At Folly Hill we aim to provide motivating first-hand experiences whilst encouraging children to build resilience, ambition and a lifelong love of learning. we believe that all children deserve an education rich in wonder and memorable experiences that allows children's natural creativity and curiosity to flourish, alongside the purposeful acquisition of skills and knowledge.
At Folly Hill we recognise the importance of giving our children the best possible start to their education by planning and implementing teaching and learning opportunities that supports each individual reaching their full potential from their various starting points. We work in close partnership with parents, carers and other settings in order for us to build upon prior learning, both from previous settings and their experiences at home.
In reception we follow the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early years Foundation Stage.
The curriculum is centred around children’s interests with a balance of child-initiated and adult-led learning. The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum has seven areas of learning which are divided into Prime and Specific areas.
The three prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
Prime areas of learning
Communication and Language
Personal, Social, Emotional Development
The four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
Specific areas of learning
Understanding the World
Expressive Art and Design
In our Early Years environment, we facilitate the ‘characteristics of effective learning’. These are the fundamental skills and attitudes required to help children become lifelong learners, focusing on not just what children need to learn but how they learn it. Children develop the ability to become independent and capable learners for life when we focus on the following skills and attitudes:
- being willing to have a go and try something new
- bouncing back after difficulties and persisting in the face of challenge
- being encouraged and supported to have their own ideas
- finding more than one way of doing something
- being proud of how they achieve something, not just the achievement itself
- making links and connections between their learning
Our effective continuous provision provides children with the opportunity to demonstrate these characteristics of learning. Continuous provision is defined by the resources offered to children as part of an enabling environment or the resources that are safe for children to explore independently. We provide a high-quality environment that support children’s ability to interact with the resources.
Adults have a crucial role in stimulating and supporting children to reach beyond their current limits, inspiring their learning and supporting their development. We do this by providing a rich language environment, asking open-ended questions and posing exciting challenges. We recognise the importance of taking an active role in child-initiated play through modelling, facilitating and extending. When children engage with continuous provision, we can take the opportunity to make careful observations. Each child has a learning journey where observations are gathered from school and home and shared with children and parents. We measure the progress and success that children make towards the 17 early learning goals continuously throughout the foundation year. Their achievements are reported to parents at the end of the Foundation stage as they move into Year 1.
As a school we work in close partnerships with parents and carers to ensure all children accessing our provision begin to build the foundations of their learning journey in a safe, happy and nurturing environment. We offer many opportunities for parents to be in school to keep up to do date with their child’s progress and provide information about the curriculum through weekly class emails.
Reflecting the changes in EYFS assessment, we use a Focus Child Approach. Each week a small number of children are chosen to be a focus child. During each child’s focus week, quality interactions and learning experiences are reflected on and used to inform next steps. These next steps and observations are recorded in their learning journeys. Parents are invited to view the learning journeys and meet with the teacher to discuss progress, achievements, and next steps. These observations are used to shape future planning.
Early Literacy is fundamental to the children’s future development, here at Folly Hills reception class we teach through games and stories, following the Little Wandle programme for phonics, enabling them to develop a mastery of reading and leading into their confidence in writing.
We believe that play and practical exploration are key to both developing a strong conceptual understanding in early mathematics. Concepts are introduced through concrete representations and practice and consolidation play a central role in developing children’s understanding and confidence. At Folly Hill we draw upon the NCETM Mastery approach in mathematics for number and White Rose for shape space and measure, to ensure effective coverage and readiness for Year 1.
Topics and why we teach them.
As the children start with us in the reception year the most important thing is for the children to feel safe and comfortable in their new school and class. We teach this topic to foster the children’s feeling of belonging and to enable the children to develop positive relationships with the staff and their peers. Until children are happy, confident and able to communicate effectively they will not be deeply engaged in their play and learning. Throughout this topic we teach children how to be a good friend, how to recognise their feelings and the feelings of others. How to deal with different feelings and strategies for developing resilience. The children will get to learn about each other and their similarities and differences. Celebrating and sharing different cultures and traditions within the class.
Stories are the key to so much fantastic learning that this whole term is devoted to stories. From traditional tales to superhero stories and favourite bedtime stories, the wealth of opportunities to develop language and vocabulary alone make this a fantastic topic. Through stories we will encourage the children to retell stories through role play and story maps. We will give the children opportunities to write to and meet characters from the stories they are reading.
Around the world
During this term the children will learn about their local environment and what lives there, looking particularly at minibeasts in school and the local park. We will look at other environments such as beaches and under the sea. We will discuss the importance of looking after our world and how to take care of our environment. During this topic we aim to foster the children’s awe and wonder about the world around us.
These topics link to our school values, Thoughtful, Explorers, Awesome and Motivated.
Research has shown that young children learn best through exploration and play and by building on personal interests and experiences to motivate and encourage them. At Folly Hill we deliver learning for all areas through purposeful play, and learning experiences. Although we have overarching topics for each term we also plan ‘in the moment’. When children are most engaged in their play is when the greatest learning takes place therefore the role of the Early Years practitioners is to facilitate children to develop their own play and lead their learning on through their own interests and curiosity.
We want each child to get the best possible start in life and to be ready to thrive in KS1. At Folly Hill we do this by ensuring ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning process. The EYFS team observe pupils and these observations assess where children are in their learning before planning the next steps in that journey. We use a paper-based scrap book learning journey to record observations, but we pride ourselves on our own knowledge of the children’s progress and recognise the importance of being present with the children. By taking away the need for constant recording, it helps to develop more natural play, conversations and interaction between adults and children. This in turn strengthens the children’s communication and language skills as well as building their vocabulary. Good language skills are the basis for all other learning and social interaction.
With the successful implementation of both an enriched, rounded and balanced curriculum and a well-structured, active and challenging learning environment, children will be able to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding that enables them to be successful learners.