At St Paul’s, our vision is to ensure that we provide an environment, which inspires learning and nurtures wholeness; this is reflected in every aspect of our Early Years practice. We ensure that our school values of Respect, Compassion, Hope, Wisdom, Perseverance and Trust are woven through all we do to provide the children with a foundation that develops them academically, emotional, physically and spiritually. This is reflected in the way we teach and relate to one another – adults and children.
Our curriculum is designed to provide rich, varied, and imaginative experiences that intend to enthuse, engage and motivate children to learn and achieve highly. At St. Paul's, the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage is implemented alongside the use of Development Matters (a non-statutory curriculum guidance for EYFS).
The Early Years curriculum is centred on three prime areas of learning:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Schools must also support children's learning across the specific areas:
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Children benefit from meaningful learning experiences across all seven areas of the Early Years curriculum, enabling them to make links in their learning and to the wider world.
"The EYFS is about how children learn, as well as what they learn. Children need opportunities to develop their own play and independent exploration. This is enjoyable and motivating. They also need adults to ‘scaffold’ their learning by giving them just enough help to achieve something they could not do independently. Children learn and develop more from birth to five years old than at any other time in their lives. If children are at risk of falling behind the majority, the best time to help them to catch up and keep up is in the early years. Every child can make progress, if they are given the right support. When we give every child the best start in their early years, we give them what they need today. We also set them up with every chance of success tomorrow."
Development Matters - Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage (Revised July 2021)
There is a key focus on the prime areas of learning, including communication and language. Core texts are used as a key stimulus for learning which develops vocabulary and language skills for all children. Talk For Writing and Power of Reading is used regularly to immerse children in language and promote a love of reading and stories.
The teaching of phonics has a high priority in the Early Years. We follow the 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised' as our systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme. This ensures that phonics is taught systematically in order for children to build their knowledge and skills effectively. Children are taught through daily phonics lessons as well as having regular opportunities to explore phonic activities within the learning environment.
Our phonics programme in the Early Years aims to teach through the following stages:
- Phase 2 - Autumn 1 & 2
- Phase 3 - Spring 1 & 2
- Phase 4 - Summer 1 & 2
To view the Little Wandle programme overview please click here.
Reading Practice sessions
Children in Reception apply their phonics knowledge by using fully matched decodable 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised' books.
Children read in small groups of approximately six children. Each group is read with three times a week and reading sessions last 10-15 minutes.
Each reading practice session has a different focus. They have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text
Decodable books are sent home with the children to ensure success is shared with their families. Children who are not yet decoding have additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books with words. Children also take home 'sharing books' to read with their families to promote a love of reading.
Please click here for our Early Years Policy (on the SPPS Policies Page) for more information about our teaching and assessment in the Early Years at St. Paul's.