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Curriculum and Learning
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Early Years Curriculum

At Portway, we teach children from Nursery until year 6.  This means that we teach two separate curricula: (a) the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, and (b) the National Primary Curriculum.

Our approach to all teaching across our school is described on the curriculum page of the website.  Key aspects of this approach can be summarised as: Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express - all of which are described in more detail on the curriculum page.

This section explains how we teach in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS): i.e. children in Nursery and Reception.

How we deliver the EYFS curriculum

At Portway, we actively promote the key principles set out by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS):

  • That every child is treated as a ‘unique child’ who is given the learning opportunity to work at their level and are extended to work towards the next step.
  • That ‘positive relationships’ are encouraged by each child who is allocated a key-person, who has the special responsibility to work closely with a small group of children every day.
  • The key-person contributes towards the planning and delivery of fun and motivating educational activities. The key-person uses every opportunity to share all information with your child and with you, thereby ensuring that all concerned are made to feel included and valued.
  • That ‘enabling environments’ are established through exciting, interactive and motivating activities which have a positive impact towards your child developing into an able, confident and willing learner, both inside and outside of the classroom. Equally, we believe that children’s work should be valued and celebrated – which we promote through our vibrant and interactive displays that reflect children’s learning and achievements.
  • That children’s ‘learning and development’ is catered for through the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum which is made of the seven areas. These are:

The prime areas of learning

Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)
Communication and Language and Literacy (CL)
Physical Development (PD)

The specific areas of learning

Literacy (L)
Mathematics (M)
Understanding of the World (KUW)
Expressive Arts and Design (EAD)

Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active and through creative and critical thinking.

Working in partnership with parents

Working with parents, whilst important throughout primary school, is particularly important in the early years of education.

You can help your child thrive in the nursery and reception years by helping him/her both by supporting the prime/specific areas of learning at home, as well as supporting the development of positive behaviour and the building of independence.

Helping your child develop his/her understanding in the prime/specific areas of learning

From reception, children are set homework on a Thursday, to be handed in on Tuesday the following week.  This is set to enable them to consolidate the week’s learning at school, and to get them used to the homework routine.  Parents are requested to support homework by ensuring that their child has, as far as possible, a quiet place to work and the support of a parent/older sibling.

In addition to helping with the homework given at school, we encourage parents to support their children by:

  • reading aloud to children throughout primary school;
  • listening to children read as often as possible (when they are ready to start to read), and
  • helping children of all ages interact with the world around them, using what they have learned at school (e.g. working out change, reading road signs, following directions on a map etc.)

Helping your child understand the expectations of behaviour at school

We have distilled our way of working together across our learning community into the ‘5 Cs’: courtesy, care, commitment, co-operation and consideration.  These apply to all relationships, both in the classroom, around the school, outside school and with partner organisations. 

Behaviour that reflects these values is rewarded and celebrated at school.  At home, you can introduce your child to these behaviours by rewarding examples of appropriate behaviour.  It is also essential that parents act as role models and try to demonstrate these behaviours in all interactions – children copy what they see.

Developing a set routine both in the morning as they get ready for school, and in the afternoon, is also beneficial: children find things easier when they know what to expect.  Knowledge of a routine also enables them to build independence (see below).

For further details regarding our approach to behaviour, please go to the Behaviour page of our website.  You can also speak to your child’s teacher at any time.

Helping your child develop his/her independence

At nursery and in reception classes, children who are better able to undertake the simple tasks that they are expected to perform independently are better able to learn and enjoy the school environment.  Specifically, your child will benefit if you are able to help him/her develop independence in the following areas:

  • using the toilet, including washing his/her hands independently;
  • as far as possible, getting ready for school independently (getting dressed, putting on shoes etc.);
  • carrying his/her school bag – the book bag is designed to enable children to carry it by themselves;
  • encouraging them to walk to school;
  • using a pencil un-aided at home;
  • practising cutting out (always with adult supervision) at home;
  • carrying items on a tray at home (this is very helpful at school lunch time, when they will need to do this), and
  • taking charge of as many aspects of their day outside school as possible.

Further information

For further information about the revised EYFS framework, please visit the Foundation Years website and click on ‘EYFS for Parents’.

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