Nursery / EYFS
For most young children, starting an early years setting is a child’s first experience away from their family. Orchard Park Primary School Reception and Nursery class provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to experience how to play and learn together. We understand that children’s learning is driven by their interests, and therefore take a flexible approach to planning our activities to ensure our curriculum is a balance of teacher-led and independent learning. It is child-centred, and builds on children's individual interests and learning patterns (Schemas). First-hand experiences, motivate and encourage children to build resilience, ambition and a lifelong love of learning. The Early Years team work together to support every child’s development as they progress through Nursery and Reception. Both classes follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS) enabling them to achieve the Early Learning goals by the end of their reception year. The EYFS framework is broken down into age related milestones over 7 areas and it builds in the characteristics of effective learning.
We focus on the primary areas of development initially as a foundation and build in the specific areas as children progress.
We provide rich and inspiring learning environments to enable children to explore and develop their thinking, consolidating their learning through play. We value play as essential to children’s learning: play which is child-led, play that is sensitively supported and extended by adults, play that is guided towards specific educational outcomes. We provide children with opportunities to develop their sense of wellbeing, and their ability to regulate their feelings, so that they feel confident in our community, and are equipped with all the tools they need to meet the Early Learning Goals and transition to Year 1 effectively.
The Early Years staff team have a deep understanding of the curriculum that is delivered across the whole school, this enables us to introduce concepts and foundation skills to build on as they progress through the school. Regular monitoring and evaluation ensures that the curriculum is inclusive and tailored to meet the learning needs of each cohort.
The principles of Early years practise underpin everything we do.
The Unique Child
- 1:1 meeting at school with the child and their carer and staff before each child starts nursery enables thorough information sharing and informal conversation, giving parents opportunities to ask any questions they may have and receive information about the setting.
- “All about me” forms are completed with parents, capturing a holistic view of each child, ensuring individual starting points for assessment.
- Regular assessments of each child’s abilities and interests, enabling planning for their individual next steps.
- The EYFS classes at Orchard Park use tapestry to record ‘wow moments’ and recognise children’s progress.
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. The EYFS team ensures positive relationships are at the heart of all we do.
- Secure relationships with every child and their carers are established from the start.Staff gain a solid understanding of each child, ensuring that they feel safe and supported throughout their transition into the EYFS setting.
- We value our relationships with parents and offer many opportunities for engagement through a range of avenues such as Google Classroom, parent consultations and end of year reports.
- We place equal importance on our Indoor and outdoor activities. Regular Welly Walks provide children with an opportunity to learn outside the classroom. This supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being.
- Our curriculum has a language rich focus. Adults in each classroom model appropriate and relevant language. We encourage children to develop their vocabulary and broaden their thinking through open ended questions and challenges.
- Our warm, inviting and stimulating environment provides children with a balance of child initiated and adult-directed activities. Staff are skillful in their approach to shared thinking, giving children the space and time to explore and apply the learning themselves without adult interruption.
Learning and development
- The EYFS Curriculum is planned following half termly topics, building on children’s prior knowledge and developing a wider understanding.
- A broad range of rich opportunities and key texts, hook children into the topic and motivate them to find out more.
- The timetable in reception is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, maths and phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED. These sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets. This focused group time means the 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.
- In nursery the routine is more fluid, with more exploration and play based opportunities. Small group focussed activities are planned for specific target groups and daily group time brings the whole class together to build on a topic or target area of the curriculum.
Our EYFS children are happy, settled and confident in their environment. They are independent in their exploration and enjoy sharing their discoveries confidently with adults and their peers.
Our curriculum meets the needs of all our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND. We measure progress and children’s learning across the year through formative and summative assessment. Our judgments are based on the teacher’s knowledge of the child, photographs and observations collected in their learning journeys. Interventions are put in place for target children. Structured Language assessment programmes such as NELI and WELLCOM are implemented as well as small nurture groups to develop PSED.
Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress. Children in our early years, on average, arrive at lower starting points than national. Pupils make rapid progress to age-related expectations. Our inclusive Curriculum; underpinned through first hand language rich experiences and play-based exploration, alongside rigorous assessment and teaching, ensures our pupils become inquisitive, confident lifelong learners, with a strong knowledge based skills set.