Foundation Stage Unit
Possibility, Enrichment, Emotional Awareness, Community
In the Foundation Stage Unit (FSU) we believe that children’s early learning experiences deeply affect their future physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. We understand that building secure relationships with children and their families at the early stage is key to understanding how we can maximise learning opportunities for each and every child in our setting. We are fully committed to taking the time to understand and follow children’s interests and provide a rich curriculum that supports learning, consolidates and deepens knowledge and ensures that children achieve their next steps. Both our indoor and outdoor provision is carefully planned and demonstrates a thorough knowledge and understanding of the way in which our children learn. We aim to prepare our children to achieve the Early Learning Goals at the end of FS2 and ensure that all children have made good or better progress from their individual starting points. Our ultimate goal is to prepare our children with the knowledge and skills needed for the next stage of their learning journey in KS1. We know that what our children learn in these vital first years of life will stay with them forever and that optimising children’s early education is the best investment we can make in ensuring their future success.
We follow the EYFS curriculum and ensure that the learning opportunities and experiences we provide are clearly linked to both the Prime (Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development) and Specific (Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts) areas of learning.
We begin each year by looking at the individual needs of our children and their different starting points and with this information in mind, we are then able to plan a range of broad and balanced learning experiences. We place huge importance on the development of children’s vocabulary and early reading skills, ensuring staff are skilled in assessing early speech and language development and have the expertise to support children in being able to communicate their thoughts and ideas and explore the meaning of new words. We use our knowledge of the Characteristics of Effective Learning to ensure that we plan appropriate activities and organise our provision in a way that demonstrates a clear understanding of the way in which our children are motivated to learn. We know that all children are unique, with their own individual fascinations and it is for this reason that we believe a balance of child and teacher led activities is crucial in order for our children to become fully engaged and excited by their learning. We feel that effective provision both indoors and out is based on a clear understanding of what we want our children to learn and how we plan to achieve this. We want our children to be independent in accessing quality play-based experiences that encourage them to notice, question and wonder. We use a combination of paper and online learning journals to celebrate children’s achievements, record observations, assess and track children’s progress. Importantly, we have a clear understanding that when assessing children against the Early Learning Goals, there will be many children who are awarded the same level but may be working at differing levels within this range and therefore have varied needs and requirements. Regular parent/carer meetings and daily communication ensures that they are kept up to date with their children’s development and progress and are fully aware of how they can continue to support their children’s learning outside of school. Our online learning journals offer the opportunity for parents/carers and family members to share information about their children’s news and achievements outside of school, providing us with a well-rounded picture of our children. Effective communication between FSU and KS1 staff is crucial to achieve an effective transition for children and to plan accordingly for the next stage of their learning journey so we carry out regular internal moderation sessions and staff attend external meetings and training to ensure we feel confident with our judgements and that these judgements are consistent and inline with a range of other settings. In addition to regular formative observations, staff input summative data on a termly basis meaning our children’s progress is monitored carefully and the impact of actions are evaluated.
Our FSU Curriculum allows our children to make good or better progress during their time in Foundation Stage. Children are able to develop the knowledge and skills needed to continue to make at least good progress in Key Stage 1 and beyond.
We teach our children to believe in themselves, belong to the school and wider community and aspire to become anything they wish to.