Foundation Stage

The Foundation Stage at Harleston Church of England Primary Academy
Where the emotional, physical and mental well-being of your child work together in harmony.

Our Ethos – Early years equals expertise, passion and love. All our children become resilient, self-regulating, motivated, happy, confident and independent individuals with high self-esteem, ready to embrace life’s challenges with a strong desire to learn.

Our holistic and sensory classes and outdoor spaces are the perfect setting for your child’s imagination and creativity to blossom. In Early Years, your child will always come first. We believe learning comes naturally when your child is happy and settled and given the right environment to develop. Child-lead learning and high quality interactions are key, shaped and guided by our highly-qualified and experienced staff, that provide a balance of child and adult initiated learning.  Topics of interest are taught each week and led by your children.

Our Environment

At Harleston CE Primary Academy, we have our own 52 place Nursery with 26 spaces available for each session.  We also have a Pre-school Nursery on site which is run on behalf of Norfolk County Council.  Children transition easily from each setting since we share the same grounds.

A learning environment to explore

The Nursery is run by very experienced practitioners led by a fully qualified teacher, Miss Ingram.  Parents are full of positive comments about our Nursery:

“The Nursery experience has been brilliant…” “there is such willingness from the staff to help and advise…….you are all very friendly and supportive…..my child’s speech has got 10 times better……there are always plenty of interesting activities available…you all do a really good job.”

Above all, our staff care!

Our staff are highly trained individuals who make it their job to look after your most prized possession. We invest in our staff; they are our strongest asset. They are highly experienced alongside being, runners, gardeners, swimmers, cooks, artists, horse riders, cyclists, grandmothers and parents ……they are each their own character and all bring something different to our classes. Our aim is to deliver the best possible experience for your child, that’s why we invest in qualified and experienced childcare practitioners who care, support and encourage every child that comes through our doors. Our staff make sure everyone is given the time they need to explore, to create and to just be!

Reception

Our Reception classes are taught by Mrs Beaumont who is the Foundation Stage Leader, and Mrs Botwright.   A large team of support staff make up the team.  Children in our classes learn best when they experience learning first hand, through meaningful interactions with others, through physical activity and through play.  Topics of learning are changed frequently and are directed by the interest of the children.

Our Classrooms

Light, airy, welcoming and open spaces are a feature of our Early Years as are natural colours and furnishings. They help us create a calming, safe and secure space that helps the children feel free while at the same time enabling them to concentrate better when they need to. We provide a stimulating, challenging learning environment which is a home away from home.

It’s a warm and friendly place where children are encouraged to explore with their feet, their hands and with their minds. It’s a place where they can have fun, where they can play, talk and learn together. It’s a place where they can listen and find their own space if they need it. And it’s a place where they can take some time just to ‘be’ discovering the value of self-reflection. Our learning environment is a place where children develop into happy, confident and independent individuals, where consistent rules, routines and boundaries are in place enabling independent learning and discovery.  All staff maintain high expectations at all times, enabling your child to flourish and excel. 

Education

The Foundation Stage encompasses your child’s time spent in Nursery and Reception and during these two years, the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum is followed. There are 7 areas of learning within this, however all areas are integrated and taught holistically as opposed to discreet subjects. In Nursery, there is an initial emphasis on the 3 Prime Areas of Learning which are Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language. These 3 Prime Areas feed into the other 4 areas of learning which are; Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design.

Throughout the Early Years environment, our key focus is following the interests of each child in order to support, challenge, engage and enhance both individual and group learning. Our learning environment is continually adapted to cater for the children’s next steps in learning. Every day your child will be transported to magical worlds and creative spaces where inspiration lives at the end of the fingertips. We believe in helping shape socially adept, happy children who have a strong sense of self, a sense of adventure, are self-regulating, multi functioning and have a strong desire to learn.

We’ll help your child develop mastery in numeracy and literacy through our innovative approach to early years education.

Your child will build on their early reading, writing and number skills acquired during Nursery and you can share in their adventures via Tapestry and add experiences and new learning achieved at home.  Following the Letters and Sounds scheme of work and Jolly Phonics, your child will begin to say the sound of each letter of the alphabet and blend these sounds together to read simple words.  They will learn how to segment sounds in words and apply them in their writing.  They will take an interest in letters and words in the environment and with our guidance and your support at home, make accelerated progress.

In 2019 75% of children achieved a Good Level of Development, compared to 72% Nationally.

Reading and Writing – Following the guidance provided on your weekly newsletter will support your child’s learning at home.  Share stories every day, listen to your child read, practise spelling regular words, writing their names and encourage them to hear sounds as they occur in words and match these to letters.  Write shopping lists together and make cards and invitations for friends and family.

Numeracy – Whether they are counting shells, counting the stairs as they climb, spotting numbers on house doors, playing board games, or completing puzzles, your child will be developing problem solving and number recognition.

Outdoor Learning

Each Reception class has access to challenging but safe outside spaces where children can explore, climb, run, discover, gaze and think. We also deliver excellent outdoor learning opportunities and forest school activities where they have learnt the rules of forest safety, built dens, climbed trees, enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies around the camp fire, retold stories, been on magic adventures and hunted for mini beasts and wildlife. We provide opportunities to extend each child’s understanding and learning using resources that promote communication, well-being and creativity. Young children learn from everything around them – the people, the environment, the atmosphere, the rules and routines and their daily experiences. All aspects of children’s growth and development are woven together. In “normal” school years without the impact of Covid-19, we embrace the local community and all it has to offer and the children regularly meet and listen to inspirational visitors during our Values led Collective Worship, take part in Christian services at St John’s Church, visit the local library and enjoy a Summer school trip. 

Parents as Partners

In “normal”, non-Covid-19 homes, children and their families would enjoy a Welcome Meeting and optional home visit which takes place which takes place before the children start school.  This precious time enables staff and families to bond, work and communicate with each other in a confident, and open partnership.  Working closely with parents/carers is another of our top priorities.  The early years education of your child will lay the foundations for all the years to come. Making sure your child gets the best possible start is something that every parent wants and it’s what we deliver, working closely in partnership with you.

Parent, child and staff questionnaires are given out throughout the year and these ensure that all voices are heard and valued and the practice and provision offered, is continually developed and improved as much as possible.  Our Tapestry online learning journeys enable parents to access their child’s learning journey at their choice, are informed of their next steps in learning and parents frequently reply to the observations made and contribute evidence of learning that has taken place at home thus making our working partnership even closer.

We hope to return quickly before the end of 2020 to welcoming parents into school to enjoy “Come and Play” sessions, and shared Worship experiences.  Sadly, we are not likely to be able to invite parents to watch their children take part in Harvest, Nativity, Christingle or Easter celebrations.