Meet the staff
Class Teacher/Nursery Manager: Mrs S Smillie (Miss S. Holmes on maternity leave)
Teaching Assistant: Miss Morris
What do we do in the EYFS?
Starting Nursery and Reception is an important, exciting and sometimes scary time for our children. We do our upmost to ensure a quick and easy settling in period.
In the Foundation Stage there are seven areas of learning and development. These are split into three prime areas and four specific areas.
The three PRIME areas are:
• Communication and Language
• Physical Development
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Central to our planning and in everything we do, these three prime areas of development are paramount and encompass our daily routines throughout. The three prime areas ignite children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and help to develop skills in the four specific areas of learning,
The four SPECIFIC areas are:
• Understanding the World
• Expressive Arts and Design
We ensure fair coverage of the above specific areas throughout our topic based work. The seven areas of learning form the curriculum for the Early Years, which we teach through interesting and exciting topics.
The children’s ideas and interests strongly influence the curriculum content of each topic. Our topics include:
• All About Me
• Mini-beasts/ Living Things
• In the woods…
• Transport and People who help us
• Catching stars (space)
• Let’s celebrate – Christmas, Diwali, Bonfire Night
• Rumble in the jungle
• Fairy Tales, Fairies and pirates
Each half term is based around a topics; however mini-topics develop within each half term based on children’s interests. Generally each week will be based around a weekly text, children love becoming absorbed in the book, acting out characters roles, replicating scenarios and becoming involved with story language, characters and settings, feeding and developing their imaginations.
We also embrace important celebrations throughout the year such as Harvest, Diwali, Remembrance Day, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Easter and St George’s Day.
Children are wonderfully unique, so we plan challenging and supportive learning and play opportunities, while taking into account the different ways that children learn. At Westcliff Foundation Stage Unit, our children learn through:
• Play and exploration
• Being active
• Being creative and thinking critically.
During your child’s early years, we will teach them to be curious about the world around them, to develop a love of learning and to be a kind and caring member of our School.
Based on our children’s interests at present, we have designed our curriculum overview to ensure it will be sure to captivate our children, enthuse them, and ultimately cover all areas of the curriculum for the following year.
Family Fun Sessions
Throughout the year we hold regular Family Fun sessions where parents are invited to come into their child’s class and partake in a range of activities. This is an opportunity to see their child in their classroom and to ask any questions. At these sessions we provide a copy of each child’s online learning journey to share with both parent and child.
Over the course of the academic year the Reception children will take part in a new and exciting enrichment programme called the ‘Westcliff Beach School’. At the Beach School, children learn about the natural world around them and develop their practical, emotional and intellectual skills. The children will go in small groups for a course of 4 Beach school sessions.
What’s so special about Beach Schools?
Beach Schools value and encourage independence which in turn enhances self-confidence and self-esteem. Participants are encouraged to assess risk inherent in the environment and in activities. Whilst safety and well-being are, of course, paramount it is essential to value learning opportunities presented by apparently risky activities. For example, walking across potentially slippery surfaces develops a sense of balance whilst discovering appropriate ways of traversing the terrain.
Other Useful Information
One of our key focuses is to encourage the children to hold any writing implement they use correctly, including a paint brush. In Nursery we focus on developing their fine motor skills through activities that involve pinching, squeezing, threading and gripping. Activities that are useful are threading beads, using tweezers to pick up objects, playdough manipulation and dough disco, squeezing spray bottles.
In Reception we focus on fine motor skills, forming their letters correctly and holding their pencil in the correct way. Please help us by encouraging your child to hold any writing tool correctly. We would like all of the children to hold their pencil using a tripod grip. Any questions please ask.
The children in Nursery have been covering phase 1 throughout their time in Nursery as it covers developing their speaking and listening skills in preparation for learning letter names and sounds in phase 2. We try to incorporate some of these activities into our everyday routine – e.g. using our voices in different ways to answer the register, listen to rhyming words in stories, read stories with rhymes and rhythm, singing nursery rhymes and adding actions, use instruments. Some children are listening to hear the initial sounds in words others are orally segmenting and blending words
In Reception children will have a daily 20 minute teaching session. This will usually be in the morning. Each day your child will learn a new sound or tricky word. They are taught to read by breaking down words into separate sounds or ‘phonemes’. They are then taught how to blend these sounds together to hear and read the whole word. In our teaching we use pictures, videos and interactive games to make our learning enjoyable. Teachers and teaching assistants will work with children to help extend and support. Games and work is differentiated to include all abilities.
We use the Jolly Phonics scheme to introduce sounds. Each sound has an action which helps children remember the letter(s) that represent it. As a child becomes more confident, the actions are no longer necessary. Children should learn each letter by its sound before learning letter names. The letters are not introduced in alphabetical order. The first group (s, a, t, i, p, n) has been chosen because they make more simple three-letter words than any other six letters. The letters b and d are introduced in different groups to avoid confusion.
We aim to have children secure in phase 3 phonics by the end of reception. (Children will need to independently read and write words using their phase 3 knowledge.)
Phonics play has a variety of fantastic interactive games that they love to play to practise their phonics skills. At the beginning of the year you could practise the games – ‘Flash cards’ , ‘Dragons Den’ and ‘Buried Treasure’ from phase 2. As the year progresses it would be beneficial to access the phase 3 games and practising their knowledge of digraphs and trigraphs.
This game is great for those digraphs or trigraphs that your child is struggling with or have a go at some of the more challenging ones!
In order to help the children consolidate their recognition and reading of tricky words they could play these games, where the children read then match the words. The two games below are free to play.
The children will have a star sheet sent home with them not long after starting school. You will be able to use this to share with school any ‘WOW moments’ in your child’s life that you observe at home. These could be:
* The first time he/she rides their bike without stabilizers
* Swim without armbands
* Achieves an award from a club
You could take photographs or write a message in the box for us to include in your child’s homework book. If you need another copy ask your child’s class teacher. Alternatively, send your child’s WOW moment to their class teacher via the message service on Class Dojo! We look forward to sharing with you, your child’s achievements.
Children’s Interest Leaves
Parents have a wealth of knowledge about your child’s interests and abilities and at Westcliff we value the impact that sharing your knowledge with us. We aim to plan exciting and interesting topics based around what your child enjoys, if children are interested they will want to learn! If you have noticed that your child has become interested in a certain character in a film or story, or they might have recently been to watch a show that they can’t stop talking about, maybe they really love princesses or cars or superheroes. Please fill out the leaves and send back into school, if you require further slips we have spares in the Nursery cloakroom.