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Early Years

At SMSJ, our EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) is made up of a morning Nursery class and two Reception classes.

Our EYFS Philosophy

 

At SMSJ we believe every child is special, learning in different ways and at different rates. Every child has the opportunity to develop in all areas of learning, becoming both competent and independent learners. We are committed to developing positive relationships with our children and their families. We seek to give our children the very best start in education by creating enabling environments, where play is valued and where they have fun and learn through exciting and challenging experiences.

The Early Years Curriculum

 

The Early Years Foundation Stage provides children with the opportunity to develop the foundations for future learning. In Nursery and Reception we learn through play. Play is an essential part of children’s lives and helps them to learn about themselves, others and the world around them. Play helps children learn important skills such as communication, problem solving and turn taking. At SMSJ we encourage our children to be independent in their learning and choose activities and resources themselves. Alongside the play, all children take part in adult focused activities which are usually done in small groups. These are planned to meet the needs and interests of the children to develop and extend their learning.

 

We follow the EYFS curriculum which consists of 7 areas of learning and development.

     3 Prime Areas:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

  • Communication and Language

  • Physical Development

     4 Specific Areas:

  • Literacy

  • Maths

  • Understanding the World

  • Expressive Arts and Design.

 

Your child will have the opportunity to explore all these areas every week, through independent learning and adult led activities. The 7 areas are further divided into strands and age bands. The booklet below outlines expectations for each age group and provides some ways you can support your child at home.

 

Alongside these areas of development there are also the Characteristics of Effective Learning which describe how your child learns best.

 

The 3 Characteristics of Effective Learning are:

  1. Playing and Exploring - Engagement - Finding out and exploring, playing with what they know and being willing to ‘have a go’.

  2. Active Learning - Motivation - Being involved and concentrating, keep trying, enjoying achieving what they set out to do.

  3. Creating and thinking critically - Thinking - Having their own ideas, making links, choosing ways to do things.

 

You will see these areas of learning and characteristics referred to in your child’s Learning Journey.

 

 

What to expect when (see below) is a useful booklet that explains the stages of development, what to look out for and how you can support your child at home.

What to Expect, When - A Guide for Parents

Reception Early Learning Goals

 

When your child finishes Reception in July you will be given a report which tells you whether or not your child has met the Early Learning Goal (ELG) in each area of learning. The expectations are shown in the following document:

The Early Learning Goals

Nursery Curriculum Overview 2016-2017

Reception Curriculum Overview 2016-2017

Learning Journeys

 

At SMSJ each child in the EYFS has their own Learning Journey which celebrates his or her experiences and learning. The Learning Journeys will contain examples of work your child has done independently, photos of things they have done in the classroom or outside, observations of them playing and learning, notes of things they have said etc.

 

We value the parents contributions to their child’s learning and welcome any contributions to your child’s Learning Journal. Feel free to write us a note, have a chat to a member of staff or bring in a photo, drawing or souvenir to share with us. We also love to hear about events, activities and achievements which happen at home as these help us to learn more about your child.

Outdoor Learning

 

We have recently developed our outdoor learning environments in Nursery and Reception so that we can further extend our learning outside of the classroom. Physical Development is a prime aspect of our curriculum and we ensure that children have regular access to the outdoor areas to develop the necessary skills. Outdoor learning is vital and we aim to be outdoors whatever the weather so please make sure your child always has a suitable coat in school. In addition to this time outdoors, children take part in a PE session every week.

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