Learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage
Children begin their learning journey at Avening Primary School in the Eagles class, where we provide opportunities for the children to learn through a variety of child-led, play-based activities (indoors and outdoors) with careful intervention by adults to direct them in their learning.
The Foundation Stage Curriculum has seven key areas of learning. These are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical development
- Communication and Language
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
At Avening we aim for our children to feel happy and safe and to develop a life-long love of learning; we plan our curriculum carefully, and it is informed by the children’s interests, ensuring that they are active participants in their learning and development. Teaching and learning ensures that the opportunities to explore key skills within these seven areas are provided through an enabling, exciting and supportive environment.
Our expectations of the children in the Eagles are high, and our observations of the children are of utmost importance. The experiences planned are based on our knowledge of the children and how they learn, and what their next steps in learning are.
We place a strong focus on helping children to acquire communication and language skills, and on supporting their physical, personal, social and emotional development, to ensure that when they finish this stage they are prepared for the National Curriculum, and we work very closely with our colleagues in the Kestrels to ensure that there is a smooth transition from Early Years into Year 1.
We also plan enrichment opportunities throughout the year. In the past we have visited a local forest school and had visits from a Paralympian, the local fire station and police station. We also encourage parents and other members of the community to visit us and share their experiences with us. We regularly celebrate our learning through experience days; in recent months, the children have participated in a medieval banquet, in the Big School Birdwatch and have come to school as their favourite book characters and superheroes!
We also work with children across the school. Children from Year 1 regularly join the younger children in the afternoons. We also pair the children with ‘reading buddies’ from Year 1 and Year 2. We have regular cross phase days where the older children work with the youngest in the school.
At Avening we actively encourage strong parental partnerships to support children’s learning. We do this through regular conversations and communications with the parents. We encourage children to share their achievements at home through the use of superstars and their achievements in school are celebrated through sending home certificates. We regularly invite parents to share in their children’s learning, and hold workshops where you can find out about how we teach key skills and how to support your child at home. We blog regularly too.
Before the children start there are several opportunities for the children to visit their new learning environment and staff in the school. We visit the children at their pre-school setting, and at home, and we invite parents to an open evening to find out about life at Avening. The children then have three half day visits in the summer term to familiarise them with their new surroundings. We also encourage parents to bring their children into school at the start of the school day during the summer term to borrow story sacks. We also run a fortnightly 'Fledglings' sessions for parents and pre-school children in our School Garden, and our Fledglings are warmly invited to borrow books from our school library too.