The EYFS curriculum at Poppyfield Academy allows children to follow learning and development outlined in the Early Years Outcomes document, taking into consideration the children’s own interests and encompassing a real purpose and/or outcome to their learning through play. Children know, and are in some cases, involved in deciding what the outcome should be.
The outcomes are always done for real and not for pretend, whilst their imagination is harnessed through a rich provision of role play; artistic and cultural experiences, underpinned by an emphasis on language development. It is through completing this outcome that children develop and apply their Characteristics of Effective Learning.
By the achievement of the outcome being presented as a Challenge from the start of the learning, children know what they have to achieve. The idea of this approach is that each topic is driven by a challenge or question that opens out the plans for the whole topic and directs the learning of knowledge and skills through the learning journey. It allows for children’s own interests to be embedded in the learning.
Each topic developed is driven by an overall challenge and an outcome being worked towards. The 7 areas of learning are combined to ensure a purposeful outcome, with close monitoring of the GLD areas of learning. Literacy and math is woven into all the other areas of learning both through continuous provision and adult led learning, with phonics playing a constant role in learning through play.
The idea of challenge is about encouraging children to see the learning opportunity as something that they rise to and also as a clear way of children taking responsibility for their learning. When planned effectively, clear opportunities in the learning challenge for children to take responsibility, make decisions, work together and learn independently.
A rich and challenging continuous provision both indoors and out, sit alongside learning and development planning and teaching provision, reflecting a combination of challenge, learning objectives, children’s interests and purposeful play.
The vision for the EYFS curriculum is to ensure all pupils access challenging, positive, purposeful play.
Children are passionate about the exciting challenge driven approach where their ideas are not only valued but actively encouraged, recorded and acted upon, giving them ownership of their learning.
On entering their learning environment, indoor and out, children are stimulated by an environment which reflects their learning challenge with a focus on role play areas and exciting continuous provision.
Children are encouraged to engage naturally through play in a range of purposeful writing and maths activities and talk. Their own interests are catered for through planned provision. Construction play is enhanced with design drawing, regular cooking allows pupils to follow numbered instructions and outdoor vehicle races include technology to time.
Children love how phonics opens up a whole new world of learning to them, allowing them to access many more challenges. Children’s pride at the beginning of reading and writing words which they apply to their play is testimony for challenging those ready to move on their learning. They enjoy both the themed writing areas and opportunities to write independently throughout the provision.
The opportunities to develop their skills and critical thinking outdoors is a daily provision. Children enjoy forest school sessions, where purposeful play included messy mud writing, imaginative play with fairies and caring for our forest school area and grounds.
NICER and Characteristics of Effective Learning
EYFS follows the same idea of challenge packs as the rest of the school – Nursery and Reception use CAFs, PMIs, thinking hats and learning power tools when thinking about how they are learning, allowing them to take ownership and become critical thinkers. The EY outcomes are then planned for around a challenge and CoEL and Ages and Stages are noted. Next steps are then planned for alongside the children, who are encouraged to challenge themselves and each other.
Practical Elements of EYFS
Children’s learning is stimulated through a range of hooks and experiences. We have a number of workshops, an annual visit from the animal man, visit farms and Cannock Chase to name but a few. Children are exposed to experiences that are real and productive enabling them to feel important and valued.