There are seven areas of learning and development in the EYFS curriculum and they are all important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. The three prime areas are:
Communication and language;
Personal, social and emotional development.
There are also four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied:
Understanding the world;
Expressive arts and design.
Within the seven areas we provide many creative activities and experiences for children, which involve: playing and exploring; active learning and creating and thinking critically.
Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Literacy involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces and measures.
Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role play and design and technology.
EARLY LEARNING GOALS
The level of progress children are expected to attain by the end of the EYFS is defined by the early learning goals. Details of these goals are included in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, a copy of which is available in the school office or can be found online.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP)
Each child’s level of development is assessed against the early learning goals. Teachers will tell you whether your child is meeting expected levels of development, or if they are exceeding expected levels, or not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’). This is the EYFS Profile.
KEY STAGE 1
English is a core subject in the National Curriculum. It is of central importance because it holds the key to all other areas of learning as well as being a subject in its own right. English consists of four strands. These are reading, writing, (including spelling and handwriting) and speaking and listening and at Woodlands we aim to build strong basic skills so children can apply them in our creative curriculum.
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
This involves: talking, explaining and reasoning (including philosophy). We think it is essential to develop children’s ability to talk about and explain their ideas with their ‘talk partner’ and to collaborate with others in small groups and to discuss ideas with adults.
We know that if children can develop their ideas through talking with others about a subject, then they will naturally be able to write about those ideas too. However, children also need to develop the basic skills of writing:
Holding their pencil correctly (using ‘froggy fingers’).
Having good fine motor control.
Knowing the correct way to form letters.
Being able to write the sounds they hear in the words.
We have a programme to develop all these skills which start in our nursery classes and are built on systematically each year.
The Deep Sea Spellers scheme develops the children’s spelling of key words so that they are proficient at spelling them in their writing.
We use a synthetic phonic scheme to teach reading called Read, Write Inc. It is a very successful and systematic way to teach reading and all children make very good progress using this approach. We hold information evenings for parents about phonics and Read, Write Inc. so parents can support their child’s reading at home. We also use Phonic Bugs, which is another synthetic phonic scheme, to teach reading.
In addition we teach children to read, on sight, the key words to reading– and parents can play games at home with children to help them learn too. Our reading books give children practise with these words. Information sessions are regularly held in the autumn term so that parents and carers can be equally involved in their child’s learning of reading and writing.
At Woodlands great emphasis is placed on developing the understanding of mathematics concepts and language, and we follow a programme called Inspire Maths. The emphasis is on practical activities with children talking and explaining their thinking with partners and their class. It is built on the proven approach to teaching mathematics in Singapore, recognised globally as one of the most impactful ways to teach and learn maths.
The programme follows a concrete – pictorial – abstract approach which ensures deep understanding of mathematical concepts during individual lessons and over time.
Carefully-designed spiral progression in the programme builds up knowledge over time, enabling all children to become confident mathematicians.
Inspire maths guided sessions promote discussion and exploration, with a strong emphasis on mathematical language, speaking in full sentences, and reasoning (by children consistently being required to explain how they know).
Frequently Asked Questions about Inspire Maths can be found by clicking here.
Young children have a fascination for discovering the world about them and love to ask questions about how and why things happen. They are natural scientists and at Woodlands we build on this natural enquiry approach when developing our science topics.
Our school grounds include a Wildlife area. Children go to Forest School in Bills Wood. Children know that science is exciting.
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY
Design and technology activities within our topics give children the opportunity to work with a range of materials and equipment and learn how to use them appropriately and safely. Children learn to think imaginatively and talk about what they like and dislike when designing and making products such as wheeled vehicles, puppets and homes.
Our computing curriculum reflects the three aspects of the subject: computer science, information technology and digital literacy. Programming is an important part of this curriculum.
E-safety is also an important part of our curriculum and children learn how to use the internet safely and how to communicate via e-mail safely.
HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
This area of our curriculum stimulates children’s curiosity to investigate the world and their place within it. We have topics about schools in Africa and Nepal and this helps children learn about similarities, differences and diversity.
Engaging children in questions about people and events in the past helps them begin to
understand how events that happened long ago or in other countries can affect our lives
today and how we can help shape the future.
At Woodlands, children begin to learn about the impact of their actions on the planet.
We aim to provide musical experiences, which involve all children as active participants,
creating and controlling sounds and listening and responding to a wide range of music. Our music teaching is supported by the ‘Charanga’ music scheme. Children learn to play the
ocarina in Year 1 and the recorder in Year 2 lessons. Children regularly sing and perform during school assemblies and Year 2 visit a local retirement home to sing carols to the residents at Christmas. We have drumming workshops in Key Stage 1 and EYFS children follow a programme called ‘Beat Baby’ which develops their sense of beat and rhythm.
ART AND DESIGN
Throughout their time in school we encourage children to develop their creativity and imagination by exploring a range of materials and processes. Pupils use colour, form, texture and pattern to communicate what they see, feel and think. Pupils explore the ideas and meanings in the work of contemporary artists and designers and the work of artists in different times and cultures. We encourage the children to see themselves as artists and display their work around school for everyone to enjoy. All children spend time with a professional potter every year.
Children develop physical skills and the ability to use the space imaginatively and creatively and work with others to perform dances, confidently and with expression. They learn about and experience different dance styles, linked to school topics. So for example Year 2 created a contemporary fire dance when studying the Great Fire of London.
Children take part in role plays with their friends and with teachers. Drama conventions are used across the curriculum. At Christmas all the children take part in school productions or carol concerts which they perform for parents, and Year 2 perform in an end of year production in their last term at Woodlands.
We aim to develop children’s competence and confidence within a range of activities via games, gymnastics and dance. We believe that our PE lessons are important not just for growth in physical skilfulness and development but also for the opportunities they give for children to be creative, competitive and to face up to different challenges as individuals and in groups and teams.
We hold an annual sports day in the summer term and adventurous activities. Each class has one lesson of PE each week. After school clubs and lunchtime clubs enhance the PE curriculum. This area of learning promotes children’s understanding of the importance of leading healthy, balanced lifestyles.
As a school we value social and emotional aspects of learning to develop children’s feelings. This also includes work on friendships and we help children to learn how to manage their emotions. Children learn that being healthy includes thinking about the food we eat, exercise, hygiene, rest and relaxation.
Children also learn about right and wrong, fairness and unfairness, justice and injustice, respect for others and for those with different faiths and beliefs. Their growing understanding helps them to make sense of the world and prepares them to play an active role as informed responsible citizens. In our school, children are encouraged to become school councillors, eco monitors, playground buddies, lunchtime helpers, school sports captains and librarians.
Religious Education provides our pupils with knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other religious traditions. Children explore the ways that belief influences people in their behaviour and outlook and we encourage the children to look for meaning and purpose to enhance their own spiritual and moral growth.
All pupils take part in a daily assembly led by members of staff or groups of children or visitors. When a class leads the school assembly, the parents of those pupils are most
welcome to join us. Parents are also invited at Harvest, Christmas and for other
Parents have the right to withdraw their child from any part of religious education and worship. Requests for withdrawal should be made in writing to the Headteacher. Classteachers will set appropriate activities for the children to complete during this time. A member of staff will supervise them.
All children take part in Forest School sessions.
Forest School activities take place in Bills Woods, which is just a short walk from school.
Children really enjoy Forest School activities and grow in confidence and self-esteem as they work in their outdoor classroom.