Please visit our Owl Class Page to see what our current Reception children have been up to!
At Harrold Primary Academy, we believe that every child has the right to learn in a safe, happy and stimulating learning environment. We develop curiosity, encourage responsibility, celebrate perseverance, embrace resilience, and promote independent thinkers. The children of Harrold, irrespective of their starting points, have high expectations of themselves as learners, in order to reach their full potential.
We aim to provide every child in our Early Years Foundation Stage with a curriculum that is rich in learning opportunities so that they enjoy an exciting, challenging, and meaningful start to their learning journey with us. We plan children’s learning experiences in accordance with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum guidance and principles and strive to prove a playful and creative curriculum that takes into account the skills, knowledge and interests that the children themselves bring to the setting.
We believe that children learn best when they are actively involved in their own learning through a balance of child-initiated play, adult modelling, guided learning, and direct teaching. We acknowledge that to be successful throughout their schooling and into adulthood, children need to be well-prepared with appropriate knowledge, skills and learning characteristics that will enable them to confidently access the next stage of their learning journey. Through the learning opportunities and environment we provide, our children become active learners who develop strong enquiry and practical skills as well as becoming personally and socially confident individuals who enjoy learning. We intend that all children attending our school develop into strong communicators who are keen to explore, observe, question discuss and clarify their understanding through collaboration, dialogue, negotiation and cooperation with their peers and the adults.
As a school, we have designed a curriculum in collaboration with Harrold Preschool that runs alongside the seven areas of learning: communication and language; physical development; personal, social and emotional development; literacy; mathematics; understanding of the world and expressive art and design. We have looked at what it is like to be a child in our setting and designed a curriculum specific to the children, their families and the community within which they live. Thus, providing children with the knowledge and Cultural Capital they need to succeed in life.
We ensure that every child thrives, following the principles that each child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We know that children develop and learn at different rates. Our curriculum takes into account each child’s starting point, is challenging and supports narrowing the gap in children’s learning. We use our extensive knowledge and expertise to ensure that the curriculum meets the individual needs, interests, and development of each child; this includes children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Early identification of a special educational need or disability is crucial and we work in close partnership with parents and carers to ensure prompt access to the right support, services, and external professionals.
Our curricular goals are specific to the current cohort of children and are designed to support their individual strengths and needs.
Harrold Primary Academy 2021-2022 Curricular Goals
- Settle into school and become an active community member
- Listen to the ideas of others and respond with my own
- Share my emotions
- See myself as a valuable individual with funds of knowledge to share
- Become a resilient learner
- Prepare a tasty snack to enjoy
- Design and construct a model
- Compose and perform my own song
- Tell my own story
- Travel across an obstacle course in different ways
The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework
Harrold Primary Academy follows the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2021). This sets out the statutory educational programmes that children in their early years must follow. Our curricular goals are linked to these educational programmes and the Characteristics of Effective Learning, whilst providing a much broader and deeper educational programme.
Children’s Interests and Schemas
Children are encouraged and enabled to make choices about their own learning both indoors and outdoors and have the freedom to follow their own interests. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 12) states the right of each child to express and have their views taken seriously, we believe that it is important that, from the earliest age children are involved in making choices about their own learning. Practitioners notice and respond to how children play and learn and reflect on their significant interests and schemas, providing opportunities and time within continuous provision for children to deeply engage in their play, sustain high levels of concentration and extend their deep knowledge and skills. These opportunities for deep level learning are both planned and happen spontaneously and are offered in both indoor and outdoor environments. All children are enabled to revisit, embed and build upon their previous learning, engaging in a spiral curriculum for lifelong learning.
The children play and learn in a carefully planned environment that is rich in books and print. We encourage independence and skill development through the children having access to a wide range of resources and tools that they can access and self-select from independently at all times. The children spend the large majority of their time in self-initiated play and exploration which is supported by adults and very carefully structured learning resources. We ensure this is high-quality by using the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scales. We develop a culturally affirming environment that reflects the diversity of our children, bringing opportunities for them to foster an understanding of our culturally diverse world. Children are empowered to have ownership of their environment and independently share their learning in our gallery and on our working walls.
Our routines are carefully structured to reinforce previous learning and skills and to enable children to revisit learning, they are planned carefully to encourage independent learning and to foster cooperation and teamwork so that children feel part of a school community and can support and encourage each other. Sustained periods of time for continuous provision are planned for daily to enable high quality play.
Children self-register in the morning by selecting their name peg and attaching it to one of a selection of ‘feelings’ pictures to indicate how they are feeling. A snack table is set up for the children to visit when they feel hungry, they are encouraged to prepare their own snack and drink, then to wash up when they have finished. Children are supported to learn when it is appropriate to wash their hands and use the toilet independently. We have a structured approach to group times where we discuss the calendar and weather every morning.
As a school, we value reading for pleasure and the children take part in a dedicated Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) time, as well as regular story times and guided reading sessions. Children take part in regular whole school assemblies where they learn about the school values and celebrate their achievements. Children’s personal, social and emotional development is supported through class circle times.
All children are allocated their own key person who spend time with the children, interacting and engaging, using their skills and knowledge to really get to know them. The key person seeks to understand where each child sits developmentally and learns about their likes, interests and areas where they show less interest. Reciprocal exchanges between children and adults are valued and fostered. Staff model, guide and support children’s social interactions, physical skills and emotional health and self-care.
Staff carefully plan learning opportunities based on children’s individual interests. We have developed flexible planning formats, so that practitioners can adjust the curriculum and environment to reflect ‘in the moment’ interests and further embed and develop children’s concepts. We map out core experiences such as: observing the life cycle of chickens and butterflies, seasonal forest school activities, growing and caring for plants on our allotment and trips into the community. Core books (fiction and non-fiction), stories and rhymes are planned to enrich children’s learning and development in all areas, preparing them to become fluent readers. During the course of the year, children are introduced to and become highly familiar with books and rhymes with progressively complex language structures, rhythms and tunes.
Parents, Community and Cultural Capital
We work in close partnership with our community preschool to ensure that children experience a seamless transition when they begin school. We build on the trusting relationships, developed with our families through home visits, open afternoons and play and stay sessions. During our initial home visits, we gather detailed parent and family information. Early dialogue with parents helps us to understand and know individual children before they start with us.
We work in partnership with parents and carers throughout the school year, ensuring that the parent and carer’s voice is part of both the learning and assessment of each individual child. This is supported through the use of Tapestry online learning journal and regular formal and informal progress meetings. Parents and carers are guided in how to support their child’s learning at home.
Each unique child brings their own ‘funds of knowledge’ to the classroom, learned in the context of the home and family environment. We encourage children and their parents/carers to come in and share their occupations, interests, and hobbies as these are important aspects of knowledge and cultural capital for all the children.
Staff are trained to ensure they have a good understanding of early years child development and pedagogy. They are skilled in understanding when to get involved and when to encourage, support and scaffold children’s learning, encouraging them to persist, when necessary, without interfering or taking over. Staff understand how the different elements of the curriculum fit together to help children build on their learning over time. It is important that staff are confident to plan ‘in the moment’, as what is taught is not always specified in a designated curriculum; it frequently results from unplanned, spontaneous situations during child led play, exploration, and investigations.
The continuing professional development of staff include specialist training in early years education, special educational needs, supporting children’s physical development and speech, language, and communication development.
Depth of Subject Specific Learning
Depth of learning is vital for children’s developing knowledge and skills, for example, the learning of mathematics is sequential and new concepts must build on the foundations of earlier concepts, therefore children need a deep understanding of numbers to 5 before rushing onto numbers to 10. Other areas of learning are much less sequential and the order of learning matters less, which allows individual children to direct their own learning and build on their interests and passions enabled by an effective learning environment.
School subject coordinators have designed programmes of learning for each subject area from Reception to Year 6. Essential skills and knowledge have been mapped out using Bloom’s Taxonomy as a framework to ensure both breadth and depth of learning. This gives us confidence that our early years curriculum provides children with both academic challenge and the necessary foundations for them to be successful throughout key stages 1 and 2. In core curriculum areas, we follow specific frameworks that are continued throughout the school, including:
Our robust curriculum ensures that children are holistically prepared for the next stage of their education and can discover and develop their own interests and talents. From their own observations and those that parents and carers share, staff plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all areas of learning and development, ensuring that all children have strong foundations in the three prime areas and that they progress well through the specific areas of learning whilst continuing to embed, strengthen and apply the prime areas. Staff are aware of the importance of developing language and extending vocabulary throughout all curriculum opportunities.
Observations are recorded through Tapestry and demonstrate to parents and carers what children are learning and how positive adult interactions and interventions have moved the learning on for each individual child. Learning walks check that individual children, and groups of children, are making progress so that staff are able to take prompt action where this is not the case. Where children move on quickly, our emphasis is on deepening their learning rather than introducing new skills or concepts too rapidly.
Every child has a portfolio which is used to monitor each child’s progress, this is through an ‘Early Years Checkpoint’ document. Where a child has emerging SEND then the teacher works with the SEND Coordinator (SENDCo) to plan appropriate and timely interventions. The SENDCo supports with provision mapping and ensuring there is a robust ‘graduated response’ in place for those children emerging with special educational needs.
Staff meet regularly to discuss children and to moderate judgements and keep track of children’s interests, schemas and the ways they like to learn through, reflecting on the Characteristics of Effective Learning assessment criteria. Adults use the Leuven Scales to monitor children’s levels of engagement and wellbeing.
The statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage sets out the assessments that all early years settings must undertake during the reception year, drawing on adults’ knowledge of each child and professional judgements.
The Reception Baseline Assessment
The Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) is a short assessment, taken in the first six weeks in which a child starts reception. The purpose of this assessment is to provide the starting point for a new measure that will help parents and carers understand how well pupils progress between reception class and year 6.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile
In the final term of the year in which each child reaches age five, and no later than 30 June in that term, the school must complete the EYFS Profile for each child. The Profile provides a picture of the child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their attainment against expected levels, and their readiness for Year 1. Each child’s level of development is assessed against the early learning goals and a judgement is made on whether children have met expected level of development, or if they are not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’). We share each child’s Profile report with their Year 1 teacher, which assists with the planning of activities in the next stage of their education. We also share the results of the Profile with parents and carers and provide an opportunity to discuss the Profile with the teacher who completed it.
If staff have concerns about individual children’s learning and development, they may:
- Look at the Checkpoints in Development Matters
- Discuss concerns with the Early Years Leader
- If appropriate refer to the school SENDCo
- In all cases: discuss openly with the parent and consider how we’re going to work together to help the child settle in positively and take part in our curriculum.
Please click here to read our EYFS Curriculum and Assessment Policy in full.