Early Years Foundation Stage
Welcome to St. Bernadette’s Early Years Foundation Stage!
Our teaching team in Nursery consists of Miss Finnegan (Red Group), Miss Barron (Yellow Group), Mrs. Buchanan (Blue Group) and Mrs. O’Brien (Green Group).
The teaching team in Reception consists of Miss Deards and Miss O’Neill (RSD), Miss Fullerton and Mrs. Heeley (RPF) and Mrs. Dawood and Mrs. Robbins (RND).
Our school is a beacon of hope and a place that offers children in the EYFS an education rich in wonder and memorable experiences. We want our children to succeed in our ever-changing world; we hope our education gives our children the best chance to become happy and well-rounded individuals, reaching their full potential and fostering our school motto, ‘Love to Learn, Learn to Love’.
At St Bernadette’s School, we are committed to the Catholic faith, recognising and valuing every individual as special and unique, created in the image and likeness of God. We welcome and celebrate differences and our curriculum is designed to recognise children’s diverse range of experiences and prior learning from their previous settings and their home environment. We know the crucial role that early years education has to play in providing firm foundations upon which the rest of a child’s education is successfully based.
Our EYFS curriculum is driven by our four fundamental EYFS curriculum drivers:
Learn to Love, Love to Learn
We want children’s curiosity and creativity to be nurtured so their love for learning is ignited. Through developing learning behaviours, such as: playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically, we want children to be autonomous with their own learning and resilient. We want them to plan, implement and review this process and do it with integrity and become successful, lifelong learners.
Communication and language skills are the cornerstone of learning. We want our children to be able to speak clearly and process speech sounds, express their ideas and to understand and interact with others. We want them to develop an enriched vocabulary and a love for reading. Communication is the vehicle for learning, making friends and succeeding in life.
We want our children to develop a sense of pride in themselves and respect and tolerance for others in their immediate and school community, as well as the world that is beyond their local environment. They need opportunities to experience the richness of our diverse community and show they care about its management and sustainability. We want to cultivate partnerships with families and engagement in their child’s lifelong learning journey. We want children to develop a sense of citizenship in line with British Values. We follow the Values and Virtues from the Archdiocese of Birmingham's Catholic Schools’ Pupil Profile; we see them in action in our lives and in the lives of others and we work on how to encapsulate these values in our lives.
We are passionate about broadening the horizons of our children, providing rich learning opportunities and experiences to develop imagination, curiosity, creativity and ingenuity. Our children cannot aspire to things that they have never encountered; we want to expand their knowledge of the world in which we live.
Play Based Learning
Play underpins the Early Years Foundation Stage at St. Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School. When children play, they are learning at the highest level and through play, children develop language skills, their emotions and creativity, social and intellectual skills. Play takes place indoors and outdoors and it is in these different environments that children explore and discover their immediate world, practise new ideas and skills, take risks, show imagination and solve problems on their own or with others. We provide high quality planned and unplanned experiences for children’s play and our teaching team support children’s learning so that it is both enjoyable and challenging.
“The best kept classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky” Margaret McMillan (1925)
The outdoors provides young children with one of the best possible environments in which to learn.
Why is learning outdoor important:
Physical development is the pre-requisite for the children’s growth. It enhances the development of gross and fine motor skills, develops co-ordination, balance and body awareness.
It develops a life-long good habit of daily exercise, encouraging them to be active and healthy.
It provides the opportunity for assessed ‘risky’ freedom, where children can play and socialise freely and use their own imagination an initiative.
All the areas of learning can be achieved outside while the children’s long-term social, emotional and mental health are being enhanced.
Learning outside the classroom gives children contact with the natural world and offers them experiences that are unique to outdoors, such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons.
Playing and learning outside also helps children to understand and respect nature, the environment and the interdependence of humans, animals, plants, and lifecycles.
Outdoor play also supports children’s problem-solving skills and nurtures their creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for their developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.
The outdoor environment offers space and therefore is particularly important to those children who learn best through active movement. Very young children learn predominately through their sensory and physical experiences which supports brain development and the creation of neural networks.
For many children, playing outdoors at their early years setting may be the only opportunity they have to play safely and freely while they learn to assess risk and develop the skills to manage new situations.
At our school we have two well equipped outdoor areas, as well as a garden where the children can explore, learning and play. In addition to this, the children regularly visit the local EcoPark where they can experience, hands-on, pond dipping, mini-beast hunts, explore the seasons and build dens to name a few.
Our EYFS curriculum is judiciously balanced, with a focus on the knowledge and skills children need to flourish. It is based on wonder and awe, delivered through topics which engage the children. Each half term, children will cover a new topic. Topic overviews are created which stipulate real life experiences, key texts, rhymes and poems, parental involvement, Cultural Capital links, key festivals and events, as well as key skills and knowledge that will be covered during the topic. However, our children are given the opportunity to influence and plan the direction of their own learning by identifying what they already know, understand and would like to know about each new topic of work. Each topic is then flexibly delivered, incorporating an initial ‘Sparky Start’ to ‘hook’ the children’s imagination in their new topic.
Here you will find our Topic Overviews:
Parents as Partners
At our school we aim to build positive relationships with parents and to keep them informed of their child’s learning. We encourage parents to have an input in their child’s learning by asking them to complete regular Proud Clouds, informing us of the wonderful triumphs their children have achieved at home. Parents are welcomed each Friday to storytelling sessions with their children, where they can choose storybooks to borrow and share at home.
In addition to this, we provide many workshops and parent events throughout the year such as; Phonics Open Week, A Journey to Writing Workshop (gross and fine motor skills), Maths Open Week, Stay and Play sessions, Bedtime Story Session, Christmas Craft Workshop, Christmas Nativity Play, Mother’s Day Picnic, Father’s day Den Building, Parent and child Prayer Services and EYFS Mass.
There's more to mathematics than just counting! Children learn about maths through play and their daily experiences and the more meaningful to them and hands on it is, the better. Our Nursey and Reception (both indoors and out) is full of mathematical opportunities and has exciting things for children to explore, sort, compare, count, calculate and describe. This supports them to be creative, critical thinkers, problem solvers and to have a go and to be resilient.
EYFS Mathematics Overview
Click here to visit our Mathematics area of our school website for more information.
At St. Bernadette’s Catholic School we foster a love of reading from the onset, sharing stories, poems and rhymes to develop vocabulary and comprehension. We have selected a number of high, quality texts to support a love of reading.
We also follow Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’, this is a multi-sensory approach, introducing a simple way to inspire young children's language development through storytelling. Our children learn language through memorable, meaningful repetition. The ‘Talk for Writing’ approach enables children to internalise the language of story so that they can imitate it, innovate on it and create their own effective stories independently, allowing their language development and creativity to flourishes.
We have a secure, systematic, synthetic phonics programme taught from the beginning of Reception, with phase 1 listening and attention activities being the focus in our Nursery. Our children have many opportunities to read and reread books that match their phonics stage. We also have a robust assessment system in place to quickly pick up children falling behind and thus we are able to give these children targeted support.
Check out our Reading area on our school website for more information.