Foundation Stage Curriculum
Learning in the Foundation Stage
When children start school in our Foundation Stage Class, they follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.
There is a strong focus on developing partnerships with parents in the learning process. The school makes on-entry assessments and uses records received from our Pre-School Group and other early years’ settings to provide important information on each child’s stage of development. During each term, the Foundation Stage Profile is used as an assessment tool to move the children forward in their learning. At the end of the Foundation Stage year, the Profile is used as a basis for each child’s school report.
At Sandringham & West Newton Primary School, our aim is to provide high quality education in the Early Years Foundation Stage which will make a positive contribution to children’s early development and learning and which will help them to become truly independent, life-long learners. We consider that the early years are critical in children’s development, and we believe that the foundation stage is about developing key learning skills such as listening, speaking, concentration, persistence and learning to work together and co-operate with other children. It is also about developing early communication, literacy and numeracy skills that will prepare young children for Key Stage 1 of the National Curriculum.
At the heart of our curriculum, is the development of the 17 early learning goals.A key part of the foundation stage curriculum is based around well-planned play, both indoors and outdoors. Play is an important way in which young children learn with enjoyment and challenge. Through play they can, explore, make sense of the world, practise and build up ideas and skills, learn self-control and the need for rules, be alone or with others, take risks and make mistakes, think creatively and imaginatively, communicate, investigate and express their fears or anxieties in a safe environment.
The early years foundation stage curriculum focuses on three prime areas which are most essential for children’s healthy development:
- Communication and language
- Personal, social and emotional development
An overview of the planning for the Reception class can be found here
In Reception we follow the Little Wandle phonics scheme. We teach the reading of phonemes and the writing of graphemes in the phases laid out in this scheme. We also introduce the Common Exception Words at the times prescribed. I teach phonics as the first lesson every day for approximately thirty minutes. We generally follow a pattern of introducing three new sounds each week and then we use the rest of the week to consolidate those sounds, sounds from previous weeks and Common Exception Words. Following these sessions we will often work one to one or in small groups to focus on the reading and writing of words using the sounds already taught. Children that are struggling more than others are currently receiving one to one intervention every Friday. Parents are involved along the journey and are regularly updated by email regarding their children’s progression or given suggestions as to how they can help with their child’s phonics education. Reading books are sent home around the end of the first half term. These first books have pictures only, to aid comprehension skills, and when the children are ready, and display signs that they understand the principles of blending the sounds they know to read words, then we send home the first books with words. The words in the reading scheme mirror the phonics phases that we teach. Books that go home will only contain words that have the sounds already taught in class or will be the CEW that cannot be blended but will also have been taught in class phonics lessons. CEW and some High Frequency Words will go home in book bags to practice, but, once again, these will only be the words that have been taught in class phonics lessons. Cursive handwriting is taught during these lessons, and, when each new sound is introduced, a sheet will go home for the children to practice. The children’s knowledge will be assessed at the end of each phase and any gaps will be revisited in the phonics lessons that follow.