In the EYFS, we aim to help children understand that we are all made in the image of God. We start from the principle that each child has the right to expect the highest level of care and protection, love, encouragement and respect that we can give. We encourage them to do their best at all times in every aspect of their learning and play.
We do this by:
- providing a safe, happy and stimulating environment based on Christian values.
- ensuring that the children feel part of St. Dominic School and have a sense of belonging.
- providing the children with equal access to all seven areas of the EYFS curriculum. We offer a balance of child initiated and adult led learning, developed through play in continuous provision and whole class and small group activities.
- extending and challenging the children’s skills, knowledge and experiences and encouraging them to develop further in all areas of learning.
- working in partnership with both children and parents.
- encouraging positive behaviour and developing a sense of self-worth and a respect and tolerance of others.
Our motto: Together We Shine
‘Every child deserves the best possible start. In life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential.’
Early years Foundation Stage Framework 2021
Our ambitious Early Year’s curriculum aims to teach all children the skills and knowledge in order that they reach the school’s curriculum goals and the expected seventeen Early Learning Goals documented in the Early Years Foundation Stage 2021.
We use Dimensions ‘Learning Means the World’ Curriculum as the vehicle for this. This curriculum is underpinned by four world issues, known as the four Cs:-
We want our curriculum to be strengthened by our values: Responsibility, Kindness, Friendship, Patience, Gratitude, Forgiveness, Self-control, Love, Courage, Teamwork, Wisdom.
Our EYFS curriculum is designed to develop the characteristics of effective learning:
- Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
- Active learning – children keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy their achievements.
- Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
“Play is the answer to how anything new comes about”.
Alongside the ‘Themes’ outlined in the Dimensions curriculum (See Long term plan), we include the children’s own interests in our curriculum planning and these are used by the adults to engage the children as they play in higher level thinking and deeper learning. We include:
- Adult-planned sequential learning
- Adult interactions
- Child-led learning
St Dominic School also offers extra-curricular opportunities which include:
- Visitors to enhance children’s learning – Parish Priest, Doctors, Dentist, Fire Service, Police, Parents and Grandparents sharing jobs, interests, skills, cultural experiences etc.
- Visits in the local community – Autumn walks in the local area, library visits, Church visits
- Educational visits beyond the local area – For example, Herrings Green Birds of Prey Centre
From their individual starting points, our aim is that children will make excellent progress socially and academically. The impact of our curriculum can be measured using formative assessment of children’s progress which is an integral part of our work in the EYFS. Adult interactions and observations allow us to get to know each child as an individual so that we can tailor learning to meet their individual needs. We use a fully secure online Learning Journal called Tapestry to record photographs of children playing and learning and to note individual children’s progress. Parents are also invited to contribute to their child’s online Learning Journal, sharing their child’s achievements and interests at home. We monitor children’s development using the key observational checkpoints in Development Matters(September 2020) and each child is given ‘Next Steps’ which are shared and then reviewed in the child’s online journal.
The Impact of our curriculum can be evaluated with how inspired and excited the children are about their learning. Children at the end of Foundation stage will have developed core knowledge and skills required for everyday life and lifelong learning. We aim for the children at St Dominic Catholic School to have developed a positive sense of themselves and to have developed confidence in their own abilities to become inquisitive and successful learners.
Our curriculum is not infinite or complete. We will review it periodically, reflecting on the needs of our children and a changing world.