Early Years (Nursery and Reception)

At St Matthew’s we follow the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, published in March 2014 by the DfES

Every child is recognised as a unique individual and our curriculum is designed to celebrate and welcome differences and diversity within our school community.

We strongly feel our diverse community benefits our pupils, enabling them to demonstrate key British values such as mutual respect, tolerance and individual liberty which are key to their early development as citizens.

Community involvement is an essential part of our curriculum as we celebrate local traditions,

learning new skills to enable the children to take an active role in events throughout the year.

We place emphasis on language and vocabulary development, developing a language-rich environment to enable our pupils to succeed across all areas of learning. We use quality books and rich experiences to develop children's language and words, listening skills and understanding. We develop children’s phonics skills for reading and writing using Letters and Sounds Phase 1 in Nursery and Read Write Inc throughout Nursery and Reception as our main approach to teaching phonics. We spend time developing the foundations for reading and writing ensuring that the children experience frequent, high-quality opportunities to read and write for a range of purposes across early years. In addition, we have built a programme of parent workshops, to ensure that our parents are aware of the skills and approaches we value and develop a bank of skills themselves with which to support their child’s attainment and progress. Our partnerships with parents and the time we invest in forging strong relationships with our families is key for the success of our pupils.

In addition to our programme of workshops, we invite parents in to Nursery and Reception weekly for ‘Bookshare’. During this time, parents share a book with their child and can explore their ‘Wow Books’, celebrating successes and a love of reading.

We also place an emphasis on developing pupil independence, which promotes responsibility for learning and future success. The majority of our Reception class pupils have come from our Nursery, in which these skills of independence have already been instilled.

Outdoor learning, through a Forest School approach is a valued part of our EYFS learning, providing opportunity to develop children’s curiosity of learning and knowledge & understanding of the world. It is a highly valuable experience for our pupils to explore the natural world, take risks, and develop the characteristics of learning.

Appropriate age related opportunities are planned weekly for both our Nursery and Reception children to apply their curriculum knowledge outside the classroom.

In addition, each half term our pupils experience cultural capital enhancements in the form of a visitor or a visit external to St Matthew’s to provide first-hand experiences for the children to support and develop their learning and prepare them for the future. These experiences are linked to themes taught, providing children with the opportunity to apply their learning first-hand.

Children leave our Early Years with a sense of belonging to a tightly knit community, ready to start

Key Stage One. They have the confidence and skills to make decisions and self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners.

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