Teaching and Learning
Teaching at Kingston Park Academy includes a good balance of adult led and child-initiated learning. Teaching may be whole class, face-to-face with a child or small group of children during the session. Practitioners skilfully plan the learning environment to support children in making progress through child-initiated play. Sometimes, these two approaches over-lap, for example when a child or small group initiate play which is then supported and extended by the practitioner. When practitioners teach children:
· They facilitate opportunities for the child to contribute and to make choices in their learning.
· They scaffold the child’s development, to support increasing independence and control.
· They ask questions to check or develop children’s understanding.
· They work collaboratively to solve problems and find answers.
· They provide formative feedback to help children to consolidate their learning and extend their exploration and thinking further.
Areas of Learning:
The EYFS is made up of three prime areas of learning:
· Personal, Social and Emotional Development
· Communication and Language
· Physical Development
There are four specific areas of learning:
· Understanding the World
· Expressive Arts and Design
The use of phonics is one of the many skills needed to be able to be a reader and writer. We aim to teach high quality phonics to ensure the children have the best start possible in reading and writing. The learning of phonics is the beginning of children’s body of knowledge, skills and understanding that are an essential part of learning to read. To read and understand texts children must learn to recognise/decode the words on the page. Good quality phonics teaching allows the child to be secure in the skills of word recognition and decoding which allows children to read fluently. This will result in children being able to read for pleasure and will allow them to move onto developing higher order reading for meaning skills. These phonic skills need to be taught systematically and involve a variety e.g multi-sensory resources for all learners. The teaching of phonics at Kingston Park Academy follows the Essential Letters and Sounds programme and this flows throughout the curriculum.
In Nursery, the focus is on pre-phonics skills (phase 1) daily. Examples of pre-phonics skills are alliteration, rhyme and environmental sounds. These will be a focus throughout the EYFS unit to ensure they are ready for the formal SSP phonics programme.
In the Reception, we will begin Essential Letters and Sounds which will continue into key stage 1 and beyond as required. At the start of Reception, we carry out an initial phonics baseline assessment to create a clear picture of the children’s knowledge and skills. As a result, and to aid a smooth transition from nursery to reception, in the first week of their time in reception children will be taught following the pre-phonics skills. With a focus on Aspects 6 and 7, the children can practise listening skills and practise the essential alliterative and segmenting and blending needed to prepare them for Essential Letters and Sounds.
Our EYFS unit provides a strong continuous provision to enable children to repeat, practise and master. Resources enable children to engage in exploratory play with sounds, investigating variations, pattern, rhyme, voice as well as a range of real sounds through active phonics.
Literacy and Reading
Kingston Park use Launchpad for Literacy alongside the curriculum. This approach enables Kingston Park to
- identify and close skill gaps
- embed speech and language interventions
- ensure progression for all and clarifying ‘Quality First Teaching’
- create a firm, broad base of skill readiness for all aspects of literacy, including Phonics.
Kingston Park Academy promotes a love of reading, this starts from the very start of a child’s journey with us. Children are gifted bookbags and books during their first weeks of their time in EYFS and this continues throughout the year with our rewards system. Books are the key driver throughout our book led curriculum in EYFS and high-quality texts are carefully planned to support learning in line with the seven areas of learning and following the Talk for Writing approach. These texts are used to influence enhancement ideas to add into provision for children to reconsolidate their learning and understanding of the book during continuous provision time. However, Kingston Park Academy ensure that there is a clear balance between reflecting a love of books and children’s interests in the environment.
In EYFS, children are encouraged to become interested in maths and mathmatical language through games, songs and by exploring the resources available to them. In nursery we concentrate on maths through child initiated play, simple challenges, questioning and stories.
In reception, we build on this further by using a mastery approach, which encourages children to use resources, like cubes and counters, to solve a range of problems independently or with their peers. We ensure that children are confident with: counting, patterns, problem solving and are confident with basic adding and subtracting too. Children also explore 2d and 3d shapes, measuring equipment and start to understand mathematical concepts like time and money.
The importance of environment
Environment activities and experiences are arranged to promote independence. Opportunity is given by adults to play co-operatively, alone, or time is given for children to stand and observe. There must be time and space allowed to develop play both inside and outside, safely, and securely.
The environment is aesthetically appealing with lots of examples of children’s current work included in child centred displays.
Displays include examples of children’s speech where possible and appropriate and give children opportunities to talk about, review and think about their previous experiences and learning (metacognition). Clear guidelines and boundaries promote positive behaviour.
Challenging social situations are seen as opportunities for growth and development, explaining and working with children to help them feel strong and safe, and to learn how to manage difficult issues and conflicts in appropriate ways. Kingston Park Academy has adopted Jigsaw to deliver PSED. Jigsaw brings together PSHE Education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development in a comprehensive scheme of learning. Teaching strategies are varied and are mindful of preferred learning styles and the need for differentiation. Jigsaw is designed as a whole school approach, with all year groups working on the same theme (Puzzle) at the same time. This enables each Puzzle to start with an introductory assembly, generating a whole school focus for adults and children alike. Within the Early Years Foundation Stage, (EYFS), Jigsaw is used to support the development of PSED, (Personal, Social, Emotional Development), and PD, (Physical Development), ensuring children make progress towards and beyond the Early Learning Goals for these areas of learning.
The foundation unit at Kingston Park Academy is rich in print and children re able to see print in a meaningful context, children are actively encouraged to create their own print for the environment. High quality books are available in every area of the unit that are reflective of the book led curriculum however, when learning to read Kingston Park Academy understands the importance of children reading books that are matched to the systematic, synthetic programme we follow (ELS).
Our Partnership with Parents
We recognise that parents/carers are the child’s first and most enduring educators. When parents/carers and practitioners work together in the early years settings, the results have a positive impact on the child’s development. A successful partnership needs to be a two-way flow of information, knowledge and expertise. We aim to develop this by:
- Outlining the Foundation Stage curriculum to parents/carers during parent’s evenings, ‘Stay and Play’ sessions for FS1 transition meetings to enable them to understand the value of supporting their child’s learning at home.
- Encouraging parents/carers to complete all aspects of the starter packs.
- Operating an ‘open door’ policy, whereby parents/carers can come and discuss concerns and developments in an informal manner.
- Sharing children’s progress through photographs and observations using Evidence Me.
- Encouraging parents/carers to share their child’s ‘wow’ moments.
- Encouraging parents/carers to share pictures of their children’s successes at home through Evidence Me
- Inviting parents/carers to help in the Foundation Stage and to regular Foundation Stage Events.
- Encouraging parents/carers to listen to their child read each night, to make use of the word books and to comment on reading progress in a ‘reading record’
- Inviting parents to celebrate their child’s successes during regular class and whole school assemblies.
- Discussing individual targets with parents/carers at Parents’ evenings (informed by the EYFS overviews)
- Providing an annual written report to parents/carers in July summarising the child’s progress against the early learning goals and the EYFS assessment overviews.
- EYFS/school newsletter information.
- Parent/Carer questionnaires.
Transition to Nursery
Every child is invited to attend our transition process each week for four weeks before starting in the nursery. We see this as vital in building up relationships with our families. During this time information about the setting is shared and time is allowed for parents/carers to freely ask questions about their child starting at Kingston Park. These ‘Stay and Play’ sessions (early intervention programme) allow the child and their parent/carer to become familiar with the setting before their starting date. The parent/carer will be given a welcome booklet with all the relevant information regarding their child starting EYFS. Children attend a seamless programme of sessions prior to their F1 start date which allows time for discussions with parents/carers, partnership settings and multi agencies if needed.
Transition to Reception
At Kingston Park Academy, we have a seamless transition into FS2 as the FS1 children have access to the same provision all year, ensuring they are calm and confident in both spaces and with all teaching staff between the two years. Provision is set up in a way that supports and challenges the developing needs of both FS1 and FS2 to ensure this can be a calm yet effective learning space for both. At Kingston Park Academy, the Foundation Stage team meet regularly to discuss assessment and induction issues.
The EYFS Co-ordinator and Year 1 teacher are working in partnership to make the transition into year 1 as smooth as possible.
At Kingston Park Academy we;
- Discussions regarding children’s attainment levels help group the children appropriately in KS1.
- Individual EYFS observations are passed on to YR1 teachers.
- Children’s overview sheets and phonics tracking documents are passed onto YR1 teachers.
- An EYFS end of year class summary is passed on to YR 1 teachers.
- Reception children visit their YR1 class and teacher during the end of the summer term for a session during the transition process.