At Harleston Primary School, we are lucky enough to have our very own 52 place Nursery situated on the school grounds, next to the 2 Reception classes. This means that from day one, the Nursery children are a part of our school and the closeness of proximity ensures that the transition from Nursery into Reception is smooth and without any stress or anxiety for either the children or their parents.
The Nursery children are in the safe, experienced and loving hands of a team of 4 practitioners. Miss Ingram is the Nursery teacher and she is assisted by3 qualified, professional and caring Key Persons, Mrs Reeve, Miss Ling and Miss Churchard. Together, they make a formidable team who make teaching and caring for your child, their utmost priority – Quote Parent Questionnaires June 2014 –“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.”
Quote Ofsted 13-14 February 2014 Early Years graded Outstanding – “Children in the Early Years make good progress in all areas of learning. By the end of Reception, they are well prepared for Year 1. Outstanding teaching was seen in the Early Years Foundation Stage…..In lessons seen during the inspection, children make outstanding progress, showing a thirst for knowledge in exploring different habitats and experiencing a sense of awe and wonder during their visit to a local wooded area.”
The Reception classes are taught by 2 inspirational, caring and creative practitioners; Mrs Beaumont who is the Foundation Stage Leader and Miss Townsend. Each teacher has 2 full time support staff, Mrs Stannard and Mrs Randall work beside Mrs Beaumont and Mrs Clarke and Miss Oslavio with Miss Townsend. Together, they plan for fun, contextual, practical, hands on learning experiences that are relevant to your individual and unique child. Topics of learning are changed weekly and are directed by the children, following their interests. Quotes from Parent Questionnaires: “X’s class is always so happy, children and teachers alike. He has learnt so much, I don’t think we could ever ask for more!…..opportunities are wide, varied and frequently changed……there simply is no improvement needed.”
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. All children and their families are welcomed to the school through a Welcome Meeting and an optional Home Visit 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. 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 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.
Planning changes from week to week according to the children’s interests and this year topics have varied from road safety, dinosaurs, pirates, Diwali, our bodies, keeping fit and healthy, guinea pigs, works of different artists, super heroes and life cycles. In addition to following the children’s interests, we have explored a variety of different cultures and beliefs along with Christian festivals and celebrations thus extending the children’s understanding of the global world. The children also enjoy putting on a very special Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day assembly.
Children in the Early Years, learn to read through the Letters and Sounds scheme of work in conjunction with Jolly Phonics and parents are supported to help their child in the early stages of reading and writing. As soon as the children are secure with their phonic abilities, they start on the popular Oxford Reading Tree scheme. They also visit the school library on a weekly basis to extend their love of books and reading and also visit the library in town.
Over the course of the year, the children take part in regular Forest School sessions where they have learnt the rules of forest safety, built dens, enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies around the camp fire, retold stories, been on magic key jungle adventures and hunted for mini beasts and wildlife.
Parents and carers are welcomed into the setting at every opportunity and encouraged to become parent helpers or share with the children areas of their own personal expertise relating to the topics of learning. Parents/carers also enjoy our ‘Come and Play’ sessions which are held each half term. These special times enable parents to experience the Early Years environment, engage in craft activities, Story Cafes, watch their child perform songs, as well as being offered support with their child’s learning through, for example, Using a Number Line or Helping Your Child to Read, (Parent Quote from Home School Book “ I would not have known what sound buttons were or how to help my daughter if I hadn’t come to the reading session..”)
Both Nursery and Reception children have participated widely in whole school events and these have varied from, special assemblies, celebrating Harvest, Christingle and Easter at St John’s Church and many charity fundraisers.
Nursery and Reception take pride in maintaining a close relationship and opportunities are maximised to share special occasions. During the Summer term, the Reception children take pride in becoming responsible ‘buddies’ to the Nursery children and it is delightful to see how they accept this role with maturity and sensitivity and ensure that the Nursery children’s transition into Reception is full of excitement and awe.
So, that’s a brief summary of life in the Foundation Stage at Harleston C.E.V.A Primary School. We would love to welcome you into our family and share part of your life during your time with us and support you and your child along their learning journey.
The Foundation Stage Team