Sheffield Road, Birdwell, Barnsley, S70 5XB

Our Early Years Curriculum

At Birdwell we are proud of the start we give to all children in Foundation Stage as they join our school. The Foundation Stage is a discrete and very special phase and is concerned with the development of “the whole child”, each area of development closely and often seamlessly intertwined together as children learn and develop following a play based curriculum. The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum has three “prime” areas of learning; Personal, Social and Emotional development, language for communication and thinking and physical development, and four “specific” areas; literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design. Broad developmental bands indicating likely stages of development and behaviours in each of these areas form the basis of our planning for learning and children’s progress and attainment is monitored in relation to these developmental bands. All activities and experiences are designed and planned to meet individual needs and interests.

Quality play experiences form the basis of each day in Foundation Stage and children are encouraged to initiate and develop their own ideas, working with other children and adults in a variety of contexts both indoors and in the outdoor classroom.

Early Years Curriculum & Assessment

The EYFS curriculum is based on ‘development matters’. Learning activities are carefully planned and matched to the developmental age of pupils and based on firm assessment and understanding of pupils’ prior knowledge and gaps in learning/next steps.

Birdwell Primary School Foundation Stage environment provides a rich and stimulating setting which offers a balance between child initiated and adult led group time activities. Most children play spontaneously although some may need adult support and it is through play that they develop intellectually, creatively, physically, socially and emotionally. Children are challenged through interactions in provision using objective led planning which ensures no child’s potential is capped. Resources and provisions which are available are continually adapted according to the needs of the children through a termly analysis of data looking at gaps and strength. This provides a bespoke environment for the children in the setting.

The EYFS curriculum has been developed to be consistent with the educational programmes set out in the EYFS and has links to the HCAT KS1 curriculum. Yearly overview plans are utilised effectively to map out skills to be delivered and taught across the year through pupil led learning. The curriculum is reviewed regularly to ensure that children receive a curriculum which is effective in preparing children for the next phase in their learning.

A comprehensive mathematics and literacy curriculum is taught through focussed carpet inputs and then embedded through the wider curriculum and through positive interactions in child initiated play using Objective Lead Planning. Childrens objectives are carefully planned and matched to the developmental age of pupils and based on firm assessment and understanding of pupils’ prior knowledge and gaps in learning or next steps

Children are taught to read through The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Phonics Programme. Synthetic phonics has been proven to be the most effective approach to developing early reading proficiency and at Worsborough Common we believe this is the best way to introduce children to the joy of reading.

Daily phonics sessions are introduced in Foundation Stage, with an initial focus on listening games and distinguishing between sounds. We understand that these skills are vital and should continue to be developed throughout KS1 and KS2. This skill develops children’s abilities to listen to, make, explore and talk about sounds. Children then cover Phase 2, 3 and 4 phonics. At the end of their time in foundation stage children should be able to read and understand simple sentences which include the sounds they have been taught. Our reading book system is matched to the phonic development of the children and so children can use their phonic skills to practise reading

Assessment in the Early Year

Assessment plays an important part in helping parents, carers and practitioners recognise children’s progress, understand their needs and plan activities and support. Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process. It involves practitioners knowing children’s level of achievement and their interests and then using this knowledge to shape teaching and learning experiences for each child. In their interactions with children, practitioners should respond to their own day-to-day observations about children’s progress and observations that parents and carers share. At Birdwell Objective-led planning is used to ensure pupils are making progress by observing and supporting play using scaffolding and questioning.

In the final term of FS2 the EYFS Profile is completed for each child. The Profile provides parents and carers, practitioners and teachers with a wellrounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their attainment against expected levels, and their readiness for year 1. The Profile reflects practitioners’ own knowledge and professional judgement of a child to inform discussions with parents and carers.

Year 1 teachers are given a copy of the Profile report and a short commentary on each child’s skills and abilities in relation to the three key characteristics of effective teaching and learning. These help inform a dialogue between reception and year 1 teachers about each child’s stage of development and learning needs and assist with the planning of activities in year 1.


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