EYFS specific curriculum statement

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At Marden Primary Academy, we place great value on the development of children as individuals and the development of knowledge, understanding and skills that will prepare them for future learning as well as skills for life. Our curriculum provides the cultural capital we know our youngest learners need for success. We nurture positive learning habits through the Characteristics of Effective Learning: Play and Exploration, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking. 

Our curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning, both from previous settings and their experiences at home. We work in partnership with parents and carers to provide the best possible start to our children’s learning journey at Marden Primary Academy, ensuring each individual reaches their full potential from their various starting points. 

Our curriculum has been designed to enable children to succeed through cooperative and collaborative learning principles. As such, there is a strong emphasis on the Prime Areas of Learning; Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language, including Oracy. At Marden Primary Academy, we recognise that oracy not only improves academic outcomes, but is a life skill to ensure success beyond school, in life and future employment. 

Our learning environments and warm, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration right from the start. We believe that high level engagement ensures high level attainment. We therefore provide an engaging curriculum that maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links through transdisciplinary themes. Our timetable is carefully considered and provides a balance between adult – led activities and child initiated play. Extended periods of play allows opportunities for sustained thinking and collaborative learning; essentially providing time for children to apply taught knowledge and skills to play experiences while following children’s ideas and interests. We foster a lifelong love of learning. 

By the end of the Reception year, our intent is to ensure that all children make at least good progress from their starting points and are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to transition seamlessly into Year 1.

Each half term, we introduce a new transdisciplinary theme to provide inspiration for learning, whilst providing the flexibility for children to follow their own interests and ideas through child agency. 

Children learn through a balance of child-initiated play and adult-directed activities. The timetable is carefully structured so that children have directed teaching during whole class inputs, teaching knowledge and skills. This is coupled with meaningful interactions with adults and children where learning is moved forward through modelling and skilful questioning through child initiated play. This means all adults within the setting can 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. 

The children are provided with extended periods 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 inside and outside the classroom and equal importance is given to learning in both areas.

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and is an integral part of our daily culture. Our aim is to encourage a love of reading right from the start. 

In the EYFS we carefully select 3 core texts every half term that align with our transdisciplinary theme. The aim is to expose children to a range of books that not only develop a love of reading, but have been chosen specifically to develop their oracy, vocabulary and comprehension. These three books will be embedded in our provision through activities, story sessions and on display for children to access independently. Through this, children begin to internalise new vocabulary, language patterns and begin to retell stories. 

There is cohesion and consistency with our approach to reading to align with the whole school approach. Through modelled reading and re-telling opportunities through twice daily storytimes and daily phonics sessions, employing tricky and high-frequency words, we ensure that the children are ready to continue their reading journey in Year 1 and beyond.

After rigorous research, Marden Primary Academy uses the Phonics International programme to ensure we have a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. This provides consistency across the school and daily opportunities for children to revisit, revise and build on existing knowledge. Early phonetic awareness is integral to our learning environments, both inside and outside, with emphasis being placed on listening skills and being attuned to the sounds around them and being ready to orally blend and segment. During the Reception Year, children are taught units 1 – 4; every day children will develop their reading, writing and letter formation skills throughout each session. 

The children are encouraged to read at home and are listened to regularly in school. They are given books, which are changed twice a week, that match their phonic knowledge in order for them to apply their learning with the aim of becoming successful, confident and fluent readers.

In Reception, we follow the White Rose Maths scheme of work. Through daily, focused teaching time; new mathematical concepts are taught along with knowledge, fluency and skills and concepts revisited and revised. High quality learning environments and meaningful interactions with adults, support children in developing mathematical thinking and discussion, independently. The children use concrete manipulatives and pictorial structures and representations which are then applied and recorded within their own child initiated learning time.

We are an IB PYP school. An integral experience of the PYP is transdisciplinary learning, where all areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum come together under one overarching theme.

  • Module 1 – Who we are:
    Our interests and experiences can make us who we are.
  • Module 2 – How we express ourselves:
    People communicate to share knowledge and experiences.
  • Module 3 – How the world works:
    Humans can explore their environment to understand the world around them.
  • Module 4 – Where we are in place and time:
    Shelters, for humans and animals, is a basic need.
  • Module 5 – How we organise ourselves:
    Families can support the local community.
  • Module 6 – Sharing the planet:
    Personal choices can impact the environment.

Through one central idea and planned lines of inquiry, all areas of learning come together to ensure children develop knowledge and skills through a meaningful and motivating curriculum.

Our curriculum is centred on the needs of all learners. All members of the Early Years team make ongoing observations and assessments to understand each child’s next steps. This information is used to plan for learning opportunities, ensuring progress is rapid and gaps in knowledge and skills are quickly addressed. Evidence is gathered through observations, photographs, pupil voice, work samples and contributions from parents.

Phonic assessments take place 3 times per year and information from the assessments are used to plan highly effective interventions to ensure learning moves forward. Assessments across all areas of learning are completed every half term which informs future learning priorities. This information is shared with parents in Module 2 and Module 4.

Our curriculum and delivery ensures all children make at least good progress from their starting point. Impact is evident through our successful transitions into Year 1. Our Early Years  staff have a good understanding of how ELG’s link to the National Curriculum, and through our robust planning and delivery across all subjects – both prime and specific – children leave the Early Years Foundation Stage with the skills, knowledge and confidence to continue their learning journey.