Our Early Years Curriculum
In our setting, children join us in the Reception class. They come from a variety of nurseries, early years settings and childminders. It is important that we quickly identify their early interests and needs, however, we are also focused on helping our children to reach important early milestones which will equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to access our curriculum, as they journey through our Federation Schools.
In building our curriculum, you will see that each curriculum area on this page, has identified key skills and knowledge for children in our Reception classes to achieve.
This is an important underlying pathway to build understanding, expectation and success within our Early Years Learners.
Our intent for our Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) at Bushey & Oxhey Infant School is to inspire, engage and enthuse our pupils to be active learners every day so that they become confident and independent thinkers. It is important that our children feel happy, safe, secure and cared for within an enabling and nurturing environment. Before children start at Bushey & Oxhey, our staff make regular visits to nursery settings throughout the year to help build valuable relationships with the children, making the transition to school seamless and enjoyable.
At Bushey & Oxhey School, we seek to take our place as an important part of the local community and we take part in many community events, giving children a sense of belonging and understanding of their locality. Our children also take place in many school trips and sporting events across the year, with a very strong link to Bushey Manor Junior School. Our high-quality provision areas, both indoors and outdoors, ignite curiosity and enthusiasm and promote the development of skills needed to learn, form relationships and thrive. Through skilled interactions, quality-first teaching inputs and an enabling environment, we aim to support children’s love of reading, writing and number. High aspirations are instilled in our pupils from a very early age and pupils’ self-belief and ownership of learning allow them to take risks and develop resilience.
Our aim on leaving Reception is in line with our school mission statement, 'Educating Today's Children For Tomorrow'. We can't imagine what the world of work will look like for these children, but we can surmise the skills, attributes and qualities which will aid them to make their mark, be responsible citizens, contribute positively to society and be successful. Therefore, in our setting, the key areas in which we want our Reception children to excel and embed are to be:
Our approach is implemented through our play-based curriculum which follows the EYFS curriculum. All areas of the EYFS curriculum are followed and planned for ‘in the moment’ to ensure there is a broad, balanced and progressive learning environment and curriculum. The children will learn new skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate understanding through the seven areas of the EYFS curriculum:
Our Prime Areas are of greatest importance in EYFS, in particular, due to the assessed needs of our children in recent years, the areas of Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language.
Our dynamic curriculum is planned and regularly adapted to meet the needs of the children with the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning at it's core: Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking. This supports our children’s learning and development in preparation for Key Stage One as well as encouraging the children to explore, take an active part in their learning, and use their creative and critical thinking through a range of purposeful and engaging activities, both indoors and outdoors.
The children particularly enjoy our Forest School sessions at Bushey Manor School, where they explore nature, develop their scientific skills and take part in orienteering sessions. We love to learn through play and our activities are generally based around the children’s interests and fascinations, so that children have ownership of their learning. Play is enhanced through meaningful interactions with highly effective and very experienced practitioners to ensure that the development of the whole child is supported and extended. Each term our planned curriculum (attached below) focuses upon BIG questions to ensure a pathway to help us assess that key skills are in place, whilst allowing for skills of curiosity, investigation, resilience and research to develop and take hold at the right pace for each child. However, we also plan more individually and responsively to meet the emerging needs, interests and questions from our children. All adults in EYFS are highly skilled at furthering the children’s development through open ended questioning. The individual learning journals we build with you, our parents, contribute towards more tailored planning of experiences. These journals, and parent contributions, help staff to facilitate opportunities and extend learning, within the moment as well as in personal experiences, that are unique to each child.
The provision both indoors and outdoors encourages independence so that children can access and select a range of creative materials. We also promote a language rich environment which enables children to communicate and express themselves effectively, and as a result grow in self-confidence. Adaptations to these areas are regularly assessed by our skilled team, focusing on what the skills and knowledge the children need to develop, what they are currently curious about, what embedded learning have we observed in this area and what can be changed in a way to exploit the learning and interests of the children.
IMPACT - ongoing reflection, development and evolution of our provision and practice, matched to needs, assessments and observations, as evidenced in these key planning and curriculum documents:
Plan, Do, Review - Action Planning and School Evaluation of Impact and Progress:
Curriculum Overview - Key Skills and Knowledge
Phonics In Reception
The school uses 'The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds' revised progression approach to the teaching of Phonics.
In both of our Federation Schools, and in our Reception classes, Reading is at the heart of everything we do. Our English and Reading curriculum has a vast selection of rich and inspirational stories at its heart; we ensure that our children have lots of opportunities to read in lots of different contexts. We believe that being a fluent and avid reader opens doors for children to the wider world and gives them the tools they need to be lifelong learners, supporting us in our mission of 'Educating Today's Child For Tomorrow'.
We believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We briefly review the foundations for phonics that children have largely covered with their Nursery and pre-school providers at the start of the Autumn Term. In Reception, we follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression. The progression ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through our Federation schools.
Every teacher and teaching assistant in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress and a consistent approach across the school. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
Phonics enables your child to learn to read quickly by teaching sounds and tricky words in a systematic order. This means that children are able to start reading words and sentences quickly – even as soon as learning their first four sounds! Children learn that sounds can be represented by graphemes (letters) and to blend sounds together to read words.
Throughout the year, your child's class teacher will be running informative workshops to keep you up to date on your child's progress and to inform you on how you can best support your child with their reading at home. The Little Wandle website has some useful videos for parents, which you can find on the link at the bottom of this page.
Reception and Year 1 children will take fully decodable Big Cats reading books home to further practise the skills learnt at school. These books are matched to each child’s phonics ability and are chosen by their teachers to ensure that children are reading books of an appropriate level. They may take books home more than once, and the focus for these phonics books is immersion and understanding of the application of their phonic skills, whilst building confidence and fluency.
In addition each child visits the school library every week to select a book of their choice to share at home. This book will probably not be fully decodable for your child so the expectation is not for the child to read this book themselves. We believe strongly that children will develop a love of reading through experiencing success when reading at home and having quality story time with a wide range of books.
The best way to help your child achieve well in reading, and indeed across the curriculum, is to READ TO THEM. Re-read old favourite books. Listen to audio books together. Talk about characters, what happened in the story, what might happen next. Read a few lines and then get your child to re-read/copy what you have read - model intonation, character voices and use of punctuation. Try to never let 'hearing your child read' become a mundane or routine chore - your child will pick up on that. Families who manage this well, set a routine time each evening and make it as long or as short as the mood dictates.
Listen to your read and share and discuss a variety of reading materials as often as you can. Throughout school, high quality books and other reading resources in the classrooms, along with special events such as author visits, help to inspire and motivate children to read. Parents are encouraged to hear their child read every day, or as often as possible and return their reading bag to school on the prescribed days.
At the end of Year 1, all our children take a national test in phonics. We support our children to do well in this. By Year 2 outcomes for all our children in reading are consistently above the national average in all benchmarks.
Children read in as many situations as possible, not just in reading lessons. Reading takes place in all lessons, using books, subtitles, environmental print, display boards and electronic devices (to name but a few).