At St. George’s Catholic Primary, we believe that all children should be supported and encouraged to achieve their best and have a happy and successful school life. For us, this starts the moment a child enters our school on their very first day. Early Years staff are committed to the development of every child in our care and we strive for a high-quality setting that offers equally high experiences and interactions for all.
We believe in providing a stimulating and well-planned out environment, in which children are encouraged to develop their own desire to learn and to develop social responsibility. We believe that “Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.” (Maria Montessori). Staff are experienced in knowing exactly how-to bring children on in their learning and we are passionate about involving children in their own learning and in their own choices.
In line with the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, our Nursery and Reception curriculum is carefully planned to build on children’s experiences and to inspire our pupils to think critically, to learn actively and to develop a love of life-long learning. Our curriculum also considers what is taught across the school, so that when our children enter Key Stage One, they are equipped with the key vocabulary and key skills required for accessing the National Curriculum.
To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in our Early Years, we work hard to ensure that learning is developed across the two phases and is bespoke to the needs of each cohort and individual children when necessary. Children are provided with daily opportunities to explore and to develop skills over time. We have created a climate that involves children in the planning of play, to collaboratively think and work together and to observe and support one another within an environment that encourages risk-taking in play.
Our curriculum is investigative: it encourages children to develop their confidence, their self-esteem, levels of involvement, ability to persevere when faced with difficulty and their social and emotional skills. It also provides activities, experiences and resources that develop gross and fine motor skills (which are crucial for writing at an older age) as well as planning for high-quality language-rich opportunities and interactions.
We invest time creating the right classroom climate – a place where children are encouraged to extend their understanding by supporting each other, taking responsibility for their choices and by being unafraid to make mistakes. Our practitioners work alongside children to observe them at play, to see where they can support a child to deepen their levels of concentration, to extend their learning or to build on their physical and language development. Each term, EYFS staff observe children in the areas of provision and we focus on common play behaviours. This enables staff to identify any gaps in provision and to inform planning on how to support children to develop skills.
We follow half-termly planning which is used as a basis for what we teach and when. Teachers plan carefully according to each separate cohort to ensure that there is progression and so that children can develop in a way that is natural. Young children do not learn in a linear way and staff work hard to ensure that each child is able to consolidate their knowledge and skills, as well as their approach to learning.
By the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage the majority will have reached their personal best and have achieved good progress, aiming for a good level of development measure (GLD). They will have achieved at least the expected level in the ELGs across the Prime Areas of Communication and Language, Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and in the Specific Areas of Literacy and Mathematics. All children will have made significant personal progress across all areas of learning and will be fully prepared for their next stage of education, as they transition from Foundation Stage to Year One. Children at St George’s will be well-rounded, happy, inquisitive and successful learners, who have a strong sense of belonging to our school family.