Early years overview
Our Early Years Vision
At St Gregory and St Patrick’s School we recognise that children learn in different ways and at different rates and plan for this accordingly.
Our aim is to support all children attending our Pre Nursery, Nursery and School to attain their maximum potential within their individual capabilities. We provide a positive play environment for every child, so they may develop good social skills and gain confidence in a range of social situations. We aim to support children in their learning through giving them the range of skills and experiences that provide the right foundation for good progress through school and in life.
We place high importance on developing children’s physical and emotional well-being, through early observation our skilled practitioners create an environment in which all our children can thrive. We recognise that children arrive with a wide range of skills, abilities and particular interests. We understand that each child is a competent learner, so we start from the children, finding out about them before planning experiences to intrigue, challenge and extend their learning.
Early Years Policy
Please find below our Early Years Policy. This includes:
- Aims and Principles
- Planning and organising the curriculum
- Parents as educators
- Learning and Development
- Assessment and record keeping
Some of our Reception Learning...
Our Long Term Plans
We have been busy linking our learning activities to the new Development Matters Framework. Take a look at the plans created below
Welcoming children into our setting
We pride ourselves on providing good transitions and introductions to each phase of our EYFS provision. please find below all of our information for when your child starts Pre-Nursery, Nursery and Reception.
Welcome to Pre-Nursery
Welcome to Nursery
Welcome to Reception
Reading in the Early Years
Reading is a key focus for St Gregory and St Patricks School and that is why we feel it is essential that children, even in our Pre-Nursery Setting, are given an opportunity to share stories at home and develop a deep love of reading.
In Pre Nursery our children have a specially selected "reading spine" consisting of 15 books we feel will help build on both children's vocab and interest in books. this set of books are shared regularly within the setting, in 1:1 reading session or whole setting story times. Within the setting children have access to a book area and quiet room where books can be shared.
families are encouraged to take home our "story sacks" which are available at the entrance to Pre-Nursery alongside a "take home to keep" bookshelf, offering families a range of stories that they can share at home time and time again.
We love an opportunity to visit the Library van to change our books and listen to a story read by the librarian
Nursery have their own book spine, which we feel builds on the stories shared in Pre-Nursery.
Alongside these books staff share regular stories on a daily basis, linking to current topics. We share the same story over a weekly period in order to give children time to get to now a text well, s they are confident talking about the story and resaying the story using some of the vocabulary they have heard.
children take home a book bag with them each week. these story books are either linked to language or mathematics. In each bag we have sent home activity ideas that families may wish to carry out at home together.
As soon as our children start in Nursery we have regular slots throughout the week where children complete some "getting ready for reading" tasks, in small groups. These activities include listening, environmental sounds and rhyme.
In our summer term, for those children transitioning into Reception in September we are introducing set 1 sounds following the Read Write Inc Programme. Children are learning to recognise and write sounds.
We have recently been using "helicopter stories" to give children an opportunity to create their own story and share it in a group, this then leads onto acting out the story with their peers. Children are encouraged to think about character, setting, problem and solution. We have had some super story telling so far!
children have regular visits to the school library in small focused groups. We are also lucky to have made good links with the local library where the librarian will now come into school to share stories in small groups. We also receive book boxes from the library each term linked to our topics.
In Reception we try to start reading and phonics the moment our children join us in September, at first until we assess children's sound knowledge, this is carried out as full class revamp of sounds and Fred talk. within the first two weeks we put children into smaller groups for our 20minuite daily phonics sessions, following the Read Write Inc programme. Children receive their first "share at home story" from week 1, this then gets adds to as children progress through phonics, some will start to take home some sound sheets and then moving onto reading books.
As the year progresses the time spent in our phonics groups increase as we introduce reading into the sessions.
Reception also have their own Reading pine which we read and re-read often i order for children to know these texts inside out.
In addition linked to our half term topic we share a book which we will focus on for a fortnight, usually following the process of Talk 4 Writing, so children can gain confidence knowing the text and then adapt the texts to create a new story as the sessions go on.
Reception children are also using helicopter stories, building on learning that has taken place in Nursery. We encourage children to draw or write their own parts before sharing with the class.
All children within Reception have access to a book area, library book box and "favourite read " box.
To promote the use of our local library we have termly trips to the library linked to our current topics, children are collected from the library to give parents time to browse books and to join the library if they wish to. Additionally we regularly visit the school library in order to look at a wide range of different books and topics.
We love having a special "mystery reader" who comes into class to share a book, we have tried to encourage parent readers, especially male family member as we acknowledge in school children see lots of female readers!
Each Wednesday Reception attend a reading assemble with the rest of Key Stage 1. Each week has a different theme and it is an opportunity to hear a new text, talk about the books and learn new vocabulary, each class then takes a book back to class linked with that theme.
Improving Speech and Vocabulary
One of our main priorities as a school is to improve speech and language, especially focusing on our Early Years Children. When children join us at two in Pre-Nursery, some have a very limited vocabulary and we aim to focus on this throughout Pre Nursery, Nursery and Reception.
We have devised Area vocabulary cards which all three settings use as part of their continuous provision.
Religious Education in EYFS
Our Catholic Ethos is embedded in all that we do. We teach our children the basics of placing hands together to pray and addressing God. We share stories from the bible that are age appropriate, such as Noah's Ark. We talk to our children about love, kindness and sharing. The main attributes we can expect from our two-year old children to show they are being like Jesus. We have a worship area which children can come and look at, incorporating religious images and stories. This is our "quiet space." We have a display in this area with some of the pictures children have made linked to the Religious calendar. We celebrate lots of religious celebrations to link with the rest of the school, including Easter, Christmas and St Patricks Day.
Every day we try our best to be the greatest we can be. The gospel values are ingrained in our learning and groups agreements as we strive to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. We partake in daily prayer and liturgy sessions and weekly R.E. lessons. We say our prayers three times a day (morning, lunch and home time). In Nursery we build on the knowledge already learned in Pre Nursery by continuing with daily bible stories and learning about God's family. Our R.E. themes intertwine with our half termly topics to ensure Christ is at the centre of everything we do and learn
Our children love learning about Jesus and God. They come to us with a good understanding of saying prayers, bible stories and trying hard to act like Jesus. We continue the learning from Nursery and ensure our children know our morning, dinner time and home time prayers as well as beginning to learn the Hail Mary and Our Father. We expect our children to know how to make the sign of the cross and simple responses. We carry out daily Prayer and Liturgy time, where children can think about God, listen to a bible reading and reflect upon their own actions. We focus a lot on our class "Special person" Mary. Children understand why she was special and why she was chosen by God. We carry out lots of visits to our church. An initial visit to see church takes place in Autumn 1 and then children visit for Christmas, to walk the stations of the cross, to praise Mary and to carry out our own mini wedding. Our children receive one morning a week of RE learning and have daily access to our worship area, where children can write their own prayers, share Bible stories and pray.
Trips, Visits and Visitors
As a school we acknowledge the importance of giving our children a broad and balance curriculum. As Early Years providers we feel that it is highly important that we offer our pupils a range of opportunities while they are i our care. We want children to experience things we are talking about. How can a child think about the Gruffalo in the forest if they have never stood in a forest? How can children imagine being on a train if it is a form of transport they have not experienced?
We have spent along time as a team discussing the experiences we provide for our children and how these build upon each other as children progress from Pre Nursery right through to Year 2. Please take a look at the experiences we plan for throughout the year in the document below.
Our Indoor and Outdoor Provision
In all of our Early Years settings we ensure children have access to a range of continuous provision areas.
Our inside areas include:
- Small world area
- Large and small construction
- Role play area
- Sand and water trays
- Book corner with a range of fiction and non-fiction books
- Writing Area with a range of writing resources
- Making area
- Playdough area
- Musical instruments area
- Painting table
- Mathematical area
- Puppet area
- Finger gym
- Workshop area
- Phonics area
Outside classroom areas include:
- large construction,
- mud kitchen, stage,
- music area,
- small world,
- den making,
- water tray,
- sand pit
- digging area.
As children spend almost 4 years within our Early Years provision we are keen to ensure that each setting provides a range of resources for our pupils so they can build on previous learned skills as they move from Pre- Nursery, to Nursery, to Reception. In order to ensure this happens we have planned each area and the resources we expect to see. Please see the documents below:
Assessment within Early Years
Pre-Nursery: We follow the same assessment and observation cycle as Nursery, however we also complete a 2 year progress check for all children, which is then also shared with the parents and Health Visitor.
Nursery: Ongoing assessment is an essential part of the learning and development processes. All children will have a baseline assessment when they start Nursery. Staff use observational assessment to continually identify children’s achievements, interests and learning experiences. These observations are shared with the parents and/or carers and are used to identify children’s next steps. We also take into account observations shared by parents and/or carers through the online learning journey Learning Book.
Reception: Through careful assessments and observations, including information provided by parents and other settings, children’s development levels are assessed. On entry to school all children will have a Baseline Assessment. During this Baseline assessment the children’s levels of well-being and involvement are assessed alongside levels for Personal Social and Emotional Development Communication Language and Literacy, Reading, Writing, Number and Space Shape and Measure. All assessments are undertaken through observation. This Baseline assessment will inform future planning for each child and help to monitor individual progress. We also complete an end of year assessment: assessing children against the End of Year Early Learning Goals: we assess whether children are expected, exceeding or emerging. This is reported to parents in our school reports. These assessments are based on what children can complete independently without adult support.
Esk Avenue, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 8AJ