year. We love the opportunity to explore our locality and immerse ourselves in the community alongside visits further afield e.g. the dinosaur and farm park. Alongside this, we love to get the outside world into school and where possible supplement the curriculum with visits for example from Woburn safari park, the police and the priest.
Just as the rest of the school, we promote a curriculum that promotes personal development, a sense of responsibility for our world and meaningful links across the curriculum through the St Bernadette’s Our World Curriculum. For example, in Autumn 2 we focus on Percy the Park Keeper and how to look after the environment. We visit the local park, carry out a litter pick on the way and make observations of the changing of the seasons. We also visit the local shop to buy ingredients to make bird cakes and hang them on trees within the school grounds.
We love to share our curriculum with parents and carers and regularly update the children’s online learning journeys - EyLog. We encourage contributions from parents to get an insight into the children’s opportunities and experiences outside of the school environment. We actively encourage regular communication with parents to support the children’s continued progress across the seven areas.
We use stay and play pre-visits as a valuable opportunity to support parents in their transition and also as a great opportunity to get to know families and their needs, aspirations and interests. From this, we can build a curriculum that reflects each individual child’s interests and ensure the best outcomes. We love to celebrate and reward children for their achievements – be that success in activities in school or outside of school such as gymnastics or swimming. A weekly assembly is held to celebrate children who have gone above and beyond our high expectations and have truly shone. Bernadette Beads are also awarded for children who promote our ethos and live out our Values Curriculum in their behaviour towards others.
In Early Years, we recognise that the learning we offer in the early stages of these young children's lives will stay with them forever and aim to give them the best possible experiences to enable them to be confidently ready for the next stage of their learning.