In the Early Years at Malpas Alport Primary School we believe that every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. We want every child to feel valued, nurtured and happy to come to school. We want to create great experiences of childhood and for each child to enjoy being young. All members of the Early Years team share the same ethos to create a calm and caring environment for the children to be in, therefore enabling them to feel safe, respected and confident to enjoy their learning. The EYFS underpins the school’s mission statement; Where Creativity it at the Heart of Learning. We intend that our broad, creative curriculum educates all children in knowledge, skills and understanding in order for them to be creative, curious and independent learners interested in everything they do and that they believe in themselves and their abilities. We believe this supports the development of the three characteristics of effective learning.
We aim to provide a balance of both child-led learning and curriculum focused topics which help children to make connections across their new knowledge and experiences, and to encourage them to delve into and explore things which interest them. We want our children to enjoy being both in the outdoor and indoor environments, learning to care for their environment and taking responsibility for it, and to play in it creatively and imaginatively.
We believe that play is an integral part of learning, so we aim to put play at the centre of our early years curriculum. We place high importance on developing a language rich setting through modelling and developing social interactions. We have created inviting reading areas to encourage a love of books and a quiet space to share books with friends and adults.
It is important to us that all children in the provision are safe and we guide the children with choices to help them develop this using our behaviour system Ready, Respectful and Safe.
We understand that each child is unique and work in close partnership with parents and carers. We believe that our children need to be happy and settled in order to learn well and to get the most out of their school life. Therefore, it is essential to have a strong and trusting partnership between home and school.
We aim to provide a smooth transition starting in Pre-School onto Reception, and Reception onto KS1 by providing children with additional time and visits so that they develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to succeed throughout their education.
Our curriculum is taught through topics which are enriched with real resources, trips and visitors. Topics are supported by quality key texts. These are chosen carefully to encourage children's speech, language and communication development. All planning, however, is flexible and responsive to children’s needs, so plans can be changed and adapted depending on children’s interests. We use the EYFS Statutory Framework (DfE September 2021) and Development Matters (DfE July 2021) to identify next steps for each child to deepen, challenge and extend their learning. Planned activities allow for the characteristics of effective learning to be demonstrated and embedded. Our planning, informed by observations and knowledge of the children, builds on and extends what children know and can do. It is flexible so that children’s interests may lead us down a different path. It takes into account children with additional needs.
Pupils learn through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities and challenges. The weekly Reception timetables are carefully structured so that children have directed teaching in English, Mathematics and Phonics every day. We also ensure regular Circle Time/PSHE sessions using the whole school initiatives; SCARF, ‘myHappyminds’ and ‘Building Learning Power’ (metacognition). We introduce different learning powers and link them to the characteristics of effective learning. During continuous provision times, we encourage the children to use the ‘plan-do-review’ cycle. This cycle enables children to make independent choices, plan how to manage their time during a session and assess their experiences at the end of the session.
We create a ‘language rich’ environment through the use of songs, nursery rhymes, poems, stories and by providing time for quality interactions between adults and children as well as between peers. We plan daily ‘Word Aware’ and ‘Concept Cat’ sessions to increase the children’s vocabulary. Our aim is to enhance children’s language by introducing new words, exploring words read in books and talking about the meaning. Concept Cat also introduces a story using different words to encourage children to use it in their play, the videos help children to develop the concepts we use in everyday language. We also plan sessions each week in 'Drawing Club', with a focus on developing language and vocabulary, writing and maths through drawing, based on different stories.
Our children are encouraged to become early readers through enjoyment of books and the systematic teaching of phonics. We recognise that reading is key to all other learning and ensure quality phonics sessions are being taught using the whole school approach of Read, Write, Inc (RWI). Reception are taught RWI phonics. Children in Saplings in our Pre-School have short daily adult-led sessions of a pre-phonics programme. Reception put pupils into ability groupings and each group has a daily adult led session, which initially focuses on the phonemes and is then followed with paired reading. In the afternoons, phonics interventions are used to support children’s learning when required. In Reception, children’s reading books are matched to their phonics stage and reading records are sent home to encourage parents to read with their child. We follow the whole school ‘Strive for Five’ reading sessions per week at home. ‘Beautiful books’ (picture books) are also sent home weekly in Pre-School and Reception, to encourage parents and children to share stories, developing the child’s language skills and ignite a love of reading.
The children learn nursery rhymes and develop their mathematical thinking through direct teaching and exploration. Our ‘mathematically rich’ environment is designed to help our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real life experiences. It is created through interactive areas, use of everyday actions and routines which provide opportunities for development of counting and a feel for number, and the use of a lot of practical, hands-on apparatus.
We follow the ‘Mastering Number’ Maths Mastery approach in Reception with an emphasis on studying key skills of number, calculation and shape so that pupils develop deep understanding and the acquisition of Mathematical language. Pupils learn through games and tasks using concrete manipulatives which are then rehearsed and applied to their own learning during exploration and in adult directed activities. These collaborative and practical 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 inclusive approach means that all children learn together, however we also use a range of additional interventions to support, enhance and scaffold children who may not be reaching their potential or to help move on children who are having difficulties making progress. We use the Wellcomm programme in both Nursery and Reception, to support children’s language development. We also use the ‘Time to Talk’ programme to develop oral and social interaction skills in Reception. Our additional interventions are also used for children who are advancing and require additional stimulation. We have higher level phonics, reading and mathematics resources available and will support every child at their pace.
Parents are encouraged to be involved in their child’s learning through stay and play sessions in the setting, curriculum workshops, parent consultation evenings, weekly letters and end of year reports. The school’s Twitter page is used to celebrate children’s achievements and provides a regular insight into activities and learning opportunities in the EYFS provision on a weekly basis.
Class teachers record ongoing individual observations and photographs of children’s learning and play and interests. These observations are used to support teachers make to informative assessments and inform potential next steps for each child, this includes careful consideration of children with SEND or who are disadvantaged. Summative assessments are completed termly to judge each child’s progress in the 7 areas of learning. Their progress against the Development Matters age related expectations is monitored. This allows us to assess the impact of our teaching and decide if sufficient intervention measures are needed to help specific children. This is reported to members of the SLT during pupil progress meetings.
Our regular monitoring of teaching and learning includes: coaching, lesson observations and constructive feedback from the Early Years lead. The Early Years lead and teaching staff receive relevant up to date training and keep up to date with important Government/Ofsted focuses and initiatives. We are also highly focused on frequently moderating outcomes across the year group so that every member of our team feels confident in making accurate judgements about where individual pupils are and what their next steps are. This is also supported by external, small group moderations with other Early Years teachers within our cluster and the Literacy Company.
As a result of the high quality of our EYFS provision at Malpas Alport, all children, from their varied starting points, unlock their full potential. All children will make at least good progress academically, emotionally, creatively, socially and physically. Our children often start with slightly below national average starting points in many Prime areas, as well as Literacy. We strive to ensure our children reach the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception and are committed to supporting our children to achieve a good level of development in all areas of learning.
Our varied curriculum, well thought-out planning that builds on prior learning and our creative approach to activities (both adult led and in the enhanced and continuous provision) encourage children to be creative, curious and independent learners. Pupils develop into well-rounded individuals who embody our values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes which will make them lifelong learners and valuable future citizens.
The quality of our provision results in children who are inspired and excited about their learning, who enjoy new challenges, and who persevere without being put off by difficulty. They leave the EYFS ready to move with confidence into Key Stage 1 and the learning journey ahead of them.
After reading the story 'The Everywhere Bear' the children were inspired to have a class bear that they can take home to do different activities with. We have a reading suitcase where a child in each class takes home with the Everywhere Bear, the Everywhere Bear story to share with their family and some hot chocolate to enjoy whilst reading.
We understand the importance of developing children's language and vocabulary, and that this underpins all 7 areas of learning in the EYFS. Our aim is to enhance children's language by introducing new words daily, exploring words read in books and talking about the meanings through actions and in sentences. We use Concept Cat which introduces a video story using different concept words, such as 'over' and 'back'. We encourage children to these in their play and for adults to model these. We also use the Word Aware rap, which helps to teach our word of the day with a rap which the children really enjoy. In Drawing Club sessions we introduce new ambitious vocabulary and provide actions for these, to help the children to remember them. We have daily nursery rhyme and poem time, and we read two stories each day to the children, through a book vote. Some of these stories are repeated a few times, as we understand that this repetition is greatly beneficial to children in acquiring new vocabulary. We provide small-group story time for children that require more exposure to stories and language. We work with EAL children to support thier acquisition of English language, through the use of visual cards, stories and playing with them in 'adventure time' (provision time). Adults play with children in 'adventure time', modelling correct grammar and vocabulary, asking open and closed questions, rephrasing and extending what children say and explaining why things happen.
In Foundation Stage all children are part of 'Drawing Club' twice a week, which they are always so excited about! This is based on a story, traditional tale or animation and the children draw either a character or setting. We make the drawings come to life through magical codes linked to our current literacy and maths. We are so impressed by the children's imaginations.
Culture and Religion
We understand the importance of educating children about different cultures and religions to become aware of acceptance and equality in society. Therefore, we celebrate different events and explore different festivals by making things, tasting foods, painting, drawing and reading books. We celebrated the Jewish New Year 'Rosh Hashanah' and the children tasted apples dipped in honey and made new year cards. The children enjoyed finding out about the Christian festival of Easter and learning about Lent and Shrove Tuesday.
Computing and Curriculum links
Places to Visit
- Chester Zoo
- Delamere Forest
- Tatton Park
- Alderford Lake
- Grosvenor Park, Chester
- Grosvenor museum, Chester
- Sea Life Manchester
- Manchester Art Gallery
- Museum of Liverpool
- Imagine That! Science and Discovery Centre
- Xplore, Wrexham