Our vision: Learn. Inspire. Achieve.
‘Children are nurtured from the outset and given exciting opportunities, which motivate them.’ Ofsted.
Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high-quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
The Early Years framework sets the standards to make sure that children aged from birth to 5 learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. In 2021 the new EYFS framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage will become statutory for all nursery and reception settings. At Mount Stewart, we are currently an Early Adopter school of the new framework and have been using the new framework this academic year in preparation for September 2021. To support us with the delivery of the framework we refer to the Development Matters non-statutory curriculum guidance for the Early Years foundation stage.
At Mount Stewart Schools we believe that children deserve the best possible start to their education. Our Early Years team strive to provide an environment where children feel safe, happy, supported and secure. We consider each child’s interests, wants and needs so that they are ready to learn and achieve well. We are committed to providing a quality Early Years education that is; creative, challenging, active and broad in order to develop a thirst and excitement for learning.
We believe that the Early Years are critical in children’s development and that the EYFS builds a firm basis for future learning, development and independence. Therefore we educate the whole child and promote independence, curiosity, respect and resilience.
WE AIM TO:
‘The outstanding teaching and support from staff in the Early Years provision mean the majority of children make rapid progress to meet or exceed the early learning goals. As a result, the children are exceptionally well prepared to enter Year One.’ Ofsted.
Foundation Stage Curriculum
In the Foundation Stage we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS). We support our children to become independent and collaborative learners by providing a range of activities and experiences. Through these experiences we encourage children to take risks, discover and make links between their explorations. We also introduce and begin to embed our Values: Respect, Resourceful, Risk Taking, Reflective, Resilience, Responsive, Relating and Relationships.
Within the EYFS there are seven areas of learning and development with all areas of learning and development important and inter-connected. The areas are split into prime and specific. The prime areas of learning are fundamental to children’s successful learning in the specific areas and are vital as they lay the foundations for children’s success in all other areas of learning and life:
Prime Areas of Learning
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Personal, Social and Emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
‘Children socialise well together and behave respectfully towards each other and staff. They know that the staff expect them to be kind and thoughtful, and they are!’ Ofsted.
Physical Development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Communication and Language
Communication and Language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
The specific areas provide the range of experiences and opportunities for children to broaden their knowledge and skills:
Specific Areas of Learning
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Within the classroom we encourage this with the use of Talk for Writing and daily stories. This is where the children are able to tell their own stories, which are scribed by an adult, and then perform them to the class.
Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe numerical patterns. We follow the CPA (Concrete, Practical and Abstract) approach in maths, it is a highly effective approach to teaching that develops a deep and sustainable understanding of maths in pupils. This approach is continued throughout the school.
Understanding of the world involves guiding children to make sense of their past and present world, people, culture and their community and the natural world through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role- play, and design and technology. All classes have music lessons deliver by Brent Music Service.
Children’s learning is recorded in a learning journal and via Evidence Me, which is our online platform. These show examples of, written observation, examples of mark making, parent observations and evidence of learning across the Early Years Fundation Stage . Parents and children are able to log in and access learning journeys from home. We encourage parents to add their own 'WOW' moments comments and observations of their children at home too, which we regularly share them with other professionals during moderation.
Special visits, family and friends
We enjoy welcoming guests and visitors from the local community into our classroom to make our learning more exciting and real. We love them to help us with creative projects, school trips, to watch our infant nativity, parent learning sessions and parent learning assemblies, to listen to us read or to just play games with us. We also welcome parents to come into the classroom and share their skills and time with us.
We work closely with parents and this is encouraged from before our children start at Mount Stewart Schools. We have many transition events open to families, which enable us to
get to know our families really well. Teachers also visit children in their nursery or preschool settings and complete home visits prior to them starting at Mount Stewart.
We encourage parents to come into school through: transition meetings, school lunches, picnics and open afternoons. Parents are always welcome to make individual appointments with the class teachers after school.
At Mount Stewart we strive to cater for the individual needs and interests of our children. Children may choose from a wide and varied selection of activities:
We have large outdoor grounds and children are encouraged to learn through investigating their environment, building confidence, resilience and independence. We provide children with waterproof clothing so that they can get active and dirty and encourage children to bring in their own wellies so that we can use the outside space all year round.
Additionally we teach our children about the importance of a healthy diet, keeping fit and being clean. We have a snack during the day where children are welcome to have a piece of fruit. Children bring in their own water bottles which are kept in the classroom and are accessible throughout the day.