At Nechells E-Act Academy, we believe that the Early Years Foundation Stage is crucial in securing solid foundations that children are going to continue to build upon. We strive to ensure that the children who enter our setting develop physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally whilst embedding a positive attitude towards learning as well as the people and the world around them.
We believe that all children deserve to be valued as individuals and we are passionate in our drive to support all children to achieve their full, unique potential.
We begin each new year by looking at the individual needs of our children, taking into account their different starting points. Our baseline outcomes along with information gathered from previous educational settings and family members demonstrates that the majority of our pupils join us below or well below national expectations.
Our aim is to ensure that all pupils finish their reception year in line with their peers nationally and ready for the next stage of their education. As part of this we have a relentless focus on developing children’s communication, language and vocabulary providing frequent opportunities for children to practise their speaking and listening skills by providing purposeful contexts in which they could interact with others. Singing and sharing stories are a daily occurrence in reception. During snack time and circle time we encourage our children to practise their speaking and listening skills. Role play also provides an invaluable means for children to consolidate their understanding of knowledge and skills through meaningful experiences, or to develop their speaking and listening skills in a safe and familiar environment.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Through well-chosen and vocabulary rich texts, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry, children have the opportunities to widen their understanding of the world they live in and the morals they need in order to thrive. All children will be encouraged to read widely to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the EYFS curriculum.
Phonics underpins the application and early development of sound reading skills. Therefore, it is taught in a structured and specific format using the ‘Letter’s and Sounds’ scheme enabling children to use and apply strategies across the curriculum.
Our approach to teaching is a mixture of practical, play based with structured opportunities enabling us to support and challenge where needed. There is a combination of adult-led and teacher taught sessions as well as a wealth of stimulating continuous provision opportunities.
We believe that curriculum design is crucial to support with this as well as it preventing potential to overload short term memory and support transference of knowledge from short to long term developing schemas to build on in later years.
Our curriculum incorporates carefully selected knowledge which is brought to life in a way that is meaningful and exciting for pupils; promoting a life-long love of learning. It also provides the cultural capital that they will need to be successful in learning as well as in their future lives; Opening minds, opening doors.
The curriculum has been organised in a way which enables pupils to revisit knowledge and build depth of knowledge and understanding as well as in a way to help pupils learn more and remember more. Through the way our curriculum is organised, we are able to respond to pupils interests and curiosities allowing us to help pupils make meaning of the world, develop their vocabulary and broaden their horizons.
Transference of knowledge from short term to long term memory is aided through the use of practical first hand experiences, nursery rhymes and familiar stories help expectation and reinforce memory through playful and meaningful repetition. In line with the rest of the school we also give the children plenty of opportunities for regular retrieval and deliberate practice.
Through our approach to the curriculum and its delivery, we believe fundamentally in the importance of inclusion. Our approach to supporting pupils who may need help to access the curriculum is through pre-teaching to make sure that they have the knowledge and skills to succeed in accessing learning rather than having to continuously be catching up.
We place a strong emphasis on providing our pupils with rich experiences – trips to the birthplace of Shakespeare, to the Isle of Wight to learn how to sail and to see first -hand the seaside, Birmingham Think Tank, Wythall Transport Museum and our capital city to expand horizons and expand life experience. These experiences are carefully chosen and timed to support pupils’ learning in the formal curriculum. At Nechells we want our children to develop a sense of awe and wonder in and outside of the classroom.
Assessment opportunities are carefully planned so that they are purposeful, support learning. Information from assessment also enables us to evaluate the effectiveness of our curriculum and its implementation. These include both low-stakes, informal assessments alongside more formal assessments, including child and adult led observations. Children’s individual Learning Journals contain pieces of ‘work’, written observations and photos of child led activities linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage development matters, and the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile for children in the Reception class. A programme of continuous quality assurance is also in place to ensure that the curriculum intent and implementation is effective.
EYFS Curriculum Documents: