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Fernhurst Primary School

Early Years

What is Early Years?

Early years education is the education they have up to the age of five.  In our school, this means the first year of school.  It is also known as Reception.  Early Years is special and unique with its focus on child development, effective learning characteristics and holistic approaches.  We know from research that children learn through play and we ensure that they have exciting opportunities to ensure that they make good progress.  We have teacher led sessions every day to support the development of key learning, such as phonics and this runs alongside continuous provision, which we often refer to as COOL (carry on our learning) time.

The adults within our Early Years are highly skilled practitioners who are committed to ensuring that your children receive the very best care and education while at school.  

Children start school at the start of the Autumn Term because the Early Years team complete all transition arrangements in the summer term including home visits and pre-school visits.  This enables children to be full time, if appropriate, from day one.  The school gates open at 8:30 with classroom doors opening at 8:40 for a staggered start.  The day officially starts at 8:50 and finishes at 3:10.  Children are collected from the classroom doors and will only be released to an adult that the parent(s) with PR have given explicit permission for the child to be released to.  Any changes in arrangement should be communicated to the school office so that pupil records can be updated.    

COOL time

Continuous provision, or COOL time, describes all of the different provision areas which are available for your children to use every day that link with learning but are not explicitly directed by an adult.  There is a range of core resources that children can use all of the time, throughout the whole year such as role play, writing opportunities, physical resources, art or construction.  The role of the adults is to enhance the learning by knowing the children well and supporting them to make the next steps in their development through play.  

We carefully plan COOL time so that it will enable children to learn skills, will challenge their thinking and help them to embed concepts - this might mean that they are counting coins to give change in a shop role play or developing pre-writing skills by building and constructing.  We provide the context for a variety of learning conversations between children and adults with rich opportunities for modelling and extending speech and vocabulary.  It is within this learning environment that the children will also develop key learning attributes such as independence, collaboration, self-confidence, resilience and curiosity.

The adults in Early Years work hard to make sure that all of the areas of learning are carefully planned for including within COOL time.  Children engage well within the clearly defined areas of the classroom, developing skills and knowledge throu play.  They have the space and resource to explore each area of learning and continue their learning in a fun way. 

Tapestry - our online learning journal

Tapestry builds a very special record of a child’s experiences, development and learning journey through their early years and primary education. Using photos, videos, and diary entries, a teacher or early years educator, along with the child’s parents or carers, and the child themselves if they’re ready, ‘weaves’ the story of the child and how they are growing and developing. The Tapestry platform then works seamlessly to enable these memories to be kept as a permanent record of each child’s unique journey. All information held in the platform is stored securely and can be downloaded and shared as required. Parents or carers are able to view their child’s progress, the activities provided for them, and how much fun they’re having, whilst also uploading their own comments and media.

The communication between staff and parents that Tapestry enables, helps build a shared understanding of how every child can reach their full potential, from birth to the end of primary school. The Tapestry online learning journal is also available as an easy-to-use, secure app, meaning capturing key learning moments, and videoing milestones are even easier.

Take a look at our Early Years policy (on our policy page) for more information about Early Years at Fernhurst Primary School.  

Food at school

In Early Years, all children have access to a healthy snack, water and milk throughout the day.  Allergies are considered and appropriate alternatives are offered (eg alternative milk or fruit).   The PSHE curriculum helps to ensure that all of our children are aware of how to keep themselves healthy including good oral health.  Cakes and chocolate are only permitted for special events, such as school parties and cake sales.   We support this learning with appropriate visitors to school, for example an athlete visit and UK Harvest.  All children are eligible for universal free school meals which can be booked with Chartwells using the online booking system. 

Keeping safe in EYFS

Within the Early Years classroom, there is always a minimum ratio of 1:15 with two adults within the Early Years environment at all times.  This is to ensure that your children are safe in the indoor and outdoor learning environments. 

All adults in school, including volunteers are subject to safeguarding checks and a robust recruitment process. Please see further details in our safeguarding policy. If your child requires any support with intimate care, they will be supported by two staff members, at least one of whom will be well known to them, in line with our intimate care policy.  It is important that we know about any medical needs - this is something that will be discussed at the home visit before children start with us but if anything changes, we require that parents and carers let us know so that we can ensure appropriate provision is in place, in line with our 'pupils with medical conditions policy'.  

Risk assessments are in place to reduce the risks associated with exploring an outdoor environment.  Dynamic risk assessments occur daily with the children to help them to become independent problem solvers who can keep themselves safe, for example assessing the weather before deciding if it is safe to use the 'hill' in the outside area. 

If you have any queries or concerns, please speak to an adult on the door or contact the school office to arrange an appointment.