We want our children to leave pre school with a strong foundation in all aspects of the EYFS framework so that they can access learning at an age-appropriate level when starting school. Our curriculum has been designed to cover all the skills, knowledge and understanding as set out in the EYFS framework and therefore it is broad and ambitious for all our children, but we have also identified the potential barriers which may prevent some of our children from achieving this aim. These potential barriers underpin our curriculum offer and we address these broad aspects across the setting at all times.
The curriculum drivers that we focus upon and which underpin our curriculum are:
Communication: We want our children to become eloquent orators, speaking with confidence and fluency in a variety of situations. We believe that helping our youngest children find their voice and engaging in back-and-forth conversations is as important as them becoming avid readers or great writers and we work to broaden their vocabulary and encourage talk in all areas of learning.
Imagination: It is vital that we nurture the natural curiosity of our children enabling them to become independent in thought and actions and encouraging them to imagine and enquire. We give our children opportunities to think imaginatively and critically, to solve problems and make choices so that they can construct and answer a range of questions.
We acknowledge that our children come into pre school with a different range of experiences in learning and play and so we believe that an important aspect of our curriculum is to provide our children with experiences and opportunities to support them to progress and succeed from their starting point. We believe that the essential cultural capital knowledge that children require can be summarized as ‘new’. We plan to give our children access to new experiences within role play, new music, new language, new books, new instruments, new artists, new people, and new ideas. With in depth knowledge of our children we will provide them with opportunities to be curious, explore and try things that are ‘new’ to them.
We know that young children do not learn in a linear way, but we do know how we want our curriculum to support our children and therefore we have created a set of end points which allow us to plan progressive steps to support and our children to reach our curriculum aims.
Our planning is intentional although it is adapted in response to the wishes and emergent needs of particular children or groups of children., We integrate pedagogical approaches and strike a daily balance of child- initiated and adult lead learning using continuous play both indoors and outdoors, small group activities and genuine free play. We use a topic-based approach that incorporates intentional teaching as well as children’s own choices, explorations, and enquiries. We organise our intentional learning using a cumulative model: where key aspects of the curriculum are mapped into a sequential plan to ensure that the children’s learning builds on secure prior knowledge.
Our pre school practitioners receive on-going training to support their understanding of each aspect of the EYFS framework as well as an annual programme of training to ensure that our provision reflects best practice. Our practitioners are highly skilled professionals and can plan and deliver a high -quality curriculum for our children.
We have developed long-term curriculum maps, which identify the overall learning themes and then translated these into medium term planning maps which identify the experiences and opportunities that will be offered to the children to support them to meet our termly end points. Short term planning details the day to day offer that is provided in the setting but our short-term planning is flexible and is amended in-line with the children’s emergent interests and observations.
We support all our children across all areas of the EYFS and use different aspects of EYFS to support as much of the curriculum as possible so that we allow for over learning, repetitive practice, and revisiting learning in different contexts. We have designed a daily timetable that enables a balance of child-initiated play, adult directed short group sessions and adult interaction to structure the day. One of our curriculum drivers is communication so each week we purposefully include twice daily adult read story sessions of two of our core books, a daily nursery rhyme from our core set and a short daily taught vocabulary session focusing on two specific words for the week. We use the Letters and Sounds programme to teach short, small group daily phonic sessions.
The EYFS framework is broad and encompasses a range of skills and understanding so we have mapped out clear end points for each EYFS area of learning and broken these down into progressive steps, so we are able to identify those children who are falling outside of their EYFS journey. Additional support altered provision and resources can then be provided to particular children if they are observed to fall outside of the broad end points.
We believe that our curriculum has done its job if we have prepared our children fully for the next stage of their education and they carry with them the knowledge and skills they need to be successful leaners in a reception class. But we also want our children to have the motivation and interest to sustain their concentration to a task to completion and we want our children to continue even when things get a little tricky. We want our children to have a love of books and the confidence in their communication skills to ‘talk’.