at Albourne Church of England Primary School
EYFS Policy & Philosophy

At Albourne, all teaching staff deliver an EYFS curriculum through immersion in high quality teaching alongside an enriched environment.

Our philosophy is to nurture every child’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, developing both skills and confidence as they take their first steps on their own unique journey of lifelong learning.

The intent for our children is to enter the next stage of their education ready to tackle new challenges with confidence and a positive mindset.

ENGAGE our pupils in a stimulating environment led by the children yet carefully organised and managed by adults. Providing a curriculum responsive to individual starting points and needs.

INNOVATE our children to take the lead in their own learning, encouraging confidence to explore new ideas, think about problems, take risks, make links and seek challenge.

DEVELOP high levels of engagement, curiosity, collaboration and cooperation. Highly adept at managing their own behaviour in the classroom and in social situations.

EXPRESS themselves with confidence in a meaningful way. Respecting the opinions and values of themselves and others.

Our approach is influenced by the work of educationalists, researchers, psychologists and practitioners who have guided our knowledge of how young children learn and how adults can support their learning.

“Knowledgeable practitioners appreciate that adult-led learning offers a child something different from, but complementary to, child led learning and it is one without the other that leads to an impoverished educational experience.” - Julie Fisher, 2016.

At Albourne provision is underpinned by a complementary relationship between adult led, adult-initiated and child led learning. 

We are ambitious in our approach using a continuous cycle of observation and assessment, planning/teaching, alongside structured and systematic lessons and guided group work.
Shared Input
Three times a day as a whole class covering the specific areas of literacy, math’s and phonics objectives. Using the curriculum documents ‘Development Matters’, 'Birth to Five" alongside ‘Letters and Sounds’.

Continuous Provision
“To continue the provision for learning in the absence of an adult.” Alistair Bryce-Clegg, 2013

Indoors and outdoors resources are organised to develop children’s skills in personal interaction and exploration and are linked to current assessment data. Resources are carefully selected to meet the development needs of the children in order to enhance potential for new learning and consolidate prior learning. Resources are dressed/displayed to reflect children’s interests – discover, experiment and explore are key themes.

Continuous provision transcends all areas of learning and provides children with the opportunity to demonstrate the three characteristics of effective learning. Children are given the freedom to make independent choices and are encouraged to be active learners and take control of their own learning.

Within continuous provision our assessment strategy is 3-fold.

1. Observation

Throughout ‘continuous provision’ observation forms a fundamental aspect of the pedagogy of EYFS at Albourne Primary School.

“Young children demonstrate language, mathematics, science, creativity, physicality – sometimes all within one activity – and the task of the practitioner is to make sense of what is seen, to recognise any significant steps in learning that may have taken place and to identify where help and support are needed to make further progress” Jan Dubiel, 2014

Observation and responding to children’s thinking inform our planning of experiences and opportunities, how we create our environment for thinking, the strategies the adults use to extend learning (modelling, scaffolding, questioning, discussion, shared sustained thinking) and how we capitalise knowledge of children’s interests to ensure high levels of engagement.

All adults record ‘Wow!’ moments – when a child does or says something that demonstrates progress or skill in a particular area.

2. The Leuven scales

Alongside the use of observation as an assessment tool we also rely upon the pioneering work of Professor Ferre Laevers (1980s) to understand how focused and comfortable the children are in our setting.

The scales of well-being and involvement act as a measure of deep learning and of the effectiveness of the learning environment. This has an empowering impact on our planning and can help to develop the huge potential of the children.

The 5-point scale measures:
Well Being refers to feeling at ease, being spontaneous and free of emotional tensions and is crucial to good mental health. It is linked to self-confidence, a good degree of self-esteem and resilience.
Involvement refers to being intensely engaged in activities and is a necessary condition for deep level learning and development.

A continuous cycle of observation, assessment and planning is embedded throughout our EYFS provision.

3. Summative Assessments

In addition to the continuous cycle of observation and formative assessment which informs each child’s next steps, summative assessments are carried out for phonic development, the stable order principle in number and an assessment of each child’s stage of development for each of the 7 areas of learning. These take place termly and informs planning of subsequent teaching and learning.
“High-level attainment comes from high-level engagement.” - Alistair Bryce-Clegg, 2015
Start here
Look, listen and note
Analysing observations and deciding what they tell us about children.
What next?
Experiences and opportunities, learning environment, resources, routines, practitioner’s role
EYFS learning and development requirements
Our curriculum encompasses seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.

Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships, and thriving.

These are called the prime areas:
• communication and language
• physical development
• personal, social, and emotional development.
Four areas help children to strengthen and apply the prime areas.
These are called the specific areas:
• literacy
• mathematics
• understanding the world
• expressive arts and design
Throughout their time in the Reception Year our children partake in an ambitious curriculum which is designed in a sequential way to ensure progress towards the end of reception goals. These goals are defined as Early Learning Goals (ELGs) 

As previously outlined our curriculum incorporates learning through play, learning by adults modelling, by observing each other and through guided learning and direct teaching. It is also important to highlight that our plans are flexible to allow us to respond quickly to children’s new interests and/or needs.

Weaving throughout the EYFS curriculum at Albourne are three Characteristics of Effective Learning.
• playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
• active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
• creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things

These elements underpin how we reflect on each child’s development and adjust our practice accordingly. Supporting children in their individual learning behaviour and observing the context of children’s play is essential.

‘What children learn is important, but how children learn is even more important if they are to become learners in today’s society.’ Helen Moylett How Children Learn, Nancy Stewart (2011
The role of the adult

Research shows that progress will be significantly enhanced by the effective support and role models of adults within a high-quality learning environment.

At Albourne the role of the adult particularly during continuous provision is based upon the work of Marion Dowling and her book on supporting sustained shared thinking (2005).
Within our setting interactions between children and adults will look like this:
• Tuning in to what is happening or a child’s thinking.
• Showing genuine interest.
• Respecting children’s own decisions and choices.
• Inviting children to elaborate.
• Recapping on what has happened so far.
• Offering personal experience.
• Clarifying ideas.
• Reminding.
• Using specific praise e.g. that is a good idea because…
• Offering an alternative viewpoint.
• Speculating/ using ‘I wonder if…’
The definition of teaching in the Early Years as stated by OFSTED (2015);
Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term which covers the many ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities:

communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges.
It takes account of the equipment they provide and the attention to the physical environment as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do as well as take account of their interests and dispositions to learning (characteristics of effective learning), and use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress.
“A key role of the early childhood educator is to sustain children’s thinking and follow the momentum of their learning.” Julie Fisher, 2016.

The role of the environment

The importance of each adult to support progression is crucial however, we equally understand that in times when a child is on their own independent learning journey the environment plays a significant role in development.

“When it comes to what we have and where we have it, then nothing should be left to chance” Alistair Bryce-Clegg, 2015.

At Albourne each area of the classroom is informed by assessment. As the needs of the children change, as they grow and develop, so does their learning space.

Using resources that are open ended encourage creativity, imagination and high order thinking skills. For example, the workshop may contain ribbon, lace, pinecones or lolly sticks. Outside role play is deconstructed with access to crates, planks, sheets and tyres. These resources can become anything and have unlimited potential.

Our timetable allows for long uninterrupted periods of continuous provision that allow the children time to reach a deep level of involvement as they engage, play, investigate and talk.

“One of the most powerful influences on development is what happens between people.” Hobson, 2002
Interact, don’t interfere.