St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School

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St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School


Early Years - Nursery & Reception

"Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn." Fred Donaldson

At St Joseph's our aim is to provide a calm atmosphere where our children can feel safe and secure. Our aim is to create a quality learning environment and build relationships which support, enhance and invite a child’s curiosity, confidence and individual competency to flourish. We aim to work together with parents and carers to encourage enthusiastic learners who thrive and reach their full potential. It is our intent that children who enter our EYFS begin their lifelong learning journey by developing physically, verbally, cognitively and emotionally whilst also embedding a positive attitude to school and a love of learning.

We believe that all children are individual, capable and competent learners. They are naturally inquisitive, curious, active and adventurous. When trusted and loved, every child will reward us with an invitation to their imaginative, creative world. 

How are children at St Joseph's taught in Early Years?

An integral part of early years is the need for play. At St Joseph's we give opportunity for our children to play within the indoor and outdoor provisions we call this 'exploring time'. Exploring time gives chance for our children to investigate their surroundings with practitioners carefully interacting, modelling and questioning to promote and accelerate learning. 

In both Nursery and Reception we carry out focused sessions lead by a practitioner. Daily Dough Disco and Squiggle Whilst you Wiggle sessions aid our physical development. We carry out daily phonics and mathematics sessions. We ensure that we have a quality story time session that children love listening to. Each week we become increasingly aware of God's work through our creative RE session. We provide an exciting and creative curriculum for our children that is adaptive throughout the year to meet the interests of our children; each session begins with a question to enthuse and add wonder for our pupils. 

In Nursery, we love to sing nursery rhymes and songs. We have focus rhymes each week that we send home to continue learning. 

In Reception, in addition to the above we carry out focused handwriting and group reading sessions. 

How are children at St Joseph's assessed in Early Years?

Early Years staff will observe the way in which children engage with other people in their environment through Characteristics of Effective Learning.

There are 3 elements to the Characteristics of Effective Learning which are:

  • Playing and Exploring - children are engaged and want to find out, explore and are willing to ‘have a go’ at things they could find challenging.
  • Active Learning - children are motivated, can concentrate and persevere with an activity.
  • Creating and Thinking Critically - children have their own ideas to solve problems make predictions and test their ideas.

Children will be learning skills and acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through the 7 Areas of Learning which will be observed and monitored by Early Years staff. The 7 Areas of Learning are:

  • Communication and Language
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World 
  • Expressive Arts and Design

Early Years practitioners will hold regular discussion to talk about your child's learning development. We will compile anecdotes and work created by your child in a learning journal. At the beginning of the academic year each child will carry out the National Reception Baseline Assessment which will be carried out by your child's class teacher. At the end of the Summer term your child will be assessed by the 17 Early Learning Goals (ELGs). 

How can our families help to support their child's learning journey?

Please share your child's achievements that happen at home with us, we would love to celebrate them at school too!

Talking is so important; spend time talking about your child's day whether at home or at school. 

Reading daily with your child is hugely beneficial. Read the school reading books sent home and any other texts that you have at home. Visiting the local library is also a great way of reading a wide range of books. 

For phonics support please talk with a member of the Early Years Team. We also hold phonics and reading workshops throughout the year make sure you come along to get your questions answered. Alternatively visit Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised website parents section: 

Please speak with your child's class teacher to talk about your child's next steps in their learning journey if you would like any advice or strategies to help support at home.