We understand the key role we have in building secure foundations in children’s learning and creating a strong partnership with parents and families as they begin their Bryn Offa learning journey. Our passionate and highly experienced staff work hard to ensure our children are happy, caring, resilient and developing a positive attitude to learning from the moment they walk through the door.
At Bryn Offa we believe the EYFS learning environment is the 3rd teacher. The Enabling Environment allows children to learn successfully, and it includes a newly designed outdoor classroom, indoor classroom and designated forest school area.
Our indoor classroom has been thoughtfully developed over time to be not only welcoming and aesthetically pleasing, but a space which promotes relationships, communication, collaboration, and exploration through play. Natural materials have been collected and added to the space to spark curiosity and links with nature. Our ever-changing role play area is the perfect place for children to connect on a deeper level with the topic, and for the adults to make observations in relation to the characteristics of learning.
We are cultivating a love for the outdoors through weekly forest school sessions, planned for by our experienced and passionate forest school leader, which is important for their physical and mental wellbeing as well as fostering respect and care for the environment.
How has the EYFS curriculum been developed?
Developing a love of reading and the ability to communicate clearly is at the heart of everything we do. We find opportunities to read to and with the children throughout the day and our topics are always built around a story book, non-fiction texts, rhymes and poetry. We frequently use our Alpine shelter for sharing a story the children eat their snack and drink their milk, before lunch, and at home time. These books are sometimes chosen by the teacher with a purpose in mind or just for the sheer joy of reading. Children are given every opportunity to choose their own books to read. Every week children choose a book from the school library to take home and share with their family. All our staff have had CPD on Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ outstanding teacher training and we ensure that we utilize the skills we have learnt to deliver high quality writing sessions using his story telling methods each term. In the Summer term, we visit Pant Pandas Nursery to read and act out a story for the pre-school children, which is fantastic for giving their reading and writing a sense of purpose and aids transition for our new cohort.
We know the importance of building on the children’s previous experiences (cultural capital) and we strive to provide them with opportunities to be curious, explore, try new things and experience awe and wonder. We have therefore planned for a wide variety of experiences both in and out of the school, utilizing our local environment wherever possible. For example, we organise a walk to the local Heritage Centre each term to explore seasonal changes in our environment and to promote exploration, awe and wonder. During our ‘Dinosaurs’ topic, we walked to Llanymynech Rock to hunt for fossils.
Our daily structure includes a balance of shorter adult led sessions and longer child led sessions for children to foster the characteristics of learning and produce deep level learning.
How is the EYFS curriculum implemented successfully?
We know that the curriculum has been implemented successfully primarily because the children are enthusiastic about their learning. Parents comment on their children’s eagerness to come to school and on how much progress they make in emails and in our annual parent questionnaires. All teachers have high expectations for the standard that children can achieve within EYFS and staff know the children very well.
The combination of continuous observations and half termly assessments are used to determine the next steps children need in their learning. We value contributions of observations by a wide variety of people in the school community, including our lunchtime supervisors, parents, visitors and Reverend Trimby.
We adjust our planning in response to our observations, be it minor tweaks or sometimes radical changes, based on the needs of the cohort.
How are SEND children catered for in the EYFS Provision?
We follow Bug Club Phonics to ensure consistency alongside our Bug Club reading scheme. Teaching is rigorous, systematic and uses a range of teaching strategies in line with the programme we follow. We start teaching phonics from the second day children are in school. Once we have completed our phonics baseline assessment, and following discussions between our team, we start allocating reading books as soon as we believe children are ready. During the first week of school we hold a parents meeting which is always very well attended to explain how phonics is taught at Bryn Offa and how this approach can be supported at home. Children are provided with a wallet containing a sound flash card and a bank of words for them to practise blending at home. This is well received by our parents who feel they have the resources to support their phonics journey at home. Our tracking system, which is completed each half term, shows the excellent progress our children make and informs us of our next steps to ensure readiness for their next level and for KS1.
Our metacognition training has enabled staff to support children recognise and identify strengths and weaknesses in their own learning and suggest ways they can improve. We offer children opportunities to ‘think-pair-share’ to help problem solve during carpet session and when they are accessing the provision.