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Sowing seeds of success: Growing courageous learners

Growing Courageous Learners.

Early Years at Sowerby

It is our belief that all children in the EYFS should have an inspiring educational experience filled with fun and stimulating opportunities to learn, that develops their curiosity and a love of learning. We understand the importance of fostering the knowledge and skills that are necessary as the foundations for their future education. We enjoy extending children’s learning through focusing on their interests and weaving that into their daily curriculum and we create a rich and entertaining learning environment to enable us to do this.

Intent

  • At Sowerby Academy our Early Years ignites a lifelong love of learning by nurturing each child's unique curiosity, wonder, and potential.
  • We provide a safe, inclusive, and stimulating environment where every child feels valued, empowered, and ready to flourish.
  • Through play-based learning, we foster a deep understanding of the world, cultivate strong communication and social skills, and lay the foundation for academic success.
  • We also aim to encourage well-rounded individuals who are confident, inquisitive, and compassionate and equip children with the emotional resilience to flourish academically, socially, and personally.
  • We celebrate the wonder of childhood, encouraging exploration, discovery, and questioning. We design an environment that sparks imagination and ignites a passion for learning.
  • We build strong foundations of self-belief by nurturing each child's unique talents and strengths. We foster positive relationships and celebrate individual journeys.
  • We equip our children with essential skills for success, including communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving. We weave these skills into every aspect of learning, ensuring they are ready for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead

Implementation

Playful Learning:

We embrace play as the foundation for learning and is the basis for the majority of our curriculum learning. We foster this through creating a safe and stimulating environment where children can explore, experiment, and learn through their natural curiosity; child-led learning spark creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Play is the primary way our little ones learn, explore, and make sense of their world. Our classrooms offer creative exploration, purposeful interactions, and open-ended possibilities. Our learning is experiential and thematic, driven by children's interests and questions leading us to explore an endless array of areas such as the natural world around us, seasons and weather, traditional tales, building and construction, cultures and celebrations around the world, families and fantasy.

 

Environment:

To support our play based education, our vibrant learning spaces are places where curiosity thrives and every child feels empowered to learn and grow. Our spaces are open and flexible, including cozy reading nooks for storytelling, open areas for construction, role play, self-regulation and dedicated messy play zones where creativity can splatter. We use natural inspiration to keep our classrooms calm and welcoming, optimising on natural light and working spaces that are not over stimulating to our learners. Our resources are open-ended and inviting. We embrace manipulatives, loose parts and sensory materials that inspire endless possibilities. Our resources invite imaginative play and collaborative storytelling. Our EYFS environments are constantly evolving and adapting to meet the needs of our children. They are places where every child feels seen, heard, and valued and where learning is a joyful adventure.

Curriculum:

We embrace the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework alongside our play-based learning. Our Maths curriculum uses the NCETM Maths Mastery approach and the engaging world of Number blocks to focus on a deeper understanding of Mathematics rather than rote memorisation. We focus on:

  • Offering concrete experiences and learning through hands-on activities and exploration.
  • Fluent recall and mastering basic number facts, like addition and subtraction within 10, is crucial for future mathematical success.
  • Providing different ways to approach and solve problems, helping children develop flexibility and critical thinking skills.
  • Encouraging children to explain their thinking and justifying their answers, fostering a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.
  • Connecting our learning to the real world and looking for opportunities to apply math concepts in everyday routines.

As a school we follow the Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS), a systematic synthetic phonics program designed to guide children through the journey of learning to read and write confidently. It's crafted to ensure every child masters the essential skills to decode and blend sounds, unlocking a lifelong love of literacy. ELS empowers our young learners through:

  • Having a clear progression. ELS in Reception follows a carefully sequenced progression of phases 2, 3, 4 and 5, gradually introducing sounds and hard to read and spell words. This ensures children build a solid foundation before moving on to more complex concepts and spelling patterns. Our Nursery setting currently follows the Letters and Sounds 2007 guidance and will shortly by implementing the newly developed ELS weekly planning overviews, rhymes, alliteration and linked activities for continuous provision developing literacy and language skills.
  • Using a clear daily routine which engages children in short, focused phonics lessons each day, providing consistent practice and reinforcement.
  • Multisensory engagement. The children are active learners throughout lessons and visual supports are incorporated with colourful visuals through grapheme flashcards and interactive resources.
  • Building confident readers, through blending and segmenting and utilising decodable books, as well as competent phonetic writers.  

Individualised Learning and Development:

At Sowerby we nurture the whole child, addressing all domains of development—cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and linguistic. We weave literacy, mathematics, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence seamlessly into everyday experiences. We understand that every child develops at their own pace and possesses unique interests. We tailor our curriculum to meet individual needs, offering differentiated activities, flexible pathways, and personalised support. We ensure that each child feels valued and challenged. Individualising learning helps us to support our children with special educational needs (SEN, transforming our environment into an inclusive sanctuary. For our SEN children, we ensure to build an environment where every child feels welcome and empowered to participate and that caters to diverse learning styles. We are able to offer visual aids, adapted equipment, smaller learning groups and individualised pacing to ensure all children can access our curriculum and strive for their goals. We work collaboratively with families, SENCOs and specialist SEN educators to build individualised SEN plans outlining specific goals and interventions. With open communication and shared expertise, we can create a holistic approach to support each child's unique needs.