In Early Years we have high academic ambition for all children. Our curriculum is designed to provide rich, varied and imaginative experiences that intends to enthuse, engage and motivate children to learn and achieve highly.
Our Lady of Hartley Early Years values of high expectations for all, learning through high quality play and developing the whole child are shared and promoted by all. Children benefit from meaningful learning experiences across all seven areas of the Early Years curriculum, enabling them to make links in their learning and to the wider world.
There is a sharp focus on the prime areas of learning, including communication and language. A language rich environment and core texts used as a key stimulus for learning develops vocabulary and language skills for all children. Talk For Writing is used regularly to immerse children in language and promote a love of reading and stories.
The teaching of phonics has a high priority in the Early Years. Little Wandle Letters and Sounds is used to ensure that phonics is taught systematically in order for children to build their knowledge and skills effectively. Children are taught through discrete phonics lessons as well as having regular opportunity to explore phonic activities within the learning environment.
The implementation of our Early Years curriculum and care practices in place promote and support children’s emotional security and character development. The commitment to holistic development and clear focus on the prime areas of learning enables children to develop social and emotionally, providing and strong foundation for learning later on in their schooling.
At Our Lady of Hartley, Early Years practitioners use Development Matters to support the early learning of young children as part of daily observation, assessment and planning. It can also be used at points during the EYFS as a guide to making best-fit summative judgements.
The age/stage bands overlap because these are not fixed age boundaries but suggest a typical range of development. When using Development Matters it is however important to remember that babies, toddlers and young children develop at their own rates and in their own ways.
The EYFS development statements and their order are not necessary steps for every child and should not be used as checklists.