Welcome to our exciting early years
Why do we teach what we teach?
At Holy Spirit we want children to enjoy their first educational experiences. For this, we provide a safe, calm and caring environment where children can learn and succeed in all areas of their development. In EYFS we recognise the value of indoor and outdoor learning experiences and our curriculum and environment reflects this. For example, in our EYFS the children have free access to a wide range of resources in our continuous provision areas that helps nurture their independence, ‘can do’ attitude and creativity.
As a staff, we analysis what the children can already do and set ambitious next steps. We then take these next steps and develop planning that also incorporates the children’s interests. We also value the diverse, cultural backgrounds of our children and we include in our curriculum design opportunities to celebrate this through our ‘Where in the World’ days. This gives all our children the chance to learn and experience the traditions of other cultures.
Our aim is that the children leave Reception with a love of learning, growing independence and are prepared to start the national curriculum in Year 1.
How do we teach what we teach?
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have rigorous directed teaching in English, maths and phonics everyday with regular circle time sessions to focus on PSED. These sessions are followed by group work where children work with a member of staff to develop their individual targets. Working with the children in this way provides the teacher the opportunity to systematically check for understanding, identify and respond to misconceptions quickly and provide real-time verbal feedback which results in a strong impact on the acquisition of new learning.
Children are provided with plenty of time to engage in ‘exploration’ throughout the variety of experiences carefully planned to engage and challenge them in the provision. The curriculum is planned for the inside and outside spaces of our setting and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development including understanding the world and expressive art and design as well as to promote sustained thinking and active learning.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. We plan our coverage of books and nursery rhymes to ensure that our children have a secure understanding of 26 stories (all of different genres) and 42 nursery rhymes by the time they leave our setting. Books inspire our planning and provide a focus for learning opportunities across the prime areas of learning. Children also follow the letters and sounds programme in their daily phonic sessions.
We also take a mastery approach to mathematics and use the White Rose planning as a guide. The principles of this teaching is base on concrete, pictorial and abstract cycles of learning.
How do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
Our curriculum has been created to meet the needs of our children, including our disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, so we spend time looking at and evaluating how children are learning. This is achieved through talking to children, looking at their work, observing their learning experiences and analysing data and progress by class, groups and individuals. Every member of staff uses ongoing observational assessment to identify children’s starting points and plan experiences which ensure progress. This information is shared with our parents and carers via the tapestry app.
Our curriculum and its delivery ensure that children make good progress. Children in our early years, on average, arrive with much lower starting points than national. During their time in our EYFS, children make rapid progress so that we meet the national expectation for GLD at the end of the year. Pupils also make good progress toward their age-related expectations before transitioning into Year One. We believe our high standards are due to the enriched play-based exploration alongside the rigour of assessment and teaching the children have as they move through the early years – a rich diet of balanced learning experiences is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children.
We work extremely hard to continually develop our learning environment so that it is the very best it can be for the children. Take a look at some of our indoor and outdoor areas.
Parents as Partners
This year we have introduced tapestry. Our parents are able to use this to access their child's learning journey from the comfort of their own home. The app is used to keep parents up to date with what their child has been learning and their next steps. Parents are also informed of upcoming events in school via the app too.
'Leaf a note'
We love to hear about those 'wow' moments that happen at home so we encourage our families to 'leaf' a note on our tree so they can share how proud they are of their child and their achievements.
We work very closely with our families and have introduced VIP weeks for children who we wish to observe closely that week. We ask parents to share what interests their child has and to identify any significant happenings at home.
Mouse Club has been introduced this year to help the children with transition into their new setting along with getting them ready for life at school. On each child's home visit, the children were given their own mouse and their job was to get mouse ready for school. They had to train him to be potty trained, show him how to get dressed independently and how to eat with a knife and folk. Our parents were really supportive with this and we love to welcome the children and their mice into school each day. We have now started holding mouse workshops, which our parents join in with. Take a look below at some of the events we have hosted.
Mouse Tea Party - How Mouse Learns
We held a tea party for mouse and his family. The children loved showing their grown-ups around our setting and they had lots of fun joining in the different activities such as making playdough, playing in the outdoor area and creating outfits for mouse. Below you will find some pictures from the event.
What our parents thought...
"It was a lovely morning spent with the children and a nice way to see how your child gets on in the classroom. The mouse club is a great idea."
"I thought it was a great idea to have a mouse party and get the children and parents involved in activities together. We enjoyed them all, particularly outdoor play. We look forward to making a nest with mouse at home and playing with the playdough."
"I have really enjoyed the learn and share session, it has shown me how confident Sophia has become in an environment away from home. She was very happy to show me around her classroom and joining in all the activities. The learn and share session has given me insight into how my child is doing at nursery. Thank you. Keep up the good work."
30 Hour Offer
Here at Holy Spirit we now offer 30 hour free child care inline with the new government scheme. If you are a working parent you may qualify for this. If this is something you are interested in, take a look at the following website to see if you qualify and follow the steps to apply for the funding.