Welcome to the Early Years!
The main purpose of Early Years education is to help children develop the skills and attitudes that they will need to live with others and that they will use throughout a lifetime of learning.
At Westbourne, our aim is to help your child become as independent as possible and to foster a love of learning by making it exciting and fun!
We have 3 Reception classes consisting of 30 children in each and our Nursery classes consist of 26 children in both the morning and afternoon sessions. In all of our EYFS classes, we provide welcoming, supportive, caring, happy, secure and stimulating environments where children are given equal opportunities to develop and learn in a way and pace appropriate to them as individuals.
Children enjoy a child led, play based curriculum which is enhanced through school trips, themed weeks and special days. They are encouraged to make connections in their learning through a creative, topic based approach led by the children’s interests. Children are able to engage with their learning through well-resourced, free-flow learning environments inside and outside the classroom which enable exploratory and child initiated play. Children participate in independent play activities, alongside more focused activities with adults, to practise specific skills.
The aims of the curriculum are to develop the whole child and place the foundation for happy, confident, well-adjusted, independent and educated individuals. Children will be encouraged to explore, reason, question and communicate- also to express their ideas and feelings through music, drama and imaginary play.
We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework which explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development and provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare.
Children will learn new skills, acquire new knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
The 3 Prime areas are:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Children will be provided with experiences and support which will help them to develop a positive sense of themselves and others, respect for others, social skills and a positive attitude towards learning.
This includes moving and handling, health and self-care. The physical development of young children must be encouraged through the provision of opportunities for them to be active and interactive. We aim for them to improve their skills of co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement. They will be supported in developing an understanding of the importance of physical activity and making healthy choices in relation to food.
Communication and Language
This includes helping children to develop their speaking and listening skills and their understanding.
The 4 specific areas of learning are:
Children will be encouraged to develop their reading and writing skills through a variety of purposeful child initiated and adult led activities.
Children will be supported to develop their understanding of problem solving and reasoning. They will have opportunities to explore, learn, practise and talk about their developing understanding and to develop their confidence.
Understanding the World
Children will develop the knowledge, skills and understanding that will help them make sense of the world. They will have opportunities to use a range of tools and materials and to encounter creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments and in real life situations.
Expressive Arts and Design
Children will have opportunities to explore and use media and materials and to be imaginative through music, movement, dance, role-play and design and technology activities.
Interconnected with the 7 areas of learning are the Characteristics of Effective Learning. They are categorised under three headings:
Playing and exploring
Active Learning and Creating
These characteristics describe how children learn rather than what they are learning.
Assessment in the Early Years
Assessment is ongoing throughout the EYFS (Nursery and Reception) but the official EYFS Profile for each child is completed in the final term of Reception. The assessment takes place through teacher observation of children’s learning and development as they take part in everyday activities and planned observations, where teachers spend time on a specific task with an individual child or small group. These observations also allow the staff to develop an environment which enriches the children’s play and helps them to progress in each area of learning.
Children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) in each area of learning. These outline the level of learning and development that children are expected to have reached by the end of the reception year at school.
There are three separate achievement levels within each Development Matters age band:
•Expected: your child is working at the level expected for his age
•Emerging: your child is working below the expected level
•Exceeding: your child is working above the expected level
Your child will be awarded one of these levels for each of the ELGs. On leaving the Early Years Foundation Stage at the end of Reception, a child is considered to have a ‘good level of development’ if they have achieved at least the expected level in the ELGs in all aspects of PSED, Physical Development, Communication and Language, Literacy and Mathematics. By working towards these goals, we make sure that the children have a firm foundation in which to start year 1.
At Westbourne, we aim to meet the diverse needs of all children so that most will achieve and some, where appropriate will exceed the Early Learning Goals by the end of their Reception year.
Your child's Learning Journey celebrates his/her experiences at home and at school. Over time, it will tell a story about your child’s learning, friends and the activities he or she enjoys sharing with others.
Staff at Westbourne watch and notice each child at play because it helps us to understand and support each individual’s well-being and development. We really get to know the children as unique people with special skills, interests and ideas. The more we understand about your special child, the better we can support them in the way that is right for them.
We welcome parents into school throughout the year so you can talk with your child about their learning journey. We also encourage you to contribute to it with family photographs or other things of significance for your child. We will regularly look through the learning journey with your child to remind them of all the happy times at school and to help them see their how they are progressing and this provides a starting point for talk about shared memories.
We offer all families a home visit as part of our admission process. These visits enable the child and family to meet the staff on home territory. This supports the settling in process in a positive way.
Starting Nursery and Reception
The Nursery and Reception classes will be a new environment for your child who will need to adjust to the new people, experience and a change in their normal routine. This can sometimes cause anxiety for you and your child. All children are individuals and may take some time to settle. We try to make the adjustments as easy as possible for everyone – this sometimes involves making arrangements for your child to settle at their pace. We ask all families to work in partnership with us this transition from home to school in the best possible way that meets your child’s needs.
Partnership with parents
Our parents are welcome to be actively involved in their children’s learning in school and are able to share learning experiences through ‘stay and play’ sessions, soft starts, learning journeys and parent workshops. We recognise that parents are the first educators in children’s lives and value contributions to judgements about children’s development. We use this information to support our assessments and share information about what children need to do next to develop and thrive.
Our friendly and enthusiastic members of the EYFS team are constantly updating their knowledge and experience of the Early Years and are committed to making sure every child reaches his or her full potential by setting work which is challenging, motivating and fun.