Welcome to Early Years at Our Lady and St Peter RC Primary School. We are a FS2 class, and cater for children in their final year of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
We believe that children learn best when they feel involved in their learning, and so children are encouraged to take an active part in the planning of topics and activities. This gives them a sense of ownership of their learning and means they are keen to extend activities, stretching and consolidating their understanding through a variety of adult lead tasks, and independent activities.
We believe that children learn best when they feel happy and safe in their environment, and understand that the thought of starting school can be a daunting and scary time for some children, and adults. Before children start school we make links with them, their families and their nursery or pre-school . We invite parents to school to meet the EY’s team, and we invite children to a play session in July. We also contact the nurseries in Bridlington, and try to visit every child in their familiar setting. In September we visit children at home, giving them and their parent or carer a chance to ask questions and meet with the EY’s team on a one to one basis. Children then come to school for half days for just over a week, and then start full time. This all helps to nurture a good relationship with children and their families, and makes starting school as calm as possible for all children.
When children start school we look at their strengths and needs, and complete a baseline assessment for them. This helps us to know what children already know, and what we need to teach them. The baseline is completed through observations of children in their independent play, and by teacher lead activities. The ages and stages from the Development Matters scheme are used to assess children throughout the year, and in the summer children are assessed against the statutory Early Learning Goals.
Each child has their own learning journey folder, containing their Baseline Assessment, and all records of activities they have completed. These may be written observations, photographs, or work completed by the children. Folders are accessible to children and their families, and will be sent home at the end of the Summer Term. We believe that learning does not just happen in school hours, and so encourage families to contribute to children’s learning journeys. This can be through written observations; work sent from home or simply by speaking to one of the Early Years team.
As soon as children start school we start learning letter sounds, and will invite parents and carers to come to school to observe how we do this, so that they are able to help children with the recognition of sounds, and how to use them to blend (read) and segment (spell) words. As soon as children are confident at blending sounds we will send home a reading book. Children are encouraged to read their reading book at least 3 times a week, as practise is really important at this early stage in children’s reading.
In the first two terms of EY’s we spend some time each day focusing on developing children’s gross and fine motor skills. In Funky Fingers children spend time strengthening their fingers, hands and arms muscles though a variety of fun tasks. This include scissor skills, pencil work and dough play.
At Our Lady and St Peters we know that children have many different learning styles, and that lots of children feel more involved, and learn better when involved in outdoor activities. We actively encourage children to be outdoors, and ask all children to keep a pair of wellies in school so that they are able to access our newly refurbished outdoor environment whatever the weather. Teachers lead tasks are often based outdoors, and all children have an outdoor learning session once a fortnight in the wooded area at the end of the school field. This involves children, playing hide and seek, exploring, investigating and problem solving, in a different environment, and helps to develop independences, good self-esteem and confidence in our children.
At the end of June we will assess the children against the Early Learning Goals, and will say whether they are emerging, expected or exceeding each goal. This information will be given to parents or carers, and will be passed onto the Year 1 teacher, so that any children who are not yet meeting the expected level for their age can have the needs planned for. We also plan activities with the Year 1 teacher. In the past this has included a fashion show, and a pirate fun day. The Year 1 teacher also spends time in the EY’s classroom hearing the children read, and getting to know the children and the children spend an afternoon in their new classroom. This helps to make the transition to Year 1, and Key stage 1 as seamless as possible.