At Ark Atwood we aim for our pupils to graduate from EYFS as happy, confident and articulate. They develop into communicative, resilient and independent reflective learners. They are proud of their skills and achievements and are curious about their community and the wider world. We create a curriculum that gives children opportunities to flourish and develop in all areas of their learning. We seek to provide rich experiences in an enabling school environment and further afield, promoting future life skills whilst drawing on the characteristics of effective learning. We look forward to our pupils becoming critical thinkers who thrive as lifelong learners.
Our approach is shaped by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework, Development Matters and the Early Learning Goals. In the EYFS framework, there are four guiding principles that shape our practice in Nursery and Reception defined as; a unique child, positive relationships, enabling environments and learning development. Our practice is grounded in the Characteristics of Effective Learning which underpins all learning endeavours; Playing and Exploring, Active Learning and Creative and Critical Thinking.
We focus on the 7 areas of learning-the vital prime areas (PSE): Personal, Social, Emotional Development, CL: Communication and Language, and PD: Physical Development) intensively to give an excellent grounding for the specific areas of learning, (Literacy, Maths, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design).
The Topic Overviews set out units covered throughout the year moving from Prime Areas to the specific areas – expanding from ‘me’ to the wider world. There is always a strong focus on Communication and Language with a vocabulary rich environment alongside explicit modelling which helps to close any vocabulary deficits. Our core texts are purposeful and carefully chosen to allow children to communicate effectively using grammatically correct sentences. The small-world and role-play areas give children ample opportunity to develop key vocabulary through rich expressive dialogue. Topics are designed to engage children’s interests and passions which are reflective of each new cohort of learners.
High quality provision that reflects children’s interest, targeted interventions, effective teaching and the use of Graduated Response Charts (detailing additional support) help to support additional need. There is an emphasis on developing independence, curiosity, self-motivation, self-regulation and motivation.
The enabling environment in EYFS provides children with the opportunity to select resources independently and take ownership of their own interest and learning. There is a balance of adult focus and child-initiated learning. Whole class carpet sessions take place daily for Phonics, Literacy and Maths Mastery. Phonics follows the Read Write Inc scheme from Nursery to Year 2. Our days are busy, active and filled with enrichment activities such as Mindfulness, PSE (Circle Time) Dance, Drama, PE, Music, Park club, nature activities and Child Initiated learning where they are free to explore and develop their independence.
Each topic has dedicated enrichment activities and trips to further develop cultural capital. Parents are invited to attend Stay and Play sessions and accompany us on trips, both local, weekly outings and topic based trips, such as visits to Forest School at Paddington Rec, local fire station, Princess Diana Memorial Playground, and the Natural History Museum.
The precise Smartgrade statements, tracked in age bands, are constantly used to assess children’s development, which helps inform our curriculum and planning.
We regularly share children’s achievements and learning journals on our interactive Seesaw platform. We invite parents in frequently for a variety of curriculum workshops, coffee mornings and Stay and Play sessions in order to strengthen the partnership between home and school, constantly working together as partners in their child’s education.
Our children show high levels of wellbeing, keen curiousity and enthusiasm for their learning. They are highly motivated and engaged in our school community. They have the skills to think critically and demonstrate independence in both thought and action. Children are active learners, constantly questioning and seeking knowledge, fostering a lifelong love of learning.
Teaching pedagogy is developed through ILT (Instructional Leadership Training) using the Ark Great Teacher Rubric, Teachers receive regular coaching on their practice helping to develop exposition and alignment with the school’s approach, ensuring they are reflective practitioners. Teaching adapts and responds to the cohort, providing in the moment feedback, correction and explanation to address any possible misconceptions.
We have strong GLD (Good Level of Development) outcomes year on year. Our Seesaw platform is updated continuously with observations and assessments (including from parents). Phonics half termly assessments also show progress against expected Read Write Inc standards. Children also develop articulate and confident oral skills – answering in grammatically correct full sentences. They are resilient in their learning attitude, demonstrating their values daily. They are confident to take risks, and deep curiosity fosters a ‘have a go’ mentality. Children are kind to each other, thoughtful in their friendships and celebrate our differences. The impact of our curriculum is measured by our rigorous assessment procedures which allow us to record and measure progress and attainment, and support and develop each child’s individual learning.