Our Early Years
At Great Rollright School, we believe in providing a secure foundation for future learning and development for our children. We work hard to provide a stimulating environment that offers exciting opportunities and promotes challenge, exploration and a genuine love for learning. Our curriculum allows children to develop interpersonal skills, build resilience and become creative thinkers through a fun, secure, challenging, and rich educational environment that enables everyone to thrive! Our whole school’s Christian values of love, courage, truth, and respect, coupled with our Good Shepherd guiding principles, shape how we behave, what we say, how we build relationships and how we learn. They are incorporated into every aspect of life at Great Rollright. Every child is recognised as a unique individual. We celebrate and welcome the differences within our school community. We intend that all children develop physically, verbally, cognitively, and emotionally in an environment that values all cultures, communities, and people. We aim for our children to be confident and independent, to believe in themselves and interact positively with others. We believe that the correct mix of adult-directed and uninterrupted child-initiated play ensures the best outcomes for our pupils. Warm and positive relationships between staff and children, consistent routines and strong relationships with parents are essential.
Our EYFS curriculum follows the statutory guidance EYFS Framework 2021 and is supported by the Development Matters guidance 2021. The Characteristics of effective teaching and learning are also central to all planned learning experiences in our EYFS curriculum. Emphasis is on learning through play, direct practical experience and being led by the interests of our children. There is a combination of adult-led, teacher taught sessions and a wealth of stimulating continuous provision opportunities encouraging children to develop their learning independently through discovery, exploration, curiosity, and challenge. The internal and external environments are designed to allow children to access resources and the curriculum independently, making their own choices. All environments are adapted regularly to meet the developing needs of the children, providing support and challenge to all.
We begin each new year by getting to know all our new children. We consider their different starting points so we can carefully adapt our EYFS provision to ensure that it is suitable for their unique needs, interests, and stages of development. We recognise that the seven areas of learning cannot be delivered without using opportunities to make links between them. We aim to deliver the curriculum through planned, purposeful play, and adults help scaffold learning through skilful interactions and effective questioning. We present new concepts through meaningful contexts that enable the children to make connections and build upon what they already know, allowing each child to have ownership of their learning. At Great Rollright, we believe the role of the adults is to facilitate opportunities for pupils to learn through sensitive interactions. By responding in this way, pupils see their play as meaningful and valued by the adults. This empowers our early learners to develop by leading their play, and at our school, this will not be adult-led with limited predetermined outcomes.
We also prioritise creating a ‘language rich’ environment through the use of songs, nursery rhymes, poems, and stories and providing time for quality interactions between adults and between peers. Trained staff ensure that interactions are positive and progressive, allowing children to flourish and gather words at pace to become confident communicators. Children are encouraged to become early readers through the enjoyment of books and the systematic teaching of our Read Write INC phonics. The children learn nursery rhymes, poems, and new vocabulary and develop their mathematical thinking through direct teaching and exploration. We want our children to become confident mathematicians who can apply what they have learnt to real-life experiences.
We have built our school environment to enable our children to strengthen their core muscles through physical play. Children spend time outdoors in the natural environment in all weathers. They develop lovely, exploratory, sensory experiences through opportunities such as Forest school or our potion/mud station, water tray, sandpit, and garden. The children are supported to learn to work together, manage their feelings and ask questions through skilled adult-facilitated play.
We understand the importance of parental engagement and believe that our parents have a crucial role in their children’s education. We work hard to create strong partnerships between home and school and help our parents to feel part of our school community. Parents are also encouraged to share their children’s achievements and learning outside of school through ‘WOW’ moments and their children’s online learning journeys (Tapestry).
The curriculum is taught through topics which are enriched with classroom enhancements, trips and visitors. Quality key texts support topics. These are chosen carefully to encourage children’s speech, language and communication development. Focused child observations ensure that children’s individual needs and interests are developed alongside a strong progressive curriculum designed by the school based on Rosenshine’s principles of instruction. This is to develop their experience and knowledge across a range of themes that lay the foundations for the topics covered in KS1 and KS2.
As part of the teaching and learning process, children are assessed in relation to their progress towards the Early Learning Goals. These judgements are based on accumulative observations and in-depth knowledge of the children acquired through ongoing assessment. These ongoing assessments inform planning and the next steps in teaching and learning for all children throughout the year.
Our curriculum and its delivery aim for our children, from their own starting points, is to make good progress. During their time with us, children can make rapid progress towards the national expectation for a good level of development at the end of the year. Knowledge, understanding and skills will be promoted and eventually mastered to ensure children are ready to begin learning the National Curriculum Programme of study in Year 1.
The children will develop their learning characteristics and be able to apply their knowledge to a range of situations making links and explaining their ideas and understanding. We want children to be confident to take risks and discuss their successes and failures with peers and adults, drawing on their experiences to improve or adjust what they are doing. We believe our high standards are due to our carefully planned environment, enriched play-based curriculum, quality first teaching and the knowledge of the children.
Our young learners will:
- Be able to appreciate and understand the world around them by experiencing and learning about different cultures, celebrations, music, dance, art and history
- They will actively ask questions about their learning experiences
- Take pride in all that they do for themselves, for others and for their community
- Demonstrate self-regulation, emotional resilience, and the ability to persevere when they encounter challenges whilst managing risks
- Develop a sense of self-awareness and become confident in their own abilities
- Be kind, respectful and honest, demonstrating inclusive attitudes and have a sense of their role in wider society