Early Years Foundation Stage
“Every child is an individual to be respected and taught to the best of her or his ability.”
“Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to their full potential. A child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure safe and happy childhood is important in its own right, and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. When parents choose to use early years services they want to know the provision will keep their children safe and help them to thrive. The Early Years Foundation Stage is the framework that provides that assurance.”
At Sinai School we aim to provide within an orthodox Jewish environment an Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) with strong parental involvement that nurtures each individual child. Within a safe, secure, caring and stimulating environment we ensure that all children reach their full potential and grow in confidence and self esteem both academically and socially.
We recognise that every child is a competent learner from birth and that entering the EYFS is a very crucial stage in his /her development. We recognise that children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. Within our EYFS we ensure that we cater for and meet these differing needs.
The principles which guide the work of all the early years’ practitioners at Sinai are grouped into four themes:
- A Unique Child – every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Positive Relationships – children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.
- Enabling Environments – the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.
- Learning and Development – children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and inter-connected.
The EYFS curriculum encompasses seven key areas of learning.
The three prime areas of learning are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
The four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied, are:
- Knowledge of the world
- Expressive arts and design
In our school Jewish Studies forms the 8th area of learning, ensuring it is an integral part of the children’s learning and development.
All staff involved with the EYFS aim to develop good relationships with all children, interacting positively with them and taking time to listen to them. At our school, the EYFS teachers takes overall responsibility for teaching and learning and academic progress for the children in their class. The ‘Key Person’ acts as the main point of contact for parents and children taking responsibility for the children’s welfare and ensuring good communication between home and school. In Nursery the key worker ratio is 1:10 and in Reception it is 1:15.
“Children’s play reflects their wide ranging and varied interests and preoccupations. In their
play children learn at their highest level. Play with peers is important for children’s
Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make
sense of the world. They have the opportunity to practise skills, develop ideas and think creatively alongside other children as well as individually. The children communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems. The experiences the children have are crucial in encouraging an enquiring mind, confidence and a love of learning alongside developing a range of early skills.
Planning and guided children’s activities will reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice. At Sinai we support children in using the three characteristics of effective teaching and learning. These are;
- 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; and
- Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
The Foundation Stage classrooms are organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are areas where the children can be active, be quiet and rest. The classrooms have been set up to reflect the learning areas, where children are able to find and locate equipment and resources independently. The Foundation Unit has its own enclosed outdoor areas. This has a positive effect on the children’s development. Being outdoors offers the children further opportunities to explore, use their senses, develop their language skills and be physically active. We plan activities and resources both inside and outside enabling the children to develop in all the areas of learning.
We foster close relationships with parents and see parents as an integral part of their child’s learning. We recognise that parents are children’s first and most enduring educators and we value the contribution they make. We recognise the role that parents have played, and their future role, in educating the children. We do this through:
- talking to parents about their child before their child starts in our school;
- providing a welcome to the Foundation Stage booklet with how to help your child at home with tips
- encouraging parents to talk to the child’s teacher if there are any concerns.
- weekly newsletters informing parents of children’s learning and how they can help at home
- a formal open evening meeting for parents in the Autumn and Spring terms at which the teacher and the parent discuss the child’s progress and individual pupil targets with the teacher.
- offering workshops to help parents understand how their child learns
- providing a formal report on their child’s attainment and progress at the end of the Foundation Stage;
We ensure a smooth transition into our Early Years Foundation Stage. Our Early Years staff will visit or call the previous setting and talk to the practitioners. This ensures that we take the child’s learning on from this point. Children and parents have an opportunity to visit and experience the setting and have a meeting with a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
In Nursery, during the induction period in September, children are split into three groups according to age. In week 1, the youngest children start. In week 2, the middle age children start and in week 3, the oldest children start.
For children transferring from Sinai Nursery, a programme of transition occurs, including spending time in the Reception classrooms, meeting the practitioners and joint Tefillah / Onegs.
In Reception, during the induction period in September, children are split into two groups according to their previous setting. In week 1, children new to the school start. In week 2, children who attended Sinai Nursery start.
In the Summer Term of Reception, a programme of transition starts to prepare the children for KS1. This includes spending time in the Year 1 classrooms, meeting the teachers and support staff, joining KS1 for afternoon play and attending ONEG with KS1 more regularly as the term progresses. Towards the end of the year, the balance of adult-led and child-initiated learning shifts as children progress through the Foundation Stage in order to help children prepare for the more formal learning they will experience in Year 1. Each year a formal handover occurs, with the Reception teachers going through the EYFSP with the receiving Year 1 teachers.