‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child's experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances.’
Our aims and principles
At Burbage we aim to provide the highest quality care and education for all our children thereby giving them a strong foundation for their future learning. We create a safe and happy environment with motivating and enjoyable learning experiences that enable children to become confident and independent. We value the individual child and work alongside parents and others to meet their needs and help every child to reach their full potential.
We adhere to the Statutory Framework of the EYFS and the four guiding principles that shape practice within Early Years settings.
- Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
- Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
- Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers
- Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates
As part of our practice we:
- Provide a balanced curriculum, based on the EYFS, across the seven areas of learning, using play as the vehicle for learning
- Promote equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice. We provide early intervention for those children who require additional support
- Work in partnership with parents and within the wider context
- Plan challenging learning experiences, based on the individual child, informed by observation and assessment
- Provide opportunities for children to engage in activities that are adult-initiated and child-initiated, supported by the adult
- Provide a secure and safe learning environment indoors and out
Children are provided with a range of rich, meaningful first-hand experiences in which they can explore, think creatively and be active. We aim to develop and foster positive attitudes towards learning, confidence, communication and physical development.
We plan weekly as a team ensuring coverage from our long-term plan (see below). Our weekly planning, alongside our observations, remains flexible for unplanned circumstances or children’s responses. Parents/carers and children are encouraged to be involved in planning through completion of ‘current interests’ questionnaires. We aim to include children’s interests and fascinations, parents’ talents and local and worldwide cultural events e.g. Chinese New Year and the Olympics. We encourage parents/carers with specific skills and cultural backgrounds to assist with lessons whenever possible (e.g. teaching about how Brazilians celebrate birthdays, speaking about being a police officer or showing a new baby)
The curriculum is delivered using a play-based approach as outlined by the EYFS.
‘Each area of learning and development must be implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities’
We plan a balance between children having time and space to engage in their own child-initiated activities and those that are planned by the adults. During children’s play, early years practitioners interact to stretch and challenge children further.
EYFS 'on a page'.
EYFS long term plan (click)
For further information on the EYFS curriculum, please see the pages of specific curriculum subject areas.
Further EYFS curriculum information for parents and carers
What will my child learn?Curriculum overview
Your child will be taught using the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. This continues on from the curriculum used by the pre-school providers.
The curriculum is split into seven learning areas (see below) with the emphasis that all children learn best through play.
- Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
- Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
- Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
- Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
- Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
- Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
- Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
On entry to school the class teacher will undertake a baseline assessment of each child.
This, along with our regular ongoing observations, will help highlight progress already made in Literacy, Numeracy and Personal and Social skills. An individual curriculum for each child can then be planned. This assessment continues throughout the year with the completion of the Foundation Stage Profile before your child moves into Year One and begins to work on the National Curriculum. Progress made through the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum will be reported on during the Parent Consultations in the Autumn and Spring Terms and in the final written report in the Summer term. Please feel free to come to discuss any aspect of your child's schooling with the class teacher at any other time of the school year.
We use an online provider to record observations at school. You will receive further information regarding this.
Your child will undertake a range of reading related activities every day in school. In addition, he or she will have the opportunity to change his / her individual reading book twice weekly (Monday and Friday) by school. Short notes about how you feel your child has done are very useful. Please sign the reading record to show that your child has read at home and to show that the book needs changing. We will not change books that have not been signed in the reading record.
Your child may also participate in guided reading with the class teacher. Guided reading involves the children reading in a group on a text that is a challenge to the group. The teacher focuses on specific areas of reading with the group. These books will not be sent home but a record will be made in the reading record.
Your child will also receive words to learn at home. These are called ‘tricky words’ and they will be sent home on a bookmark. Once your child knows the words in a set, we will replace the bookmark with new words.
All children progress with their reading at different rates. Please do not worry if other children in the class are reading different books. We strongly believe that reading should not become a chore or competition and it is important that, together, we help nurture a love for reading that will be with your child for the rest of their life.
In order to become confident and fluent readers all children will learn their sounds using Active Learn Phonics Bug in conjunction with the Jolly Phonics pictures and actions. This involves your child learning the 44 phonemes (sounds) used in the English Language during his / her first year at school. It begins with sounds that are represented by one grapheme (letter) for example, 's' and 'a' and progresses to phonemes which are represented by two letters, for example, 'll', 'ai' and ch'.
We use the Jolly Phonics scheme because it has a high success rate with all types of learners due to its visual, auditory and kinaesthetic approach. When your child learns a letter he / she will see a picture, hear a sound and make an action to represent that phoneme. The children use the words 'phoneme', 'grapheme' and 'vowel' from the day they begin school and it soon becomes part of their everyday vocabulary.
Your child will receive a 'Phonics Book' and phonics ‘keyring’ which will be sent home on a daily basis. This enables you to support your child with his / her Literacy development. If you would like to discuss this further, or need any advice, please come to speak to your child's class teacher.
Please ensure that you use only ‘pure sounds’ when reading and spelling with your child – these are highlighted in the phonics book and will be the sounds your child produces when prompted by the Jolly Phonics pictures.
We may provide you with weekly ‘At home tips…’ in the Link Book which link to our learning for the week.
Homework is only occasionally sent home, however, it is always a practical, fun activity. It may involve going on a number hunt, measuring ingredients to use when baking or acting out a favourite story using masks. All homework is completely optional at this age, but with your support your child will make more progress and it allows you to share what has been learnt in school.
Links with home
We provide each child with their own 'Home-School Link Book' to record information between school and home. Please use this book to tell us about home-time collection arrangements, illnesses or anything else you feel may affect your child's happiness at school. Your child should hand the book to us if there is a message in it.
We will let you know what your child is learning through a weekly Tapestry notification. This will give ideas of what you can do at home to support your child's learning at school.
We will, on occasion, ask you to fill in an information sheet about your child. This helps inform us about significant changes in learning or behaviour and current interests. It enables us to plan a more appropriate curriculum for your child.
In addition to this, you will be able to view your child’s progress through ‘Tapestry’.
Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA)
Every teacher in the UK receives a proportion of their teaching time out of the classroom every week in order to prepare for the curriculum. At Burbage Primary we ensure that this is undertaken by qualified teachers or sports coaches who have experience of the EYFS and National Curriculum. We use the same teachers every week and your child will be equally comfortable and happy with his / her regular teacher as with the PPA teacher. Our PPA time is on Tuesday afternoons and we currently offer a combination of PE lessons with Mr Hill and Spanish lessons with Seňora De Jager.
Mathematics in EYFS
There are two ELGs in maths – number and numerical patterns. These are broken down into a further three areas (see below). At the end of the year we will make a judgement about whether each child has achieved the statements within the areas.
- Have a deep understanding of number to 10, including the composition of each number.
- Subitise (recognise quantities without counting) up to 5.
- Automatically recall (without reference to rhymes, counting or other aids) number bonds up to 5 (including subtraction facts) and some number bonds to 10, including double facts.
- Verbally count beyond 20, recognising the pattern of the counting system.
- Compare quantities up to 10 in different contexts, recognising when one quantity is greater than, less than or the same as the other quantity.
- Explore and represent patterns within numbers up to 10, including evens and odds, double facts and how quantities can be distributed.
Throughout the school we teach ‘mastery of maths’. You will notice that EYFS children are expected to have an in-depth knowledge of number within 10. There is no expectation that children will learn numbers to 100. This concept means that the children have a much greater depth of knowledge rather than racing to bigger numbers without really understanding what the numbers actually mean.
We want to develop children’s number sense so that they understand the number rather than just recognising the numeral. Children need to understand that numbers can be represented in many ways, not just as a written numeral. We use many different objects and pictures to show that numbers can be represented in lots of ways.
Children sometimes need lots of practise recognising numbers in different forms. We will be playing many games to encourage children to recognise and make different amounts in our indoor and outdoor areas.
When counting, children need to understand:
- That we need to say one number for each object counted.
- The final number we say is how many altogether. Some children continue to count after they have reached the final object as they don’t connect the numbers they are saying to the objects in front of them.
- That we can count objects in any order and the total stays the same.
Once a child has mastered 1-1 counting they can then develop their ability to recognise small amounts without the need to count them. This is called ‘subitising’. At first, children need to count concrete objects but as their maths develops they will ‘see’ a number rather than counting it – a bit like when you and I look at a dice and know that it is showing six dots. We may also know that there are nine cats in a picture if they are lined up in three rows of three (arrays). Being able to subitise will aid your child’s ability to add and subtract and will be a vital factor in his/her ability to recall and compare number bonds e.g. knowing that 4 + 1 equals 5 and that this give you the same total as 3 + 2.
Understanding that the total stays the same even when the object move
When children first start to use number, they often do not understand that if we move objects into another arrangement the total stays the same. We practise this with many different types of objects but a useful tool is using a tens frame to be able to move counters around. As you can see below, there are always five dots on the ten frame.
Reasoning in maths helps children to be able to explain their thinking, therefore making it easier for them to understand what is happening in the maths they are doing. It helps them to know how to solve a problem, explain how they solved it and to think about what they could do differently.
In EYFS some examples of reasoning are:
- True and false statements eg True or false… if we add one to a number it always makes it smaller?
- Spotting incorrect maths eg 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,7,9,10
- Explaining how we know something or how we worked it out.
Problem solving in maths allows children to use their maths skills in lots of contexts and in situations that are new to them. It allows them to seek solutions, spot patterns and think about the best way to do things.
In EYFS problem solving might include:
- Spotting, following and creating patterns
- Estimating amount of objects
- Predicting how many times they can do something in a minute
- Sharing objects between groups
- Finding different ways to partition numbers eg 5 could be 5+0, 4+1, 3+2 etc
How can I help at home?
- Count everything – steps up the stairs, fish fingers on a plate
- Ask children to say how many they see without counting first
- Play games with dice/dominoes (can they subitise?)
- Ask children to set the table for dinner (1-1 correspondence)
- Spot numbers in the environment
- Deliberately make mistakes, children need to understand that mistakes are ok to make and that we all do it!
- Watch Numberblocks on Cbeebies (we will use this as a focus for our maths lessons too)
- Hide numbers around the house to find and then sequence them
- Read books with maths in such as The Hungry Caterpillar.
- Talk about when things happen e.g. on Wednesday you always go swimming. Tomorrow it is Saturday and we will go to see Granny.
- Make your own arrays – collect 10 stones and line them up in different patterns e.g. lines of 2s or lines of 5s to see what it looks like. Is it possible to line them up in lines of 3s or 4s?
The great thing about maths is its always happening around you and your child and it can be done in a fun and practical way – you’ll be doing it all the time with your child without them realising it!
As always, if you would like any further advice or support please do not hesitate to ask.
Phonics in the EYFS
In Early Years children will be introduced to phonics once they have settled into their new routines. This is the method in which we teach children to read.
Within the first few weeks of being at school we check what the children already know. For example…
- Can they hear initial sounds within words? Do they know it is ‘m’ for ‘monkey’?
- Can they hear words when they are spelt out (sounded out) e.g. can they hear the word when we say ‘c-a-t’?
- Which letters of the alphabet does your child recognise?
- Does your child speak in full sentences using everyday language?
During Reception/EYFS and KS1 (Years 1 & 2) we teach phonics in short, regular sessions, as well as across the curriculum and when appropriate. Children may be grouped, within year groups, according to the phase they are working on. This allows us to meet their learning needs more effectively.
One of the first things we prioritise is hearing sounds. Phase 1 phonics is all about hearing different sounds and identifying what is making them e.g. an instrument, a car, someone singing etc. This will help when it comes to hearing the sounds in words. We also focus on rhyme and hearing sounds (particularly initial sounds) in words.
Once the children have a secure foundation in phase 1 then they are ready to move onto Phase 2 phonics. At this stage we introduce the following vocabulary:
A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a language; it is the sound a letter, or group of letters, make. There are 44 phonemes in the English language. We represent phonemes with graphemes.
A grapheme is a symbol of a phoneme. It is a letter or number of letters that represent a sound (phoneme). Graphemes can comprise of one letter ; two letters such as ‘sh’ in ship; three letters such as ‘tch’ in hatch or four letters such as ‘eigh’ in eight. There is always the same number of graphemes in a word as phonemes. This is stage at which children begin to recognise the graphemes (the visual representation of a sound – a phoneme).
The Phase 2 phonics are broken down into sets.
At this point, children learn to identify the visual representation (grapheme) of a phoneme. They identify the phonemes they can hear in words and begin to blend* and segment* the phonemes together to make words when reading and writing. We will also teach them to form the letters correctly and to recognise the capital letter.
Blending involves hearing the constituent phonemes and being able to merge them together to make a word. This skill needs to be developed orally before the children will be able to blend written words for reading. E.g. /m/-/a/-/n/ = man
Segmenting is hearing a whole word then splitting it up into its constituent phonemes. For
example, splitting ‘that’ into /th/-/a/-/t/. This skill needs to be developed orally before the children will be able to segment words when spelling for writing.
*Blending and segmenting are reversible.
Once phase 2 is complete (usually before Christmas) we move onto phase 3. This is the stage at which most of the 2 letter graphemes are introduced (digraphs). They will begin to identify vowel combinations which make the longer vowel sounds e.g. ‘ai’, ‘ee’ and ‘or’.
We will typically follow this order:
Set 6: j, v, w, x
Set 7: y, z, zz, qu.
Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng.
Vowel digraphs and trigraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er.
We follow the Active Learn ‘Phonics Bug’ programme that sets out the letters and sounds that need to be taught and in which order.
Jolly Phonics is another means by which we teach the graphemes/phonemes and this is taught alongside Active Learn.
Children learn to associate a sound, an action and an image with a grapheme/letter; it appeals to children’s different learning styles. The children enjoy learning new actions and phonemes/sounds and are soon able to use their knowledge when reading and writing.
The resources we use for spelling and images on display in class link to Jolly Phonics ensuring continuity for the children throughout.
We use the jolly phonics songs in class to support teaching the phonemes/graphemes. These can be accessed at home using Youtube. This link will take you to them… Youtube Jolly Phonics
We will send out two reading books a week. The book received on a Monday is always a phonic reader (usually from the Phonic Bug scheme). This book will correlate with the stage of phonics that your child has reached. Your child should be able to use blending and segmenting to work out the words they cannot read by sight. The weekend book will be chosen by your child from a variety of different reading schemes. It may have some words he/she can blend but many they will not. You may need to support your child more when reading these books until your child builds up a good sight vocabulary*.
These are words your child can read without blending. Words such as ‘it’ and ‘but’ may need to be blended at the beginning of the year but they will become sight vocabulary as your child reads more and they will recognise them immediately. Other words such as ‘was’ or ‘she’ will need to be learnt by sight as these are ‘tricky words’ and cannot be blended. See more information about tricky words* below.
These are words that are commonly used in the English Language but cannot be broken down to be read with blending or spelt using segmenting. These words need to be learnt by memory. Each phase (starting at phase 2 and progressing to phase 5) has a set of words linked to it. Some children find it easy to learn words by sight and may recognise all the words from these four phases very quickly. For other children, this will be more difficult and they will want to blend the letters to try to read the words. We recommend that you spend some time every week looking at one or two of the words, starting with the words in the phase 2 set, to begin to build up your child’s sight vocabulary. We will work on them in class and may send out further resources to help you support your child at home too. We will send these out within the first half term.
Other reading resources in your child’s reading pack…
Phonics booklet – this has the pictures and actions linked to the Jolly Phonics scheme we use to support reading. Use this to look at the letters and learn the actions.
Flashcards - these can be used at home for grapheme recognition and word building.
The cards can be taken off the treasury tag and used to make words.
We may, occasionally send home a little game that we think may be fun to play at home. This may help with a specific grapheme, word building or word recognition.
Please try to keep all reading resources, including this letter (for your future reference) in your child’s reading pack (along with their reading book and reading record) so that we can use them in class too.
Does it matter how the phonemes are pronounced by those teaching and learning?
Some children will pick up the skill of blending (for reading) quickly even though the phonemes are not being clearly pronounced. However, for others this proves a more challenging task; some children will struggle to make hat when phonemes are pronounced ‘huh-a-tuh’. Therefore, as we teach the phonemes it is important that only the ‘pure sounds’ are used and encouraged to ensure that blending for reading is an easier task. The easiest way to describe this is to make the shortest sound possible when pronouncing a phoneme (the sound a letter ‘makes’).
Is there anything I can get to support my child at home?
The main phonics teaching input will be done at school but you can support your child by reading
and looking at the tricky words at home. You can also play games such as ‘I spy’ or simple rhyming games. Looking at favourite books and predicting the rhymes is great for this. We also enjoy making up lists of rhyming words (even if the words are made up or a bit silly!). You can spot graphemes around the environment and, when your child is ready to, try to blend words that you see e.g. ‘b-u-s s-t-o-p’.
There are also lots of apps and websites designed to support your child’s reading that you may like to look at. Below are just a few…
- Jolly Phonics
- Pocket phonics (to support letter formation)
- Teach your monster to read (this is occasionally free so worth keeping an eye on over the next few months)
There are a number of useful websites or Youtube pages which are full of enjoyable activities and songs.
- We use many of the activities from Phonics Play during our phonics sessions. www.phonicsplay.co.uk. Some of these games are free if you want to access them at home.
- The ‘phonics song’ on YouTube written and performed by A.J. Jenkins shows you how to correctly pronounce the phonemes (except ‘z’ which is pronounced like a bee buzzing). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saF3-f0XWAY
- ‘Mr Mc Boom shake the alphabet’ song (helps children to identify graphemes and learn letter names) https://www.google.com/search?q=mr+mc+boom+shake+the+alphabet&rlz=1C1CHWA_enGB624GB625&oq=mr+mc+boo&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l5.8842j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
- Jolly Phonics songs phase 2’ (and then later phase 3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvAYUvQUrGo
- BBC Alphablocks TV programmes https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/shows/alphablocks
We are aware that this is a lot of information and new terminology to digest. If you have any questions or worries about anything we have shared on this sheet we would recommend that you contact one of the EYFS teachers via Tapestry or at the end of the school day so that we can help.
Writing in the EYFS
Writing is often the trickiest area for young children to master. There are so many elements attached to being a successful writer:
- Can I think of an idea to write?
- Can I hear the phonemes and spell the word?
- Do I have good control of my pencil? Can I form the letters?
Stages of writing
Early writing starts as soon as your child first picks up a crayon, pen, paintbrush or any other mark making tool. Making those early marks is an important stage in developing the fine motor control he or she needs to be able to write letters in the future. Young children progress through various stages of pencil hold (see below) and, at school, we aim for children to develop a strong tripod grip.
If you would like further advice on how to help your child develop a tripod grip then this website may be useful: click here.
Once your child began to mark-make their writing will have developed through various stages. This chart shows how writing develops:
During the EYFS we aim to develop your child’s fine motor control with lots of activities designed to strengthen those core muscles. We will teach your child how to form the letters correctly which will help them to develop a neat and legible style which will enable them to join the letters in the future. We will learn to write through phonics – hearing the phonemes in words so that we can write the graphemes down. We will talk to them about their ideas ensuring that they learn what a ‘sentence’ is so that they can write in them. We will talk to them about punctuation – how do we know we have reached the end of a sentence? What will we use to show that it is the beginning of a sentence?
These are the ELGs in writing that we will be using to assess the children at the end of the year:
Children at the expected level of development will:
- Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed;
- Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters;
- Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.
ELG: Fine Motor Skills
Children at the expected level of development will:
- Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing – using the tripod grip in almost all cases;
What can I do to support my child at home?
All mark making is writing – don’t describe it as ‘scribbling’ instead, ask your child what they have written and value all their marks.
Provide lots of opportunity to write at home – a variety of different pens, paper, notepads, post-it notes etc. Setting up role play areas often encourages children to write e.g. a santa’s grotto at Christmas or a café for them to take orders. You can also encourage your child to help you e.g. making a shopping list (although expect lots of orders of ‘choclat’ and ‘tois’!)
Gently encourage a tripod grip – support your child in being able to use one more naturally using the tips provided in the link above.
Support your child to form letters correctly. We have attached a letter formation sheet to this document to help with this. You can also use the app ‘pocket phonics’ to help with this area.
Practise writing your child’s name – it is important that they are able to identify their work at school.
Don’t expect fast progress - writing takes a long time to develop and happens over time. Some children find it easier than others and the main thing is to look at your own child’s progress and work on the areas your child needs first.
Allow your child to use guides to support their writing. We always provide the children at school with grapheme cards to help them make their selection. There is a useful alphabet guide stuck in the front of the phonics book in your reading packs.
Make writing fun – give lots of encouragement – as we mentioned at the start of this, writing can prove to be very challenging to some children. We find that lots of positive encouragement aids children’s self-belief which then leads to greater perseverance and resilience.