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Early Years Curriculum

Our bespoke Early Years curriculum has been designed by our passionate practitioners to promote teaching and learning, ensuring children’s school readiness and providing a broad range of knowledge and skills to give the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

Our curriculum follows the latest guidelines from the government, but we also add our own touch to make it fun and engaging for the children, their families and our school community. The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (September 2021) is at the heart of our curriculum. We have explored the guidance from both Development Matters (2021) and Birth to Five (2021).

This enables us to welcome every child into a wonderful and stimulating environment, where they can find lots of interesting and suitable things to play with and learn from. We listen to what each child likes and wants to know more about, and we set up playful spaces for them to explore, experiment, discover and master new skills. We let them lead their own learning journey, while we support them along the way. Our curriculum is flexible and responsive to the needs and abilities of every child, and we plan rich and meaningful learning opportunities for them to enjoy.

Weston Green’s Learner Profiles

Our Learner profile animals (Independent Badger, Collaborative Bee, Reflective Owl, Adventurous Squirrel, Creative Spider, Resilient Woodpecker), are at the heart of everything we do at Weston Green. We teach the children, from their arrival in Pre-Prep, about the different ways they learn and link those to the profile animals. This is hugely impactful on the childrens’ understanding of different ways to learn and grow.

Characteristics of Effective Learning

The Characteristics of Effective Learning describes the behaviours children use in order to learn and these link to our learner profiles and our values at Weston Green. We want our children to be excited and curious about learning new things, by encouraging them to try new things and learn from their mistakes. We help them to feel proud of their work and enjoy what they do. We support them to think creatively and take charge of their learning.

Why is this so important?

Providing a curriculum which encourages the characteristics of effective learning not only supports our children in the Early Years, but it links seamlessly into the Weston Green values (Adaptable, Aspirational, Curious, Gracious, Honest, Respectful) which are taught explicitly to the children from Lower Prep onwards.

Life adapts and changes endlessly and so we are committed to ensuring that change is represented in our curriculum and our pedagogy. As a team, we will keep these things under constant review – our ethos remains the same but the content and focus may differ.

Weston Goes Green helped us to focus on environmental education and sustainability has been weaved into our EY curriculum.

Zones of Regulation

Understanding and discussing our feelings through the Zones of Regulation approach has been key to our PSED activities and is enhancing the childrens’ vocabulary and awareness of having different feelings at different times. Effective dialogue and feedback has always been a strength in Early Years and we continue to ensure that the dialogue we have with our children is purposeful, high quality and developmental. We guide the children through their play, bringing new vocabulary and ideas into their world and then stepping back to watch them take this forward. We challenge them with questions and help them to understand their next steps and we model high quality talk, turn taking and feedback. By prioritising the skills involved in dialogue, we ensure our children are ready for the next stage in their educational journey.

Prime Areas of Learning

The Prime Areas of Learning are:

Communication and Language

  • Listening, Attention and Understanding
  • Speaking

Physical Development

  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Self-Regulation
  • Managing Self
  • Building Relationships

The Prime Areas are the golden thread which runs through everything we offer the children throughout their Early Years experience. Regardless if the children are in our Pre Prep or Reception, within Lower Prep, they will be continually exposed to experiences to support the development of these areas, which are vital in building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.

Specific Areas of Learning

The Specific Areas of Learning are:

Literacy

  • Comprehension
  • Word Reading
  • Writing

Mathematics

  • Number
  • Numerical Patterns

Understanding the World

  • Past and Present
  • People, Culture and Communities
  • The Natural World

Expressive Arts and Design

  • Creating with Materials
  • Being Imaginative and Expressive

The Specific Areas of Learning provide the content of our thematic curriculum, through which we enthuse and engage children in areas of learning and exploration they may not have encountered before. Whilst taking our lead from the children is absolutely vital, it is also important to provide them with a high quality diet of learning that they haven’t experienced before. Our curriculum is guided by high-quality texts which capture the imagination of the children and from which we can develop meaningful learning activities. Our children become Inventors, Storytellers, Scientists, Athletes, Doctors, Politicians, Naturalists (to name a few) – and that’s all just in one day!

We use open-ended, natural resources and focus on putting children at the heart of their own learning. At Weston Green, we achieve this through following topics which are based on the children’s personal interests, as well as involving pupils in collaborative projects and demonstrating through our ‘Working Wall’ displays, that skills and creations can be developed over time. We think carefully about the content we provide, to ensure it not only links to knowledge, skills and experiences they are constantly building but also provides a foundation on which to build for the future learning they will encounter.

EY Enrichment

The enrichment opportunities we offer the children from the moment they arrive in our Pre-Prep setting, to the time they are ready to take on the requirements of the National Curriculum from Year 1, are plentiful.

Learning is play-based and takes place indoors and outdoors. We fully utilise our setting: the classrooms, the outdoor space, our on-site Forest School, the school grounds, the Garden room with role play and sensory experiences and the local woods where our Forest School site is located.

Across Pre-Prep and Reception, there are many opportunities to take learning outside of the classroom. Our dedicated garden area enables pupils to enjoy their natural environment, have a go at gardening and investigate our Bug Hotel. Kindergarten and Reception children also benefit from regular Forest School sessions, led by our fully qualified Forest School Leader, in enchanting local woodland. The Forest School ethos encourages children to use their imagination, solve real-life problems using their own initiative, persevere through trial and error, and cooperate with their friends. These memorable sessions build confidence and self-esteem and always end with sitting together, sharing stories based on pupils’ experiences and enjoying a well earned hot chocolate.

The opportunities provided for our youngest children are impressive. Alongside the familiarity of important routines, we also ensure that no week is the same due to our immersive thematic curriculum, which is all based on the exploration of a good book. In addition to the aforementioned Forest School sessions, the children benefit from specialists who teach Gymnastics, Swimming, Yoga, Dance, Drama, Games, French and Music as well as access to excellent after school clubs.

Our brilliant practitioners offer gardening, cookery, science, art, construction and singing, to name just a few of their own passions which they bring to our Early Years offer. Delicious, freshly cooked lunches are enjoyed together in the Hall, providing vital social experiences alongside nutritious and healthy eating habits.

Our Early Years offer is further enhanced by a number of trips and visitors throughout the school year, such as theatre workshops, storyteller sessions and Reception’s annual trip to pick pumpkins at Garsons Farm, to name a few. The children’s performances to parents at Christmas time, Harvest and at other points throughout the year, also allow them to build their confidence and express their creativity.

Our unique approach to learning in the Early Years fits seamlessly with our Weston Green’s Learner Profiles, providing our youngest pupils with the wide-ranging skills that will enable them to become effective learners later in their lives, at Weston Green and beyond.