At Bethersden Primary School we adhere to the guidance stated in The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage March 2021. As stated in the framework we are dedicated to the belief that ‘every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential’.
We are ‘an inclusive learning community Dedicated to Excellence’ and in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) we strive to support, nurture and inspire children to achieve their own personal excellence. We understand that for a child to make good progress we must ensure that their wellbeing is fostered and curiosity to learn is ignited. Each unique child will come into reception with an individual starting point. Despite this, we aim high and reach for the stars for every single child and encourage them to reach their own personal excellence.
At Bethersden Primary School we aim to ensure that our continuous provision and learning environments both indoor and out provide opportunities for all three characteristics of effective teaching and learning identified by the EYFS Framework. These characteristics are:
• Playing and Exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
• Active Learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
• Creating and Thinking Critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things
These characteristics underpin learning and development across all areas and support the child to become a curious, motivated and lifelong learners.
We aim to ensure that children are provided with a learning environment that:
• Is safe and celebrates independence and uniqueness.
• Ignites curiosity and risk taking where a child knows that mistakes made can be turned into opportunities of learning and growth.
• Enables children to explore previous and new learning whilst following their own interests and being introduced to new opportunities to broaden experiences.
• In which staff do not control the play and learning but instead enhance through a thoughtful environment, child lead curriculum, caring ethos and high-quality adult interaction and questioning.
In addition, we value outdoor learning as much as indoor. We believe that a nature inspired outdoor approach in the early years supports our vision as a school, provides meaningful learning experiences and allows children to engage with their ‘hands, hearts and heads’ – Juliet Robertson, Messy Maths.
We also value and encourage parental engagement and we work in partnership with parents and carers to develop and nurture their children, to support them to flourish in everything they do with support from our online learning journal Tapestry.
According to the ‘Good Practice in Early Education’ Research Report, January 2017, good practice in relation to curriculum planning includes approaches that are:
• Tailored to individual needs
• Capitalise on children’s interests to achieve excellent learning outcomes
• Flexible and responsive so that plans are changed or adapted to follow the interests of the children and respond to external events
• Informed by on-going assessment
• Grounded in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework
In order to achieve our intent at Bethersden Primary School we follow the Cornerstones Curriculum which adheres to the EYFS Framework. The Cornerstones Curriculum is ambitious, concept-driven and knowledge-rich and is built on a sequenced knowledge and skills framework, the curriculum is informed by the latest findings from cognitive science about how children learn best. In addition, it can be easily adapted to meet the unique needs of our pupils and our school. The Cornerstones Curriculum in the EYFS at Bethersden allows us to deliver impactful and engaging lessons through a variety of projects and companion projects. Each project is delivered through a series of well-planned lessons built around Cornerstones’ four-stage pedagogy Engage-Develop-Innovate-Express.
Also, at Bethersden we carefully plan for both our indoor and outdoor classrooms that ignite curiosity and risk taking where a child knows that mistakes made can be turned into opportunities of learning and growth. It is important that our learning environments enable children to explore previous and new learning whilst following their own interests and being introduced to new opportunities to broaden experiences. We also ensure our EYFS team do not control the play and learning but instead enhance through a thoughtful environment, child lead curriculum, caring ethos and high-quality adult interaction and questioning. Children at Bethersden will be given the opportunity to play and learn outside of the classroom every day, no matter the weather.
Our parents and families are too encouraged to be part of their child’s learning journey through the use of Tapestry our online learning journal and through termly events such as ‘Books and Biscuits’ where families are invited into the classroom to take part in activities, celebrate their child’s learning and be part of the Bethersden family.
The national expectation is for children to achieve a ‘Good Level of Development’ (GLD), at the end of EYFS. GLD is when a child achieves ‘expected milestones within all strands within the prime areas of learning as well as all strands within literacy and maths’.
At the end of the EYFS at Bethersden we expect most children to have made GLD. In addition, we anticipate that our children will reflect the ‘Excellent 8’ dispositions in order to prepare them for their transition into Year 1 and for their learning journey throughout their years at Bethersden.