Nursery and Reception
Our Foundation Stage has a Two Year Old Pod, a nursery class and two Reception classes.
Two Year Old Pod
Children that are eligible for the Early Years Funding can start in Owlets from the term after they turn two, for five morning sessions a week. Owlets is a small group of up to ten children with a high adult ratio to support their play.
Children can start in Owls class the term after they are three. Parents can choose sessions that total fifteen hours a week, taken as half days or a mixture of full and half days. If Nursery children have a session that includes lunch they may pay for a school dinner or bring their own packed lunch. There is a high adult ratio at all times and lunch is also supervised by classroom staff.
Puffins and Robins classes are two Reception classes that each have a teacher and two Learning Support Assistants. Children initially begin Reception with a few days being part-time before quickly becoming full-time. There is a very smooth transition for the children who have attended our Nursery.
As with the whole school our day begins with changing our books. Reception children change their reading book and nursery children choose a class library book to take home to listen to with their grown up.
A large part of the day is spent doing ‘Discovery Time’. The classrooms are divided into different workshops, both inside and out. We have a large outside area with a climbing frame, a bike area, a climbing tree as well as a wooded area with a muddy kitchen and the opportunity for den building. There is also a large sandpit and a soil digging pit. Inside we have two different role play areas, a construction area, water and sand tray, malleable table, music workshop, ICT workshop, painting workshop, a ‘junk bar’, writing and maths areas and small world area, among others.
At the beginning of Discovery Time the children plan what they would like to do and learn, then go and do it!’ At the end of the session the children ’review’ what they have done, showing models or pictures as well as talking, drawing or writing about their activities.
Other parts of the day are spent doing adult-led activities such as guided reading, writing, maths, P.E and creative activities
Stories and singing are also an important part of the day.
All children can go to our ‘Snack bar’ during Discovery Time. They are able to choose from a selection of fruit and a drink of milk or water. The children are encouraged to serve themselves and wash up afterwards.
Although a lot of the activities are led by the children’s interests we use the Cornerstones curriculum to plan sessions around a theme. At the beginning of each theme parents are sent a ‘theme sheet’ explaining what learning will be taking place and how they can support their child at home.
Before children begin in the Two Year Old Pod, Nursery or Reception they are offered a home visit. Two members of staff will visit your home to introduce themselves to you and your child. It is an opportunity for school to find out about your child’s likes and dislikes and to answer any questions you may have. Your child will then be invited to visit our setting for a short session to begin to familiarize themselves with the school environment and meet other staff. At the end of the Summer term a new parents meeting is held at school. This is an opportunity for parents to have a tour of the school, find out about practical things such as where to drop off and pick up and how to order lunches, as well as how your child will learn. Once your child has started with us, nursery parents are welcomed in to the classroom at drop off time and at the end of the day. Reception parents are encouraged to drop off at the door but to come in to the classroom at the end of the day. For children moving from Nursery into Reception the transition is very smooth as the children already know all the Foundation Stage staff and are familiar with the Reception classrooms. Owlets in the Two Year Old Pod will have short visits with a familiar member of staff during the half term before they begin in Nursery.
Judging Progress and Attainment
The Foundation Stage curriculum is based on the Early Years document Development Matters. This is used to support child initiated ‘Discovery Time’ and to plan for all adult-led sessions. All children, from the two year olds in the Pod through to Nursery and Reception, are observed by members of staff during their child initiated learning. Observations are noted and help to build up a Learning Journey for each child. Every term staff use these observations to record what age band each child is working within. Childrens progress is tracked throughout their time in Foundation Stage. If a child’s progress stalls extra support will be given for a short period of time to enable the child to get back on track. Children who are working below age related expectations may be given extra support or support from other agencies may be requested. At the end of each year children are judged to be working below, at, or above age related expectations.