Our Vision for Early Years at Montrose School
Children begin their Early Years Foundation Stage journey at Montrose School in the Nursery or the Reception class. If they attend the Nursery they start at age 3, then complete their final year of the Foundation Stage in Reception. Some children just attend the Reception year.
The Nursery offers 26 places both in the AM and PM. The children can either attend for 15 or 30 hours. There are two Reception classes with 30 places available in each, totalling 60 in an open planned base.
All children have an allocated Key Person and enjoy a combination of playing and learning both indoors and outside. In the Foundation Stage the children learn through play and there is a balance between the adult-led and the child-initiated learning.
In Reception they also take part in our ‘forest school’ activities within our lovely grounds.
The children start school each September and we gradually prepare them for learning in their future school career. Our expectation is that your child's records will be passed on from Nursery and/or Pre-school groups, enabling us to ensure continuity throughout the Early Years Foundation stage.
The Prime areas of learning ensure that the children are happy, settled and confident with their friends, adults and our school environment. From this foundation their ability to become more independent, together with being inquisitive learners and good communicators develops, along with learning across the specific areas of learning. These 7 areas of learning are closely linked and help to develop ‘characteristics of effective learning’ within the children – playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically. This does not mean that all your child's learning is divided up into specific areas. One experience may provide a child with opportunities to develop a number of skills and concepts across several areas of learning.
We follow the national Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. The EYFS is a very important stage in a child’s life as it helps prepare for school ‘readiness’ as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes.
Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences before the age of five will have a major impact on their future life chances.
The EYFS framework explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development and provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare.
The 7 areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first.
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
The prime areas are those most essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning. The prime areas will help to develop skills in 4 specific areas.
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
All 7 areas of learning are used to plan children’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting the children will make sure that the activities are suited to their unique needs and are flexible so that staff can follow children's needs and interests. In the Early Years at Montrose School our children are happy and motivated to learn through rich and challenging learning experiences. We ensure there are opportunities to explore and take risks, and have meaningful first-hand experiences in an exciting environment. We have high expectations for all our children and recognise that children have different starting points to their learning. We plan according to children’s stage of development so all can thrive and develop. We aim for children to be well-rounded individuals who are independent, resilient, and confident in themselves and with others. Partnership with Parents/Carers Our parents are welcome to be actively involved in their children’s learning in school and are invited to share in a number of learning experiences throughout the year. We recognise that parents are each child’s first educators and value their contributions to judgements about their child’s development. We use this information to support our assessments and share information about what children need to do next to develop and thrive.
During the year parents/carers will be invited to attend progress meetings and at the end of each year they will receive a school report about their child’s achievements.
Our partnership with parents ensures that parents have the opportunity to work closely with our Early Years practitioners to support children’s transition into the setting. We would like parents to feel secure in the knowledge that their child is well cared for and happy at school.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning
- Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things and ‘have a go’
- Being active – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties
- Creative and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas
Children work and play independently, with a strong emphasis on choice and being able to sustain concentration on their work/play, as well as taking part in a variety of adult-led activities.
The focus on the Characteristics of Effective Learning is on how children learn rather than on what they learn i.e. process over outcome. Underpinning the Characteristics of Effective Learning is the understanding that during their earliest years, children form attitudes about learning that will last a lifetime.
Children who receive the right sort of support and encouragement during these years will be creative and adventurous learners throughout their lives.
Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception
Throughout the Foundation Stage the children will have learnt across all areas of learning, towards achieving the Early Learning Goals. All children are assessed against these goals at the end of the Reception year.
Each child’s level of development is assessed against the early learning goals (above). Practitioners will indicate whether children are meeting expected levels of development:
- Emerging - not yet reaching expected levels of development for age
- Expected - have reached the expected level of development for age
There are a total of 17 Early Learning Goals in EYFS
The 3 prime areas:
Communication and language
Listening, attention and understanding
- Listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant questions, comments and actions when being read to and during whole class discussions and small group interactions.
- Make comments about what they have heard and ask questions to clarify their understanding.
- Hold conversations when engaged in back-and-forth exchanges with their teacher and peers.
- Participate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary.
- Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher.
- Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems when appropriate.
Gross motor skills
- Negotiate space and obstacles safely, with consideration for themselves and others.
- Demonstrate strength, balance and coordination when playing.
- Move energetically, such as running, jumping, dancing, hopping, skipping and climbing.
Fine motor skills
- Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases.
- Use a range of small tools, including scissors, paint brushes and cutlery.
- Begin to show accuracy and care when drawing.
Personal, social and emotional development
- Show an understanding of their own feelings and those of others, and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly.
- Set and work towards simple goals, being able to wait for what they want and control their immediate impulses when appropriate.
- Give focused attention to what the teacher says, responding appropriately even when engaged in activity, and show an ability to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.
- Be confident to try new activities and show independence, resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge.
- Explain the reasons for rules, know right from wrong and try to behave accordingly.
- Manage their own basic hygiene and personal need, including dressing, going to the toilet and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.
- Work and play cooperatively and take turns with others.
- Form positives attachments to adults and friendships with peers.
- Show sensitivity to their own and others needs.
The 4 specific areas:
- Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary.
- Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories.
- Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role-play.
- Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs.
- Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound blending.
- Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.
- Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.
- Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters.
- Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.
- Have a deep understanding of number to 10, including the composition of each number.
- Subitise (recognise quantities without counting) up to 5.
- Automatically recall (without reference to rhymes, counting or other aids) number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts.
- Verbally count beyond 20, recognising the pattern of the counting system.
- Compare quantities up to 10 in different contexts, recognising when one quantity is greater than, less than or the same as the other quantity.
- Explore and represent patterns within numbers up to 10, including evens and odds, double facts and how quantities can be distributed equally.
Understanding the world
Past and present
- Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society.
- Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
- Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.
People, culture and communities
- Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps.
- Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
- Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and – when appropriate – maps.
- Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants.
- Know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
- Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter.
Expressive arts and design
Creating with materials
- Safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
- Share their creations, explaining the process they have used.
- Make use of props and materials when role playing characters in narratives and stories.
Being imaginative and expressive
- Invent, adapt and recount narratives and stories with peers and their teacher.
- Sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs.
- Perform songs, rhymes, poems and stories with others, and – when appropriate try to move in time with music.
If you have any queries or concerns about the Foundation Stage please do not hesitate to speak with your child’s teacher, who will be happy to help.
Wigston Lane, Leicester, Leicestershire