Kay Redfield Jamison
At Willow Tree Primary School, we believe we provide our children with a curriculum that is designed to be flexible, engaging and exciting so that their unique needs, passions and interests are embraced. Every child is an exceptional individual, and we celebrate and respect differences within our diverse school and community. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge and values that equips our children for their future successes, alongside enabling environments. We inspire our children to become accomplished, happy individuals, ready to reach their full potential in an ever-changing world.
We aim to achieve our curriculum intent by providing high quality teaching and learning in a language rich environment. We recognise that each child is unique and we provide a curriculum which is based upon their interests, accessible to them and links to the world around them, which they know and understand.
The principles that guide the work in the EYFS are grouped into four themes:
We teach a wide range of foundation subjects across the EYFS through the 7 areas of learning in the Early Years Curriculum:
We ensure activities support the Characteristics of Effective Learning to ensure learning takes place. These are:
Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things, and have a go.
Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements. Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
We recognise children in EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside. Our outdoor areas are used all year round and in most weather conditions. We use our children’s interests and curiosities to supplement our topics every year.
During independent learning we plan an environment that allows both staff and children to have resources they need at their fingertips. Pre-planned activities which link to themes and carpet time learning opportunities are given in addition to continuous provision for those children unsure of where their curiosity will take them next. This is enhanced by high quality interactions between staff and children.
Early Years children have lots of opportunities to develop communication and language through structured circle time and begin to develop the Philosophy for Children in the Reception year.
Stories are at the heart of our curriculum, sharing them at carpet sessions, in the environment and at home. When teaching phonics, our children follow the Read, Write Inc. program, so that they meet good outcomes for becoming confident readers and writers.
We follow the Maths Mastery approach in Reception, with an emphasis on number and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and acquisition of mathematical language. Teaching sessions include the Mastering Number Program developed by the NCETM, which continues through KS1. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration.
Nursery pupils begin to develop these key skills during daily maths carpet sessions where they explore sorting, quantities, shape, number and counting awareness. These early mathematical experiences are carefully designed to help pupils remember the content they have been taught and to support them with integrating their new knowledge across the breadth of their experiences and into larger concepts.
Our curriculum needs 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, observing their learning experiences, and analysing data and progress by year group, class, groups and individuals. Every member of staff uses ongoing observational assessment to identify children’s starting points and plan experiences which ensure progress. 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 good progress toward their age-related expectations before transitioning into Year One. We work to ensure our children develop into confident and positive learners, who are excited by new challenges and not put off by difficulty.
We endeavour to ensure that our children leave the EYFS ready to move with confidence into KS1 and their lifelong learning journey.