Quarry School Place, Headington, Oxford, OX3 8LH



Learning in the Early Years

The Foundation Stage is a distinct phase of Early Years education that takes place from when a child is born until they are five. At Headington Quarry Foundation Stage School we follow the statutory  Early Years Foundation Stage Framework 2021.  This under pins all that we do. The EYFS Framework has seven areas of the curriculum. All the work that we do at Headington Quarry Foundation Stage School  is striving to support each child to reach their potential in each of these areas. The curriculum areas are split into: 

Three Prime Areas:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development.

And Four Specific areas:

  • Mathematics
  • Literacy
  • Understanding of the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design.

Follow the link to read the EYFS Statutory Framework 2021:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/974907/EYFS_framework_-_March_2021.pdf

The curriculum at Headington Quarry Foundation Stage School is underpinned by the non-statutory guidance development matters. This supports our planning and assessment of the children. If you would like to read the document please follow this link https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1007446/6.7534_DfE_Development_Matters_Report_and_illustrations_web__2_.pdf

For more information about what to expect when, please click here fhttps://www.stswithunsprimary.org/Curriculum/Early-Years/What_To_Expect_When.pdf

This app is great for educational ideas to do at home https://50thingstodo.org/

Our Curriculum Intent

 The skills and knowledge that we teach at Headington Quarry Foundation Stage School are based in part on responding to the children’s interests and partly through core texts and topics that we feel are important for our children to ensure they have a rich and varied early childhood experience. 

Intentional Teaching: adult-focussed experiences are planned to offer children the opportunity to develop & extend their skills & knowledge by engaging with activities designed to introduce new provocations or to build on previous learning.  

How we implement the curriculum

We have a child centred approach–  we observe children with curiosity and patience and our interactions allow us to have a deep knowledge of children as individuals. We plan with each child in mind, tuning in to their individual interests. Each key person regularly shares their observations with parents and carers and encourages them to contribute, this forms a holistic view of the child. 

We have play based learning opportunities through our continuous provision, within our exciting enticing learning environment we offer engaging, challenging learning 

opportunities that support wellbeing and development. Children access the environment inside and outside , ‘free flowing’ throughout the session. Adults all understand the impact that quality interactions have on each child’s learning as they play, and resources inclusive and accessible to support deep level learning.

We have rich language opportunities through the ‘real’ experiences that we offer that provide opportunities to develop language skills. Our high quality interactions support rich language development. Our cultural capital opportunities are planned according to the individual’s needs and with language development in mind.

We form strong relationships from the outset with the child and their family. Each child has a key person, who supports the link between home and nursery, starting with a home visit. We have a strong professional team where we value each other’s strengths and contributions. 

We are supportive to families as they come across challenges or hurdles in managing family life. We signpost families towards additional support as required, such as making Early Help referrals, identifying courses and support networks and ways in which they can support their child at home. We work closely with parents  of children who have additional needs. Our strength in supporting families is that we make ourselves available to the families when they need us and we have a wealth of experience to draw upon.

We encourage curious, inquisitive children through offering an enticing varied learning environment. Through our ‘welly Wednesdays’ and a focus on outdoor learning the children are encouraged to ask questions and notice the environment around them. They are regularly provided with opportunities to explore the local environment and have hands-on experiences with real life objects. 

Our Teaching and learning is based on children’s interests: we use a focus child observation cycle which includes discussion with parents about their children’s current interests and development; planning for children’s first & next steps in learning & links to home learning.

Intentional Teaching: adult-focussed experiences are planned to offer children the opportunity to develop & extend their skills & knowledge by engaging with activities designed to introduce new provocations or to build on previous learning.

Our curricular aims are adaptable to each child and are ambitious for all. We offer additional support and scaffolding to help every child to access the curriculum and to ensure they make progress through it.

We offer regular learning opportunities based on:

  • core story and maths story books (dialogic reading), poems and songs
  • core experiences: consistent learning areas (indoors and outdoors) which are carefully resourced and organised to promote high levels of involvement and provide inspiring starting points for high quality play and exploration and investigation. These include: art ,STEM, snack & cooking area; water play; sand play; malleable & tactile play; writing area; indoor book area & outdoor reading ,home corner; large & small-scale block & construction play;mud kitchen; indoor & outdoor maths equipment; small world play; gross motor play; music-making.
  • Outdoor learning and fortnightly Forest School sessions 
  • Opportunities to extend children’s cultural capital – these include: farm visits, walks into the local area, visit the shops , living eggs project.

Understanding and implementation of the Characteristics of Effective Learning

These characteristics explain how young children learn.

Playing and exploring – engagement 

Relevant learning experiences that are engaging and interactive that facilitate challenging and sustained learning. Learning is defined as the progress in one or more of the following areas:

  • Skills – being able to do something, such as a being able to pedal on a trike
  • Knowledge – knowledge such as knowing where the small world resources are kept, or knowing that your heart needs to beat to all the time
  • Concept : development of an understanding: such as some materials can alter their form: water to ice
  • Dispositions – displaying of behaviours that enhances learning such as a willingness to persevere, to ask questions, to have a go.

Active learning – motivation

For learning to flourish children need rich opportunities that promote engagement, challenge, inspiration and fascination, for example working collaboratively to build a bridge across a stream.

Creating and thinking critically – thinking ​

For children’s thinking to flourish, practitioners need to know the child and establish secure relationships. It is once such secure relationships are established that practitioners can tune into children’s thinking. The use of thinking language can facilitate the means for children to reflect on their learning this includes: open ended questions, running commentaries, pondering and repeating children’s language back to them to highlight their thinking.

Extending Children’s
Thinking and Learning

We value these teaching strategies which are underpinned by a knowledge of child development and warm, trusting relationships.

Observe to Understand

  • “Stand aside for a while and leave room for learning, observe carefully what children do, and then if you have understood well, teaching will be different from before” (Loris Malaguzzi)
  • Use your words wisely

Open ended questions to promote thoughtfulness.

  • A commentary of thoughts and actions to model language
  • Ambitious, rich language to inspire children
  • Specific praise so children know what they have done well

Benign Neglect

  • “non-interference that is intended to benefit someone or something”
  • Allow children to persevere, overcome challenges, develop independence

Model and Guide

  • The Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky) “What a child can do in co-operation today, they can do alone tomorrow”

The environment as the third educator

  • A Nursery school is a place of possibilities!
  • New experiences in a rich environment to encourage new ways of thinking.
  • Time, permission, open ended resources and a risk-taking culture.

Our Intended Outcomes
for all children

Learning within a place of possibilities, children will be nurtured.
Their individual interests and talents will be valued and developed.

As a result, children’s well-being will be high. They will have a belief in themselves and their abilities. They will know that they are loved, that they are strong, capable and unique. They will have resilience and the perseverance to keep on trying when things are challenging.

They will have the confidence to try new things, to take risks and be physically active. Children will know how to communicate their ideas, beliefs and feelings, choosing different ways to do this. Some children will choose to dance, others to build or draw or sing. They will have experienced and remembered a wide range of words through stories, rhymes and poems. They will have the skills to make friends and will show kindness to others. They will know how to look after themselves, their friends, their school and the environment.

They will know about important mathematical and scientific concepts. They will have an understanding and respect of the world around them and the world beyond. They will have a desire to learn and be ready for their next stage in education.