EYFS Intent Statement
At Heartwood the children are at the centre of everything we do. Our curriculum is designed to build upon prior learning, ensuring each individual reaches their full potential from their various starting points. We enable children to succeed through cooperative and collaborative learning principles. As such, there is a strong emphasis on the Prime areas of learning; Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Communication and Language.
At Heartwood we recognise that oracy is a life skill to ensure success beyond school, in life and future employment, not only improving academic outcomes. Oracy develops a child’s thinking and understanding, in turn promoting self-confidence, resilience and empathy which supports children’s wellbeing. Our enabling environments and nurturing, skilful adult interactions support the children as they begin to link learning to their play and exploration.
Reading is at the heart of Heartwood. Daily sharing of stories and texts fosters a love of reading for our children, together with developing children’s vocabulary and comprehension skills.
We believe that high level engagement ensures high level attainment. We therefore provide an engaging curriculum which maximises opportunities for children to explore meaningful experiences. We promote the unique child by following the children’s personal interests and ideas to foster a lifelong love of learning. Children engage in long periods of uninterrupted play, allowing them to embed the three Characteristics of Effective Learning; playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically. Adults support the children in their play to learn new skills and knowledge, provide challenge and develop sustained thinking.
Our learning environments are neutral, engaging, provide curiosity and promote the Characteristics of Effective Learning. We plan the environment to cater for the needs of all children, allowing them to become independent learners. We ensure children have access to outdoor learning through continuous provision and foster a strong connection with nature. Our ‘hygge’ approach teaches children about gratitude, appreciation and finding joy in the simple things in our everyday life experiences.
Through our ‘Making a Difference’ curriculum we encompass our whole school values and provide opportunities to develop the children’s cultural capital through a range of meaningful experiences linked to our local community and beyond.
Our EYFS consists of two year groups, Nursery (Mouse Class) and Reception (Rabbit Class).
In Nursery we offer a morning session (8.30am - 11.30am) and (from after October half term) an afternoon session (12pm - 3pm).
Our Early Years team work closely together to plan exciting opportunities and learning activities.
The children learn in an environment set up to provide hands on, play based learning through 'continuous provision', with constant access to outdoor learning. We encourage children to embrace the outdoors whatever the weather and all EYFS children have a weekly Forest School session.
We adopt a child-led approach to planning where children influence the planning and the environment. Our approach and philosophy is heavily influenced by experts, including Greg Bottrill, Alistair Bryce- Clegg and Anna Ephgrave.
We are adopting the curiosity approach to our environment and provision which is influenced by Reggio, Stiener, Te Whariki and Montessori.
'this modern day approach brings curiosity, awe and wonder into early childhood and creating the 'thinkers' and 'doers' of the future' The Curiosity Approach 2020
The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum provides children with building blocks for their future education. We value the 3 Characteristics of Effective Learning: Playing and Exploring, Active Learning and Creating and Thinking Critically. By encouraging and celebrating these learning behaviours, the children aquire social, emotional and academic skills to support them as they get older and move on to learning through the National Curriculum (Year one onwards).
Our classrooms are set up for the children to learn through 'continuous provision' (see below) and we follow a teaching and planning in the moment approach, which allows practitioners to follow the personal interests, extend the children's play, challenging them and teaching new skills.
Heartwood Key Principles
Environment - Our environment creates thinkers, problem solvers and negotiators where there are no ceilings on learning. There are planned opportunities to acquire knowledge and apply to new situations. Thorough assessment informs the environment.
Curriculum- Skills based curriculum with knowledge woven throughout. We focus on the process of learning. The curriculum dictates the skills and knowledge we teach.
Play- How we engage our children. This needs to be well planned using the children’s interests and informed by observations and assessment. A play-based approach ensures that we respond to individual needs and every child can access the provision and achieve their full potential.
Talk - Opportunities are planned to increase and develop vocabulary and language. This provides high quality talk for themselves, to each other and adults. There are high expectations and planned modelling of language.
Expectations- We have the highest expectations for all of our children. The provision provides challenge for all children and ensures that children are developing their knowledge and skills. Busy time is always purposeful, where we ensure that children always challenge themselves and further their own learning. Planning ensures that adults teach and move all children’s learning on through play.
We are excited to be working towards the Hygge in the Early years accreditation and leadership accreditation.
Please see the 'Curriculum' tab for more information on this, or open the 'What to expect, when?’ document above. This document details each of the seven areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage and what is expected of each child developmentally depending on their age range. This document is also very useful to support your child’s learning at home as it details what you can do out of school to support your child’s learning.
EYFS Leader: Jen Robbins