WELCOME TO OUR EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE
In the early years foundation stage we encourage and support children to become confident and independent learners. We provide a rich learning environment which encourages a high degree of autonomy so that children can quickly learn to be responsible for their own learning. We believe that children should be allowed to develop at their own pace. The needs of each child vary and we cater for them as individuals.
The nursery year is a vital part in your child's ongoing education. Nursery starts the term after your child is three and continues until they start the Reception Year of primary school. The nursery experience provides a positive start to school, where a love of exploration and learning is fostered, sets children up for a love of learning as they continue their education journey. We work closely with parents and carers to develop a partnership between home and school in order to share together the importance of these early years in your child's education.
You may think that children are 'just playing' when you see young children in Foundation Stage. However, if you look more closely, you will see that a whole world of learning is happening. We carefully plan playful, purposeful activities to suit the needs and interests of the children, in order to support them and to help to move their learning forward. Young children are active learners and the experiences that we plan enhance the all-round development of the child. We want all children to feel valued as individuals and to be successful achievers in a safe, secure, nurturing environment. Spontaneous learning opportunities are recognised and extended by the adults as they occur. Through play, and with the support of adults in class, children explore and discover new ideas, skills and concepts.
Rain or shine, our outside environment is open for the children to explore. The outdoors is a natural teaching and learning environment and is where a lot of the children feel settled and capable. Outdoor teaching and learning is as carefully planned, just as it is indoors. The only real difference between the indoor and outdoor curriculum is that the outdoors provides children with the opportunity to work on a much larger scale and to be more physically active.
Most of all, all members of the early years foundation stage, want your child to have a happy, positive and exciting experience. We want their day to be filled with purposeful play, making friendships, learning, developing and lots of fun!
Staffing and Organisation
At West Oxford Community Primary School we have one nursery class (ages 3-4yrs) and one reception class. The Foundation Unit as a whole contains two large classrooms, a spacious outside area, a space for small group work and toilets. The setting has a variety of free choice provision and areas for the children to access. Staff are organised to support the children in a balance of adult-led and child-initiated experiences throughout the sessions and all children have free flow access to outdoor learning and provision. The experienced team plan a variety of exciting learning opportunities each day as well as responding to unplanned themes or topics that interest the children.
Our Nursery Class
Your Nursery teachers are Mrs Vyavahare and Mrs Seville. Mrs Warburton is your Nursery Nurse.
Our Reception Class
Your Reception teachers are Miss Cheeseman and Mrs Seville.
Your teaching assistants in the early years classrooms are Mrs Pilc, Miss Lewis, Mrs Adams, Mrs Sharif and Mrs Mahgoub.
Take a look at what we will be learning this term!
Our EYFS Curriculum
The Early Years Foundation Stage long term plans at West Oxford Community Primary School have been developed by all Early Years staff using the EYFS Statutory Framework and the EYFS Development Matters document as guidance. The documents outline what the children in our Foundation Stage will experience during their time in both our nursery and reception class. Please see 'whole school curriculum overview' for these documents.
To ensure our children are exposed to a high quality broad and balanced curriculum, we have established seven Curricular Goals. The Goals highlight all the things that we want the children to know, experience and be able to do as a result of their time in the early years foundation stage. Much of the time the children will guide their own learning but we are mindful of the outcomes we want our children to reach, and guide our children towards them.
PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTING OUR EYFS CURRICULUM
We plan through a topic based approach, which can be amended at any time to incorporate the children's interests/needs. Each topic provides teachers with a starting point for their lessons and will often be linked to the enhanced provision set up within the learning environment. In addition to a wide range of daily activities, we aim to organise several events, outings and visits/visitors to enhance the children's learning throughout the year.
To keep you well informed of the children's activities we send a weekly newsletter via Google Classroom outlining what the children have been learning that week.
THE CHILD AS A LEARNER
The aim of the Early Years Curriculum at our school is to nurture and build upon children's natural energy, enthusiasm and curiosity. Young children learn predominately through playing individually or cooperatively in small groups and, therefore, a balance of child initiated play and structured, planned play is the medium through which the Early Years Curriculum at West Oxford Community Primary School is predominantly delivered.
Our curriculum is designed around the needs of children aged between 3 and 5 years and is organised into the following seven areas of Learning and Development.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Gross motor skills
Fine motor skills
Communication and Language
Listening, attention and understanding
Understanding the World
Past and present
People culture and communities
The natural world
Expressive Arts & Design
Creating and materials
Being imaginative and expressive
The Characteristics of Effective Learning
The Characteristics of Effective Learning describe behaviours children use in order to learn. To learn well, children must approach opportunities with curiosity, energy and enthusiasm. Effective learning must be meaningful to a child, so that they are able to use what they have learned and apply it in new situations. These abilities and attitudes of strong learners will support them to learn well and make good progress in all the areas of learning and development.
Playing and Exploring - children investigate and experience things, and have a go
Active Learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
Creating and Thinking Critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children's development and learning. Enabling environments encourage young children to play because they feel relaxed, comfortable and at home in them. When children feel emotionally safe and secure they are able to explore and find out about the place they are in and the things they can see, touch, manoeuvre or manipulate.
At West Oxford Community Primary school, our children have daily access to well-planned stimulating learning environments, indoors and outdoors. These environments give children opportunities to be active and physical and also quiet and reflective.
The early years environment - inside and outside - is viewed as a whole, providing different areas where resources, materials and activities are freely and easily accessible.
The areas of learning in the environment include:
role play area
mark making/writing area
small world area
It is important to develop learning opportunities outside as outdoor learning provides opportunities for: the acquisition of gross motor skills, taking risks, fostering a love of nature and the environment, large (and possibly messier) play which is not possible indoors, learning experiences suited to the outdoor environment and physical fitness.
What is Forest School?
Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers children and young people opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.
Forest School is an approach to outdoor learning and is about children exploring and experiencing the natural world through practical involvement. The varied natural resources of the woodland and the children's own interest combine to stimulate imaginative, creative and investigative activity. Children who experience Forest School are likely to have an increased understanding of and interest in the natural environment. They learn about risk and danger and quite naturally become used to looking after and caring for each other.
At West Oxford Community Primary School, we aim to provide every child in the Foundation Stage with Forest School opportunities at some point during the year.
Mrs. Warburton, nursery nurse, is our Forest School Leader.
Here is a glimpse of Forest School in action.
Literacy in the Foundation Stage
In the foundation stage literacy is taught through a variety of adult led and child led sessions. Through these sessions, children are able to develop and extend their speaking & listening, reading and writing skills.
We support children to see themselves as readers and writers from a young age and share a range of different types of texts with them such as stories, information books and poetry. We introduce a wide variety of vocabulary linked to each topic and also to particular genres of writing.
Parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their child's development in literacy through:
- Parents meetings
- Book looks
- Sharing school picture books and core books with their child at home
- Supporting their child to read their reading book at home
- Taking part in foundation stage reading events
- Annual reports to parents
Children in the foundation stage take part in daily phonics sessions. In our Reception class we use Unlocking Letters and Sounds to plan our phonics lessons. For more information about Unlocking Letters and Sounds go to 'learning', 'curriculum' and 'phonics'.
Writing is taught in reception class during carpet sessions and adult led focused sessions. There are always a wide range of mark making and writing activities available to children in both the nursery and the reception class every day. All children's written work is valued, from marks on paper in nursery to a full sentence written by a child in reception. We acknowledge the need for children to pass through many stages before they become fluent, confident communicators in print. The messages that children are communicating is of paramount importance and we value each stage of the writing process.
TALK FOR WRITING
At West Oxford we believe in using the power of stories for bringing learning to life. In the foundation stage we have chosen to use Talk for Writing to inspire our children to develop their reading and writing skills during their time with us in the Early Years.
What do we mean by Talk for Writing? The founder of the process Pie Corbett talks about the ideas behind Talk for Writing in this video:
In our regular hand writing sessions (reception class only) the teacher or teaching assistant supports a group of children to improve their writing by direct modelling and sensitive intervention.
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
The children enjoy listening to stories and poems, saying rhymes, participating in drama and role play - all of which help to develop their listening and speaking skills. They become confident, fluent and articulate, and very able to express themselves. They also become interested in and are able to listen to other people's thoughts and feelings, ideas and opinions, and value them.
At West Oxford Community Primary School we are committed to providing a rich and comprehensive reading programme through our chosen phonics scheme; Unlocking Letters and Sounds, offering a range of opportunities to become fluent, enthusiastic readers. Reading regularly with an adult generally begins shortly after starting in reception.
When reading the books or large texts the teacher helps children become better readers, for example, by demonstrating how to read accurately and fluently and teaching appropriate reading strategies.
Guided Reading - Reading in groups with the teacher or teaching assistant (reception class only)
Once children in reception are able to read fluently they take part in guided reading sessions. A small group of children with similar reading ability each has a copy of the same book. The book is specially chosen to match the reading ability of the group. The teacher or teaching assistant teaches appropriate reading strategies or skills. Guided reading provides opportunities for children to take part in discussion where they can enthuse and learn from each other.
Home/school reading and other independent reading
We use the reading scheme; Unlocking Letters and Sounds, which provides us with a wide variety of exciting fiction and non-fiction books for the children to enjoy. Once in reception, children regularly receive reading books to take home to share with parents. We really value and appreciate the time parents spend reading with their children at home. This is vital for developing fluency and establishing a good reading habit and a love of books.
In addition, we have many books in school, both fiction and non-fiction, from which both nursery and reception children can chose, so giving them an opportunity to increase their language experience and appreciation of the written word. These books can also be taken home to share with parents.
For more information about reading with your child follow the links below;
Teaching Mathematics in the EYFS
There's more to maths than counting!
We primarily use White Rose Maths to assist planning and the teaching of maths in the foundation stage, however, teachers are free to be creative in their approach to bringing maths to life for our pupils.
Children learn about maths through play and their daily experiences. And the more meaningful to them and hands on it is, the better.
Our setting is full of mathematical opportunities for children to explore, sort, compare, count, calculate and describe. Providing a safe environment to be creative, critical thinkers, problem solvers and to have a go.
Our objective is to ensure that all children develop firm mathematical foundations in a way that is engaging, and appropriate for their age. This means actively learning using resources and activities provided in the environment.
In addition, maths is explicitly taught in both our Nursery and Reception classes. In Reception there are regular whole class sessions, which are followed up with small group work within the environment.
Further activities you can do with your child at home
WellComm is a Speech and Language Toolkit for Screening and Intervention in the Early Years: Revised Edition that plays a crucial role in identifying children with potential language difficulties and offers a range of customised intervention activities to help support their language development.
Easy to administer and score, the screening tool uses a unique traffic light system to help practitioners understand the child's current level of speech and language and to provide a pathway for action, ensuring every child gets the support they need.
Nutritious snacks in the Foundation Stage
We provide a snack and drinks (milk and water) for your child during their day. We believe that eating healthily is extremely important in the development of young children and that children should be able to enjoy food as well as learn good eating habits for the future.
Children in the Foundation Stage enjoy a range of fruit and vegetables as part of their daily snack. Twice daily the children sit down in small groups for snack time with their key person. While they eat they are free to enjoy the social aspect of snack time too.
We are a NUT-FREE school and are happy to help make adjustments for any allergies, dietary requirements or religious beliefs.
A range of fruit and vegetables are also enjoyed daily in the Year 1 class too.
Help your little ones learn healthy eating habits for life.
Children's experiences of mealtimes and food can stay with them for a lifetime. If healthy food and eating habits are the norm in your house then children are more likely to adopt these later on in life.
We have put together a list of pointers that will help you be a good role model for your little ones when it comes to food, as well as some simple suggestions to encourage healthy eating.
Children learn by example. So one of the most important things is for your child to see you enjoying eating healthily. When your children see you enjoying a rich, varied and healthy diet they will be more likely to follow in your footsteps.
Try to deliver consistent messages about healthy eating. You may need to sit down with your partner, or the other people who help with childcare, such as grandparents, and explain what your policies on food and snacks are.
Eat the same foods as your children. Giving the whole family the same dish and just adjusting the portion sizes means kids won't be left thinking that your meal looks much more exciting than theirs.
Enjoy your fruit and veg. If your kids see you eating round your veggies they are likely to copy you. However, if you wolf them down and go back for more, chances are they will do the same!
Try new foods together. But remember that children will be watching how you approach and react to new foods. So be open minded and positive.
Try not to have unhealthy snacks in the house. That way, when your child becomes hungry and asks for food, there are only healthy snacks on hand to choose from.
Children have smaller stomachs than grown-ups and so need to eat regularly ? no more than three hours apart. Don't leave it until your little one is so hungry that they can't wait for you to prepare them a healthy snack.
Areas used for eating should be clean, warm and bright, and should be free from distractions such as television and toys.
Use appropriately sized chairs, plates, bowls, cups and cutlery. This will help children to eat independently.
Encourage children to choose the food they are going to eat for themselves, and to try new foods. Visit our Fussy eaters page for advice on overcoming fussy eating.
Children should not be expected to finish everything on their plate, and should be able to eat their dessert, even if they have not finished their main course. If they are still hungry after their main course, they should have the option to get seconds.
Mealtimes should be sociable occasions. Try to sit down together to eat whenever possible and chat about things other than just the food.
Children can be involved in helping to set up and clear away tables before and after meals. This will help to get them involved and interested in mealtimes.
Encourage your children to sit around a table to eat their meals and snacks. This will help develop their social skills and good eating habits.
Get cooking together. This will get children interested in food and help them learn how to make healthy tasty meals from scratch.
Toilet Training (Nursery)
Children are ready for toilet training between 18 months and 3 years old. It is beneficial to your child if they are fully toilet trained before they start with us. We recognise that in some cases this is not always possible. If your child is not yet toilet trained, we recommend getting started with the training while they are at home with you. Once your child starts with us, we will happily work with you in the process and this will lead to toilet training success! Please read our Intimate Care policy and the leaflet below.
We use Google Classroom as a way of communicating with our parents. Parents will receive weekly newsletters, class notices, class photographs and any other home/school correspondence via this platform. Parents will receive a login soon after their child starts with us. Please visit; classroom.google.com for more information.
Transition Mornings (September start only)
As teachers we enjoy getting to know all of the children and help them become fantastic members of West Oxford Community Primary School!
We are committed to ensuring all of the changes children go through during their school life are seamless and successful. Moving to a new nursery or into school is one of the biggest transitions a child will make. Therefore, we set aside dates for new parents and children to attend their class transition sessions in the month of June/July.
During a transition session:
Your child will be free to engage in play
Your child will enjoy meeting their new peers
You will meet our team of enthusiastic teachers and support staff that will be happy to answer any queries you may have
You will attend a welcome meeting where you will be given the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about your child starting school.
- You will be reminded to complete our online forms, which will provide us with the information we need to cater for your child once they start with us.
Would you like to visit our school?
There are also opportunities for new potential parents to visit our school prior to applying for their child's nursery/reception place throughout the year. Please contact the school office for further information.
Preparing your child for starting nursery/schoolSchool Readiness
Attendance in the Early Years
Whilst the legal requirements for attendance do not apply to children under 5, regular routines for young children support the settling-in process and enhance their sense of security. They can also foster good habits for children’s later life. Even if a child only has a part time place, regular attendance is still important.
Why is good attendance important in the early years?
Young children find it easier to build and sustain a range of social relationships when they regularly attend school or nursery.
Regular times arranged with parents help to develop a secure attachment within the setting.
Children who rarely miss sessions and come on time are more likely to feel good about themselves. This is because they know what goes on and what to expect, feel more confident with the adults and the other children and have more opportunities to be valued and praised for their own special contribution.
Children who regularly miss sessions or are generally late, can frequently experience a sense of having to try a little bit harder just to understand what is going on and what other children are talking about or doing.
Regular attendance, on time, helps many young children to separate from their parents or carers at the start of the day and settle more readily into daily life in their setting.
Staff carefully plan every session for each child in their care and want to take every opportunity to help them thrive.
Experiences gained in one session are often developed further in the next session, whether or not these are consecutive days.
Children learn in many different ways through play with others and through being in the company of staff who actively support their learning and development.
Underachievement is often linked to lower attendance. For some older students this is linked to a steadily deteriorating trend in attendance which is traceable right back to their Early Years setting.
For information on school attendance and absence please visit the website below.
The Early Years Pupil Premium
All nurseries, schools, childminders and other childcare providers are able to claim extra funding through the Early Years Pupil Premium to support children’s development, learning and care.
National data and research tells us that children eligible for free school meals tend to do less well. The Early Years Pupil Premium will provide us with extra funding to close this gap.
We can use the extra funding in any way we choose to improve the quality of the early years education that we provide for your child. This could include for example additional training for our staff on early language, investing in partnership working with our colleagues in the area to further our expertise or supporting our staff in working on specialised areas such as speech and language.
It is well documented that high quality early education can influence how well a child does at both primary and secondary school so we do want to make the most of this additional funding. You may be aware if you have older children that a pupil premium has been available for school age children and it has proved to have given a real boost to the children receiving the funding. We want to do the same for our early years children entitled to this funding.
Therefore, when children start school with us, we ask parents/carers to kindly complete a form, which will identify whether or not the school is eligible to receive funding for this child.
Sickness and Absence at West Oxford Community Primary School
When a child is unwell, it can be hard deciding whether to keep them off school. These simple guidelines taken from the NHS website should help.