Welcome to Early Years at St Mary's
OFSTED said: "The Early Years prepares children well for the next stage of their education, including those who join the school from low starting points."
Our department is made up of a large Nursery and two Reception classes. Mrs Ball is the Early Years Lead and teaches in the Nursery, and our Reception classes are taught by Miss Carter and Mrs Eyre.
Our Early Years department lays the foundations for life-long learning. Provision here is all about meeting our young children’s needs, so that they can grow and learn happily in ways that will help them develop skills and knowledge across the Prime and Specific areas of the EYFS.
Effective learning comes through a variety of different approaches: child led play and exploration, supported learning and interactions with adults and direct teaching. These are carefully balanced to meet the needs of each cohort, both indoors and outdoors.
We build up positive, strong relationships with parents to make learning more successful, and to support transitions into the EYFS and then into Y1.
We spend time getting to know our children and ensure strong relationships are made with staff so that children feel safe and secure. We know that early literacy and communication skills are central to future learning, so our curriculum is based around themes linked to texts we share, from a variety of genres. These themes might be chosen in advance by staff or could be based on children’s interests, next steps or special events. Reading and revisiting texts allow new concepts to be explored, vocabulary to be introduced, and a love of reading developed.
We plan for learning in the following areas:
The Prime Areas-
Personal Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
The Specific Areas-
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
Our school has adopted a mastery approach to the teaching of Maths. This ensures concepts and skills are embedded and children have the opportunity to use and apply their skills in a wide, and practical, range of contexts. To support our teaching, we use “Power Maths”.
Phonics is taught and supported through “Storytime Phonics”. It begins with Phase 1 where our children tune into sounds around them, explore sounds they can make and practice the important skills of oral segmenting and blending. In Phase 2 they build up their knowledge of sounds, learning to read, write and blend. Reading books are introduced for them to apply their phonic knowledge, and they are encouraged to regularly read at home to practise and secure these skills.
Religious Education is taught through weekly lesson and activities following the diocesan scheme “Learning and Growing as the People of God”. We also take as many opportunities as possible to live out our callings through prayerful, charity, environmental and community activities.
Children are encouraged to play and explore, solve problems, be creative and think critically. Learning opportunities take place both indoors and outdoors. Our inclusive approach caters for all children, and we liaise with outside agencies as required.
Our children leave the EYFS as happy and confident learners, with strong foundations in PSED, Maths, Literacy and Phonics. Despite the upheavals of 2020/21 our results last year showed an increase in the number of pupils achieving a good level of development when moving into Key Stage One. Through our R.E. and P.H.S.E. curriculums they also develop as individuals, learning to live out their calling with compassion and love.