St Cuthbert's Catholic Academy

Philosophy for Teaching Early Years Foundation Stage

At BEBCMAT, our EYFS department follows the four guiding principles to shape practice in early years settings.
These are:

  • every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
  • children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
  • children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
  • importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates.

In the Early Years we strive to promote high standards of early years education by providing inclusive, stimulating and caring learning environments which encourage and challenge children to make informed choices and controlled risk thus building their confidence and flourishing uniqueness. Learning is supported through rich, concrete, first-hand experiences and opportunities; building children’s prior knowledge so that they can make sense of the world around them and create connections between key skills and concepts.

We strive to give our children the best possible start in life so that they are equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to not only succeed in their education but to thrive throughout adult life. We believe that strong, trusting and supportive relationships with parents and families provide the foundations for children’s talents to grow. Parents are encouraged to be involved in their child’s learning throughout the Early Years so that partnerships between home and school ensure children’s successes and achievements can be celebrated and supported. This partnership is fostered in a range of ways such as home visits, parent’s evenings, Tapestry posts, Class DoJo posts and often conversations at an EYFS door.

Our staff team understands that their role as ‘the adult’ is to encourage children to communicate confidently, collaborate and respect others through positive and caring relationships. EYFS practitioners develop secure and trusting relationships with the children in their care by engaging with them whilst in the provision and through guided learning opportunities. Staff understand when to move learning forward whilst children are engaged in play and when to stop and observe. Through careful observation and intervention, staff can capture teachable moments to make a difference to the children’s progress and learning. Children are encouraged to apply problem solving and independent skills within purposeful events and everyday routines such as, getting themselves dressed, writing their name for self-registration, applying mathematical skills when serving themselves for snack and tidying up the classroom.
Staff understand that children’s learning is not linear and therefore the curriculum can be adapted to their strengths and needs. Our Early Years curriculum is focused upon particular themes across the academic year and is flexible to the needs and interests of the children. Each theme is supported by carefully selected texts, resources and learning opportunities which make links to all areas of the EYFS curriculum and its educational programmes. The skills, vocabulary and knowledge developed within each theme provide the foundation for future learning opportunities as children progress into Year 1 and access further curriculum subjects.

Children are taught directly during carpet times either as a whole group or in small groups and are provided with both guided learning opportunities led by an adult or through provision based play. Indoor and outdoor continuous provision is enhanced with purposeful and stimulating resources which enable children to apply and embed their learning from direct teaching, as well as creating open-ended learning opportunities for children to explore their own fascinations and interests.

Communication and Language development is a high priority for all of our children. To develop children’s oracy, staff use clear, spoken language in order to: immerse children in a broad vocabulary, develop clear grammatical structures and to provide a model for quality interactions. They develop children’s spoken language by using a range of strategies including repeating spoken words and expanding sentences to add more detail. Children who speak English as an additional language are supported by multi-lingual support assistants who have dedicated time spent in the Early Years provision supporting language acquisition and understanding. Those children who are identified as needing additional speech and language intervention are supported by both EYFS practitioners and a support assistant trained in speech and language therapy.

Staff use their knowledge of the skills and strengths of each child in their care to assess and review learning thus ensuring children continue to progress through the curriculum; leaving no child behind. Children who are not working within the expectations are identified by staff and interventions are put into place to support them. This may mean signposting to speech and language support, revisiting key concepts using a different approach, additional adult support or involving parents. Practitioners also record key learning milestones using the online learning journal app, ‘Tapestry’. At the end of Reception children are assessed against the ELGs (Early Learning Goals) and nursery children are supported along their learning journey using the new Development Matter guidance.