In our Nursery and Reception, we follow the Early Years Statutory Framework (2021, DfE) which sets the standards of learning, development and care for children from birth to 5 years. The framework identifies the learning and development requirements in the Early Years and provides the foundations of what we must cover in our curriculum.
There are seven key areas that drive our curriculum from the framework. Each individual learning and development area is just as important as the other, and they interconnect to ensure that learning is consistent, relevant and provides children with the wide range of lifelong skills needed for day to day life. The prime areas consist of three areas of learning which lay the foundations for lifelong learners-
Communication and Language
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
The four specific areas deepen knowledge and allows the children to apply the prime areas-
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
In addition to the Early Years Statutory Framework, our curriculum has been designed with the unique child in mind. We value each and every child's interests and needs, and we ensure high quality relationships are built early between adults and children in order to form the foundations of learning and enabling next steps. We understand the crucial impact our curriculum has upon cultural capital, and we pride our ability to develop practice to support the knowledge, understanding and skills required for progression and success.
The Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning supports the implementation of our curriculum through a balance of child-initiated and adult-directed activities. Children at Nottingham Academy take part in daily English, Maths and Phonics lessons alongside regular circle time sessions which focus on Communication and Language and PSED to support our EYFS priorities. Our lessons are then followed by small group or 1:1 focus activities where children work alongside an adult to develop understanding, target misconceptions and facilitate next steps. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum, and this drives our book led approach to provision where children have access to a wide range of high quality texts which influences our themes and topics. We use our texts to drive our vocabulary development through the use of the FANTASTICs to ensure children have the opportunity to master basic vocabulary. We then build upon this by introducing children to more ambitious vocabulary through our daily talk and write sessions and through adults modelling in play situations. Children are always keen to read and share stories, which empowers our reading for pleasure culture. Alongside teacher led sessions and activities, children also have access to enriched play based learning opportunities. Our continuous provision is strategically planned and implemented in order to target key priorities whilst still providing open-ended activities which enhance children’s engagement, curiosity and love of learning. Following the children’s interests provides a foundation in which the core elements of the EYFS framework can truly be developed. It is allows children to develop their imagination, social skills and wellbeing, and with high quality adult interaction and modelling, next steps are identified and targeted in the moment of learning. Alongside our core collaborative and cooperative learning principles, every child in our EYFS is provided with the opportunity to progress and succeed.
What is key to us in the Early Years is that each and every child in our care is happy, confident and well-rounded. We strongly believe that when a child is secure in themselves and the environment around them, they will thrive in all areas of their life. Our aim is to ensure that each child makes good progress from their varied starting points during their time in our EYFS, which will provide them with the best possible start in life. We strive for children to achieve the GLD in each of the learning areas, and this ensures that children transition into Year 1 with the foundations and key knowledge needed to access the National Curriculum confidently. In order to facilitate progress, we implement ongoing assessment as a fundamental aspect of the learning process. We use learning journeys and observations as formative assessment, which supports our in-depth understanding of each child and identifies next steps for future planning. Alongside this, we use summative assessments each half term to monitor the children who are on track and not on track to achieve the GLD. This allows the implementation of accurate and relevant interventions which supports key children in the highlighted priority areas of learning. Through pupil progress meetings and regular data analysis we are then able to ensure all children are making good rates of progress, including vulnerable groups such as those with SEND, EAL, pupil premium or summer born children. We pride our ability to adapt through high quality planning and delivery, and we value the importance of such key information and data to enhance our provision. In order to support and assess our judgements made, we take part in both internal and external moderations with local schools and other trusts.