EARLY YEARS (ACORNS, NURSERY RECEPTION) CURRICULUM AT ST RICHARD'S
The school's Early Years Foundation Stage begins aged 2-3 years in Acorns, through to aged 3–4 years in Nursery and finishing aged 4–5 years in Reception Class. We passionately believe that a child's experience in the early years will have a significant impact on their future life and that early experiences will shape their lifelong love for learning.
The intention of our Early Years curriculum is therefore as follows:
To ensure children love being at St Richard's
To support children to become as independent as they can be, both in looking after themselves and in their learning, in an age appropriate way
To prioritise the 'characteristics of effective learning'*
To encourage children to ask questions and investigate
To develop children to become problem solvers and solution finders
To allow a child to develop at their own pace and in their own way
At St Richard's we pride ourselves on the warm, caring and nurturing environment. We work closely with families to ensure that all pupils feel settled and secure in their environment. An essential part of this is home-visits. These form the start of our joint journey of parent/school partnership and help foster valuable relationships which will continue throughout your child's time at the school. We know that our job as educators is enhanced by the hard work and support you give to your child at home.
Within the Early Years we have a balance of adult-led, adult-initiated and child-initiated play. Child-initiated play enables the children to self-select from the environment and lead their own learning and the various topics that they will encounter will be driven from the children's interests, thus allowing the children to plan their next stages of learning. Often the children transfer their toys and resources from one area to another, for example taking play dough into the home corner or mixing mud in the water tray. The adults will engage in the learning with the children becoming part of the play. Through these interactions and focused observation, adult-initiated and adult-led activities are carefully planned for each individual child's needs, taking into account the children's interests.
We are passionate about providing opportunities for children to learn in an outdoor environment and are very lucky to have such an amazing outdoor learning space, our own ‘classroom without walls’. As well as an appreciation for nature and the environment and ensuring an active lifestyle we know that the learning outdoors has many benefits. It develops essential social skills, encourages independence and promotes resilience to enable our pupils to become risk takers.
The characteristics of effective learning underpin everything that we do and we strive to ensure that we provide the pupils an opportunity to demonstrate and grow in these areas. We are passionate about providing fun, engaging and memorable moments for the children that help them to become sociable, confident and motivated thinkers and explorers who love coming to play at St Richard's.
When our children graduate from our Early Years classes they have developed a love of school and of learning. They have mastered the basic skills they need to begin the National Curriculum and, most importantly, they have developed the personal, social and emotional skilss to allow them to progress through school.
Below are two links to documents we think you will find really useful.
*The first is a link to 'Development Matters' . This is the document that sets our the Early Years Curriculum. We use this as a basis to plan and assess your children. In this document you can read about the 'seven areas of learning' and the 'characteristics of effective learning' mentioned above.
The second is a really useful guide for parents called 'What to Expect When?'. This will help you know how your child's learning and development is progressing.