Early Years at Tyldesley Primary School
INTENT, IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT
Why do we teach what we teach?
At Tyldesley Primary School, we place great value on the children as individuals and providing them with the skills, knowledge and understanding that they need to prepare them for the KS1 curriculum and beyond. Our aim in the EYFS is to build strong foundations for future success as well as spiritual and moral development, so that our pupils can be successful in their future and go on to be curious life-long learners and happy citizens of society.
Our curriculum is therefore the cultural capital we know our pupils need so that they can gain the knowledge, skills and understanding they require for success. They can only do this if we embed the right habits for learning through the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning: Play and Exploration, Active Learning, and Creative and Critical Thinking.
When our pupils start at Tyldesley Primary School, they have come from varying backgrounds and have had varying experiences before joining our school. We teach them how to listen to others, speak to others, and meet the expectations for behaviour by working together and being kind. As such, we prioritise communication and language, and personal, social and emotional development within our nursery. Our enabling environment and our warm, skilful practitioners support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration.
As pupils move into Reception, we invest time and energy into the children setting high expectations of themselves and developing a love of all areas within the EYFS curriculum, as we want to open as many avenues for the children as possible in their future. We offer a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities for cross-curricular links and learning experiences. We promote the unique child, by planning in periods were the children can be involved in extended play and develop their sustained shared thinking skills. We value creativity and imagination and seek to create a sense of enjoyment and fascination by a vibrant continuous indoor and outdoor provision, alongside trips, visits and visitors, we also have regular planned agility sessions focused on key physical skills. All children within the EYFS at Tyldesley Primary School are given the opportunity to learn to ride a balance bike through our balanceability programme.
How do we teach what we teach?
The children learn through a mix of child initiated and adult directed tasks. The timetable is carefully structured so children have access to all areas of the EYFS curriculum every day; sometimes, this is within their chosen learning and sometimes this is within directed tasks. The children also have daily phonics, rhyme, book talk and maths lessons/tasks. The children have daily focused group work where a teacher can systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Children follow the rigorous and highly successful Little Wandle Letters and Sounds with fidelity so that they meet good outcomes for reading with almost all children achieving their Early Learning Goal in Reception and then passing the Year 1 phonics screening. Our literacy curriculum is planned through key texts, selected as part of the 100+ Books of TPS. We explore stories in depth to ensure that the children have a key understanding of these key texts and in turn are able to recite and recall these stories confidently. The children then use these key texts as a means of creating their own stories both during literacy and during their self-initiated play. ‘Love of Reading’ happens daily and includes identified texts and poems, and is followed up with ‘Book Talk’ where the children have opportunity to explore the stories/poems they have listened to. Daily rhyme time also occurs within the nursery provision. A real love of reading is fostered within the EYFS to ensure we are encouraging a life-long passion for reading at an early age.
We follow the Maths Mastery approach in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of mathematical language. Children learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration. Nursery pupils begin to develop these key skills. These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts.
Our inclusive approach means that all children learn together but we have a range of additional intervention and support to enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or moving on children who are doing very well. This includes, for example, Wellcomm; Keep up interventions in phonics; and directed groups for fine motor and maths development. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part of all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations of children.
Our regular monitoring of teaching and learning includes coaching and feedback from the Early Years leader using the Walkthru Instructional Coaching approach.
How do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
Our curriculum needs to meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, so we spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning. This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences and analysing data and progress by year group, class, groups and individuals. During each summative assessment window, three times a year, teachers and senior leaders meet to discuss the progress each child has made; this allows us to assess the impact of teaching. Evidence of children’s learning including work samples are kept in paper ‘learning journals’.
Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress. The majority of children in our early years meet the national expectation for GLD at the end of the year. Pupils also make good progress toward their age-related expectations before transitioning into Year 1. We believe our high standards are due to the enriched play-based exploration alongside the rigour of assessment and teaching the children have as they move through the early years – a rich diet of balanced learning experiences is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children.