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Hilltop Infant School
Hill Avenue
Wickford
Essex SS11 8LT

Tel: 01268 762531

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EYFS Curriculum

Girl with magnifying glassChildren are provided with a broad and balanced curriculum for both inside and outside, that is defined in the seven areas of learning identified in the Early Learning Goals and which offers continuity with the National Curriculum.

 The curriculum is organised into three Prime Areas

Communication and Language which includes listening and attention, understanding and speaking
Physical Development which includes moving and handling, health and self care
Personal, Social and Emotional Development which includes self-confidence and self awareness, managing feelings and behaviour and making relationships and understanding others

And  four Specific Areas

Literacy which includes Reading and writing
Mathematics which includes understanding about Numbers and Shape, space and measures
Understanding the World which includes finding out about people and communities, the world and technology
Expressive Arts and Design which includes exploring and using media and materials (responding to experiences, expressing and communicating ideas) and being imaginative (creating music and dance and developing imagination and imaginative play)Boy with space helmet on

We focus strongly on the three prime areas which are the basis for successful learning in the other four specific areas. This balance will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas of learning as children grow in confidence and ability within the three prime areas.

There is a balance of child-led and adult-led activities. As children grow older and as their development allows, the balance will shift towards more activities led by adults. The curriculum is arranged so that children may achieve the Early Learning Goals which set expectations for the end of the Foundation Stage and are described in the "Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage September 2014.” Teachers will use a best fit approach to say whether children’ development is “emerging”, “expected” or “exceeding” against the descriptors for each goal. The curriculum is not compartmentalized into separate areas but all areas are covered nevertheless. Experiences are topic based which presents the curriculum as a coherent and integrated whole. Our practice is built on the three characteristics of learning and the four identified themes that support the development, learning and care of young children.

The characteristics of learning are interlinked. They are:
* playing and exploring
* active learning
* creating and thinking critically
The end of year profile includes a short description of children’s skills and abilities with regard to these three characteristics of learning.

self-portrait of girlThe four themes are A Unique child which centres on child development, inclusive practice, keeping safe and health and well-being, Positive Relationships which centres on respecting each other, parent partnership, supporting learning and the importance of the key person working with  approach to say whether at the end of Reception the child’s learning is “children , Enabling Environments which centres on observation, assessment and planning, supporting every child, the learning environment and the wider context of the community, Learning and Development which centres on play and exploration, active learning, creativity and critical thinking and areas of learning and development.

Our planning focus on the “Developmental Stages” Drawing of boy sitting on the Earththat show the knowledge, skills and understanding and attitudes that children are required to learn. When children’s learning extend beyond the Learning Goals, they are provided with a curriculum that will further extend their knowledge, understanding and skills.

Children participate in language/literacy activities and mathematical activities through child initiated learning and through adult led activities, in both our indoor and outdoor learning environments. Children have access to a range of resources and equipment which allows the children to follow their own lines of enquiry as well as to develop their understanding further following input from an adult.

 A variety of good quality books, including those from our reading scheme: Oxford Reading Tree, are used for the introduction of reading. It is our intention that children find the fun and “release” that books offer. Children start with wordless or picture books to encourage storytelling and to develop rich language; as the children learn letter sounds and sight vocabulary, they progress onto books which introduce the sounds in the order that they are taught. “Letters and Sounds” is the phonics scheme that we use across Hilltop Infant School, and we use this to teach and support children in using their knowledge of letter sounds and building their sight vocabulary.

Because teaching staff plan learning opportunities in response to the children’s needs and interests, we use Topic Webs to help map out possible activities half termly and then produce more detailed planning every two weeks. The Topic Webs for each half term can be accessed here or via “Our Hilltop”. 
 

EYFS PlanningPhonics

Phonics are taught across the school using elements of the "Letters and Sounds" programme.  In order to ensure that children receive the most suitable teaching, teachers carry out careful assessments of the children's understanding and use of phonic skills. These assessments take place on a regular basis. Following these assessments children are placed into sets for phonics lessons.

Reading

Reading is a very important part of life at Hilltop Infant School and we aim for all children to develop a love of books and reading. Where school and families work together children make the best possible progress so we ask that all children read at home at least four times a week.

At Hilltop Infant School, children learn to read using a range of different books; a wide range of Oxford Reading Tree books are available alongside books from other schemes and individual titles. All books are grouped into colour bandings; this helps the staff and older children themselves to choose books that are at a level they can read independently with just a little support. We teach children to use a range of different strategies, including phonics, to read unfamiliar texts.

As well as their leveled reading books, children have the free choice of books from classroom book boxes to enjoy in class and they also make regular visits to the school library (once they have been in school for a couple of terms).

All children are encouraged to read daily at school; they will read captions, worksheets, group reading books and a range of other materials. Teachers will also hear them read books on an individual basis; the frequency of this will depend upon the age and ability of the children.

Children learn to read best when supported effectively at school and at home.  We actively encourage all families to read with their child at home at least five times a week.

 

Values

Members of the school community have worked together to find words that help to describe what is special about our school. We expect everyone at Hilltop Infant School to behave in a way that is consistent with these values.

Respect, Team Work, Inclusion, Pride, Honesty, Security, Creativity, High Aspirations, Resilience.

 

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Respect, Team Work, Inclusion, Pride, Honesty, Security, Creativity, High Aspirations, Resilience.