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22nd October 14
Trail : home / Case Studies / Curriculum Development : Early Years
Posted: 16th Jan 2014 Little Me Cluster : Adobe Acrobat file (94.8k)

Rosegrove Nursery School, Basnett Street Nursery School, Rockwood Nursery School, Taywood Nursery School - Innovative Practice Award

  • The cluster formed a small working party of local Nursery Schools to look at how to address equalities and community cohesion with Nursery age children. With support from the EMA/GRT achievement service, they chose to use a simple figure 'Little Me' to support their work.
  • Each child made their own, self-representation 'Little Me' figure and used them in all areas of continuous provision within the different nurseries. They were used in transition and as a way of developing parental engagement through a home/school 'Little Me Adventure Book' or through discussions or conversations.

It was evident that through the use of 'Little Me', children's personal, social and emotional development was supported and communication between home and school was enhanced.

Posted: 10th Jun 2013 Forest School Foundation Support Project : Adobe Acrobat file (82.4k)

St John's Catholic Primary and Children's Centre - Best Practice Award

The Forest School Foundation Support  Project began in January 2010. The School and Centre had conducted research into the benefits of  becoming a Forest School and Centre. We decided to invest in the project by having a member of the team trained as a Forest School Leader.


Our original focus was to target 8 children in the reception year from St John's Primary and three other cluster Schools, particularly selecting summer born boys and children on free school meals as well as those children who required a boost in the areas of CL and PSED.
The Children's Centre and  Primary School decided to offer this targeted project to our school and other cluster schools in Skelmersdale with the aim of 'narrowing the achievement gap' between this group and the rest of the cohort.
We felt that Forest School met the learning and developmental needs of the children by giving them the time and space to be themselves  and the opportunities to communicate with others in a safe environment. Development in confidence and self-esteem would then have a positive impact on their learning.

Forest School took place on a weekly basis with children travelling from other local schools by minibus to access sessions led by a Forest School Leader. We were lucky to already have an ideal Forest School site within the School grounds.
Children's progress was evident and positive impact was made.

 

 

 

Posted: 6th Feb 2013 Sustainability for healthy eating : Adobe Acrobat file (75.3k)

St Mary's RC Primary School - Innovative Practice Award

  • Our Gardening Club for year 5 and 6 children was established at the beginning of the summer term following the erection of a large polytunnel and shed.
     
  • It is run by the Teaching Assistant with responsibility for Global Awareness. She is helped by staff, parents and the school crossing attendant. Our local community has also been involved. The village garden centre came into school offering advice, free plants and seeds and also a discount on products. Our school PTFA gave us a generous donation which we spent on vegetable plants bought from our local high school. We also have a table at the back of our church with an honesty box where we can sell produce in the holidays.
     
  • After Friday family and parish assemblies, the children have a stall selling produce that has been picked that morning. The money is then used to buy new plants etc.
     
  • Previously, the Foundation Stage children have grown a few vegetables which were then cooked in school for them to eat. This continues in the new setting.
     
  • So far the children have grown a variety of vegetables which the school kitchen has cooked for them to eat for lunch, enabling the children to take responsibility for healthy eating.
     
  • The Gardening Club also have responsibility for our recently created 'Rainbow Memorial Garden' and have spent time sowing and nurturing the plants in there.
     
  • The children also took part in a sunflower-growing competition to raise money for a charity that affects one of the children in our school. 
     
Posted: 1st Jun 2012 Playing to Learn, Learning to Play: Play at Home : Adobe Acrobat file (95.8k)

Lancaster Childrens Centres (Firbank, Lune Park, Appletree) - Innovative Practice Award

Play to Learn ("PTL") is a home visiting scheme centred around play. Outreach staff received four days training to deliver play sessions and to coach parents/carers to acquire core play skills by modelling, inviting and reinforcing of existing skills. This promotes attachment, a positive attitude and disposition, speech, language and social skills thus laying the foundations for later learning.

Each participating centre has received a toolkit containing planned play sessions along with resources and books suitable for babies, toddlers and children. Plans are written in plain English to share with parents and picture prompt cards are also available for parents with limited literacy skills. As an alternative, PTL can take place in a children's centre, local park or wherever families feel comfortable.

Sessions are captured in pictorial and written form in a Learning Story Book and form a powerful record of parents and their children engaged in good practice.

 

Singleton Primary School - Innovative Practice Award

Ofsted recognised the school as satisfactory with Foundation Stage being recognised as outstanding in all three areas. There is a strong team with the Foundation teacher and TA. The aim is to build on practice and where ppossible share relevant aspects of Foundation practice with the rest of the school. These areas are an exciting classroom and stimulating provision that provides learning experiences at the level of every child; a system of rigorous assessment that
ensures every child is moved on to their next steps and targets at their level and pace.

In Foundation we wanted to develop the recording of this through our learning journey. This also provides a manageable way in which to record evidence for EYFSP. Developing the Foundation outdoor area and a whole school approach, valuing the outdoor area as a positive learning environment - we wanted to develop outdoor learning using the natural environment.

... to enthuse and motivate all pupils and raise achievement

St Leonard's Church of England Primary School - Best Practice Award

Our project has been to develop the use of our outdoor areas to enhance learning across the curriculum. We aimed to engage and motivate all learners particularly boys and to have an impact on standards of achievement particularly in writing.

Through training and support the staff have developed the skills needed to plan creatively using the outdoor areas, throughout the school year, in all kinds of weather. All staff now plan and implement ways to include exciting outdoor activities through their cross curricular topics and themes.

The children have access to a wide range of outdoor facilities including an outdoor learning area with sensory garden, vegetable plots, small orchard and an extensive woodland area which have been developed over time. Staff now make regular use of these areas across the curriculum and plan creatively for their use throughout the year to provide stimulating learning experiences for all pupils.

The children are now engaged in active learning outdoors which has had a positive impact on attitudes to learning and standards of achievement. Pupils thoroughly enjoy the outdoor practical learning experiences which are now embedded throughout the school. 

 

Posted: 1st Jun 2012 Strengthening links with parents ... : Adobe Acrobat file (82.8k)

... thus becoming partners in Early Years education.

St. Michael and St. John's R.C Primary School (Good Practice Award)


Our project has established strong links between parents as partners and school practitioners in the Foundation stage.  This has led to an improvement in children's individual learning journeys and has accelerated their learning as a direct result of the connection and contribution from their parents.  By breaking down the barriers of home and school we have introduced a variety of home school links which sees 'us' as working together to educate 'their' child. 

To achieve this we have compiled parent questionnaires, half termly newsletters, homework grids and target trains.  Alongside the traditional parents evenings, pre-school visits and open evenings we have taken on a more radical approach to involve parents in educating their child.  We invite parents and extended family members on a regular basis to work and learn alongside their child through 'coffee mornings', we hold foundation fundraising activities termly, we encourage parent reading sessions where parents come into school to promote reading and we actively seek parent helpers.  As a direct impact of establishing these links pupil's end of year results have improved each year, children are motivated and excited to learn and parents have enjoyed taking on a more active role.

As a result, our ethos has promoted a family environment where parents feel non threatened, are able to approach staff and together we at St. Michael and St. John's are proud to have a shared vision in each child's learning.

 

...in the Foundation Stage - Improving Provision for Foundation Stage Children

St. Mary's C of E Primary School, Newchurch in Pendle (Best Practice Award)

In response to an Ofsted finding and statutory changes for EYFS provision, as acting Head teacher I felt that the EYFS needed to have a high profile in terms in school development. This saw the beginning of a change in ethos, environment, teaching and learning strategies and staffing.

The last three years have seen significant changes and the motivated and independent staff are now fully aware of the new EYFS principles and the children's entitlement. It has been necessary to review the whole of our Infant Class practice so that we can successfully provide the environment needed to promote independent learning.

Posted: 3rd Jun 2011 Developing children's self esteem and .... : Adobe Acrobat file (80.1k)

.... confidence, learning in the forest school.

Staghills Nursery School/Children's Centre (Good Practice Award)

The aim of the project was to develop children's confidence and self esteem using the natural environment as a medium for learning; exploring the ethos of the forest school to support children to lead their own learning and exploration with the support of responsive adults. Children spend a full session every week in the woodland area which is part of the nursery grounds. The structure of the session is carefully planned to support the children.  Sessions always begin in the base camp area, with a chance for the children to chat and reflect and to discuss the session. The children are encouraged to look after themselves and each other and are given a range of responsibilities from putting on their all in one suits and wellies to preparing the resources for the "hot chocolate & snack" at the end of the session. The size of the group (max 10 children) supports children to develop close relationships both with their peers and with the adults. The children are given a range of tasks that allow them to work independently and as a team and the collaborative aspects of the sessions have proved to be very successful.

Posted: 8th Feb 2011 'Woody Wednesdays' : Adobe Acrobat file (82.2k)

Appletree Nursery School and Children's Centre (Good Practice)

The innovative way in which the needs of individual children have been addressed in the areas of speech and language and social interaction. Woody Wednesdays was designed on forest school principles, building on the children's interests in den making and interactive story telling. The children were fully immersed in their activities and highly motivated throughout. Staff listened to the children and adapted the programme to reflect how they wished to proceed. Working alongside creative practitioners, the staff have increased skills which they are now using enthusiastically - fully integrating key skills in everyday practice.

Posted: 7th Feb 2011 Establishing strong links with parents .... : Adobe Acrobat file (77.9k)

.... school and pupil progress in the Foundation Stage

Lordsgate Township C.E. Primary School (Innovative Practice)

Assessment in the Foundation Stage was an issue and we were keen not only to improve this but also to involve parents in their understanding of the process.  It was important to establish positive parental links to ensure all parents became involved in their child's progress and development in the Foundation Stage.  Effective communication was essential.  This was established by a 'Taking School Home' book.  Throughout the year both school and home developed strong positive links.  Feedback from parents was very good and enabled us to identify further developments.

Posted: 7th Feb 2011 Improving provision for Foundation Stage pupils : Adobe Acrobat file (86.6k)

Higher Walton C.E. Primary School (Good Practice)

In response to statutory changes for EYFS provision and staff changes within the school, Higher Walton CE Primary School set EYFS as a school improvement priority in 2008-9.  Initially we intended to improve our use of outdoor provision.  However the involvement of an AST, combined with the enthusiasm and reflective practice of our newly appointed Foundation Stage teacher, resulted in a complete change of classroom practice.  This has had enormous impact on children's enthusiasm, motivation and independence, and established firm foundations for future learning.

.... in the Early Years Foundation Stage - the next phase

Walton - le- Dale Primary School (Best Practice)

Since achieving a Learning Excellence Award for Good Practice in the Early Years in 2007, our ambition is always to continuously improve the teaching and learning of our children. Prior to, and on the implementation of, the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, we have sought to expand upon our initial project which centred on the learning environment.

The next phase of development was underpinned by the well planned organisation of staff to support the maintenance of our OFSTED Grade 1 judgement.

Achievements so far gave us the impetus and motivation to strive to achieve best practice in particular with respect to:

• the emotional well-being of children
• parents
• re-visiting the learning environment.

By taking these aspects, we ensured that we were successfully recognising the Early Years Foundation Stage principles (DCSF) and focusing upon particular parts of 'A Unique Child,' 'Positive Relationships,' 'Enabling Environments' and 'Learning and Development.'

The outcome of this project was an embedded understanding of the Early Years Foundation Stage, developed by the application of new ideas and practices and rigorous evaluation.

Click on titles to download the full case studies in PDF format.

 

Rosegrove Infant School (Good Practice Award)

Over a six-year period we have worked as a team and linked with outside agencies to transform a plain, dreary playground into a fun, stimulating environment for young children.

Alongside the groundwork that has been completed, staff have developed a structured half-hour play session for children in the foundation stage.  Each week the children use resources and complete activities to enhance each area of the Foundation Stage Curriculum.  The session takes part in all weathers and umbrellas, tarpaulin and gazebos can often be seen through the school railings.

...learning environment in the Early Years

Balshaw Lane Primary School (Good Practice)

With the introduction of the revised Early Years Foundation Stage document and as a teacher new to the Reception class, I felt that this was an ideal opportunity to develop the outdoor learning provision in the Foundation Stage. 
I enrolled on a TDA course to support my outdoors project. I began my action research by attending an Early Years conference on outdoor play. I left with a list of basic resources, a 'wish list' to enhance learning and enjoyment further, and ideas on how the outdoors could be organised and planned for.  
I carried out an audit of our outdoor space in terms of:

  1. The physicaI Environment: space, access for all R children, safety and supervison,  shade/shelter and storage.
  2. Current Practice: organisation, planning, resources, staff training, links to indoor and all weather access. 


We ordered resources from specialist outdoor suppliers, ensuring that all areas of learning had been covered. We improved the outdoor storage and organised the continuous provision to allow children to select resources independently. I attended an Early Years planning course and developed a new format for planning for indoor and outdoor learning across all areas of learning.
Outdoor learning in the EYS has improved greatly in our school. The children have all-day access to quality play experiences that have a clear purpose, and the staff have a renewed enthusiasm for the outdoors. They truly value the outdoors as a unique learning environment.        

Posted: 28th Feb 2007 The Great Outdoors : Adobe Acrobat file (56.8k)

Appletree Nursery School

To enhance the quality of experience for the children attending Appletree Nursery School through the best use and development of our outdoor space.

Staghills Nursery School

The key worker system began in 1993 as a way of developing relationships with parents and meeting the child’s personal needs. Over the years it has developed and now acts as an important tool for monitoring the child’s overall progress. In a daily timetabled session, that includes ‘circle time’ activities, the key worker assesses individual needs in a small group setting. The parent / school partnership begins with a home visit and once admitted information is exchanged informally on a daily basis and more formally at parent’s evenings. Value added scores show that all children make good progress towards achieving the Early Learning Goals and they feel secure enough to work confidently and independently in the nursery.

Hambleton Primary School (Innovative Practice Award)

This unit has now been in place for two years and has also been awarded “Lead Practice” status. The need for the unit was driven by low pupil attainment at the end of Reception. Its impact has been that all children now make better than expected progress as measured by End of Reception PIPs. We faced legal, financial, administrative, staffing and environmental considerations, which were all resolved due to the passion and commitment of the whole team. The unit is bright and lively and the children are highly motivated to have fun! The creative and investigative approaches practiced in the unit have permeated throughout the rest of school, so the impact has not only been confined to our 3-5 year olds, but to all our children. The staff, including our Reception teacher who is an AST, are happy to welcome visitors from other settings.

Posted: 24th Jul 2008 The Development of the Outdoor Play Area ... : Adobe Acrobat file (64.3k)

...to enhance and acess the Foundation Stage Curriculum.

 Lordsgate Township CE Primary School

The school had no designated outdoor facility for the Foundation Stage. This meant there was no proper provision for the pupils. It was highlighted  on the School Development Plan and monies were set aside to address this. It required careful designing and resourcing and then embedding in the Foundation Stage Planning and delivery.  This has been achieved.The  outdoor  play area now reflects the areas of provision set up in the classroom. Outdoor storage has been provided for the resources and this is organised to to enable the pupils to become responsible for 'getting things out and putting things away. Laminated A4 photos are tied to the railings to indicate where to to put resources. Evaluation of provision is ongoing and changes are made in response to this.The Outdoor Area has enabled the curriculum to be  delivered more effectively.  The quality of teaching and learning has been raised.     

Posted: 20th Jul 2006 Sherwood Primary Foundation Stage Unit : Adobe Acrobat file (103.2k)

Sherwood Primary School (Innovative Practice Award)

Sherwood Primary School Foundation Unit is just about to enter its third year of development. Initially, we decided it would be very advantageous if all the children were to be together for their first year in school. This would have benefits for providing the same curriculum for all and also assist personal and social relationships. It would also give the opportunity, for the staff, to make qualified decisions when dividing the group into two classes. This facility would also enable us to develop the facilities to provide a true Foundation Curriculum. We started with a very large classroom and a cloakroom area which gave us room for development. Now two years later we have: the main classroom, a creative room, a cloakroom, toilets, a conservatory, an outdoor area with soft surface and a developing garden area. We believe that the development of our unit provides the children with a rich, stimulating, exciting and varied environment where they can experience fully all areas of the Foundation Curriculum - thus giving all the children the best possible start to their school life and giving a true foundation to their learning.

... to assist the transition between the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One (Good Practice Award)

Leyland Methodist Infant School

Our project for establishing the consistent use of emergent handwriting in the Foundation Stage to help the transition to Key Stage One has been very successful.

The children have had more opportunities to develop their emergent writing through the effective use of small areas and bays throughout the Reception area.  The Year 1 classrooms and resource areas have also been developed in a similar way to ensure there is continuity of provision for language development and writing activities.  Out plan for the future is to continue this provision into our Year 2 areas.

We have noticed that all children appear to enjoy these activities and are keen to take part in these different “emergent writing areas, linked to topics.

Without doubt, many children have achieved very well in their writing development.  The PIPs end of year baseline results have provided the evidence and the value added for writing has shown a significant increase to previous years.  Most importantly, the children are enjoying these experiences and having fun at the same time.

Posted: 16th Aug 2006 ‘Raising the Achievement of our Foundation Children : Adobe Acrobat file (110.6k)

... through the Creation of a Foundation Stage Unit’ (Good Practice Award)

St. Wulstan and St. Edmund Catholic Primary School

All aspects of provision for children in the Foundation Stage were scrutinised.

The Nursery building refurbishment began in February 2005 and allowed the classroom and recreational space to be completely redesigned.

Regular planning and curriculum meetings were held between Year R and Year N  with Nursery Nurses and the Foundation Stage Manager involved. Sharing of plans and ideas flourished.

  •  Six areas of learning were each given a higher priority following the refurbishment of the Nursery.
  • Opportunities were provided for youngsters to become engrossed with in-depth activities
  • Outdoor play provision - pupils from Year R now regularly attend the Nursery (following joint planning sessions) to ensure they have equal access to the outdoor play activities. 
  • The development of Nursery outdoor space has given "middle managers" an opportunity to develop professionally. Within the school's Leadership programme they have begun to lead and manage the development of the outdoor play area themselves, with support.

 As a result of these and other actions, the quality of pupils’ learning has increased significantly over the last eighteen months. Both the nursery and year R classes now 'provide highly practical, engaging, fun activities for all its pupils.’ Children within the unit have considerably increased their speaking and listening ability.

Posted: 24th Jul 2008 Smart Sounds- Innovative use of ICT to support ... : Adobe Acrobat file (58.8k)

... phase one of Letters and Sounds

Rosegrove Nursery School

• The project of developing ICT resources to improve speaking and listening skills has been hugely successful and satisfying.
• It is part of the School Development Plan to improve the children's communication skills. As ICT is a strength of the nursery, we decided to develop our existing knowledge and resources to address this issue.
• All the staff had training in using the Letters and Sounds document and when considering ways of using ICT to enhance our provision we decided that the best way forward would be to create our own bespoke resources. For this reason we decided to initially develop activities that would support Phase One of 'Letters and Sounds'.
• We contacted the ICT advisory service and arranged consultancy meetings with the Early Years Advisor where we identified equipment and software which would help us.
We have developed resources using smart note pad, talking resources, recording and editing software, digital cameras and digiblue cameras amongst other resources. Most activities are presented as games or challenges and we try to cater for visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners. As we can differentiate the activities according to ability, we have found all the children to be enthusiastic and motivated learners who achieve success.

‘Development of independent provision in the Foundation Stage’

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Posted: 17th Aug 2006

Fulwood St. Peter’s C.E. Primary School (Innovative Practice Award)

The development of independent provision for children in reception class had clear initial success criteria. These included good quality learning, independent activities to enhance learning, a quiet, calm, purposeful atmosphere, children who enjoy attempting different activities and an organised workspace where children were responsible for resources.

This was developed through enhancements to the building, the creation of an agreed statement on good practice, adequate resources, practical experimentation with different teaching approaches and more creative and imaginative use of space and team teaching.

Amongst other outcomes, the quality of writing has improved; each child now has a writing folder of assessment pieces.  Children are able to work independently. The teacher input with a focus group is much better with minimum interruptions and there is a calm, purposeful atmosphere.

Posted: 1st Mar 2007 Foundation Stage Impact on children's learning : Adobe Acrobat file (76.5k)

Walton le Dale Primary School

The principles of the Foundation Stage learning environment to impact positively on children's learning.

Posted: 24th Jul 2008 Development of Outdoor Learning Environment : Adobe Acrobat file (77.9k)

Poulton St, Chad's C.E. Primary School

 As a school we had no secure outdoor area for the children in Foundation Stage to use, and therefore we were not able to offer the outdoor experiences that the children were entitled to.  We bid for, and were successful in gaining, a £20,000 grant from Sure Start to enable us to build an outdoor learning environment for the children. 
We looked at Foundation Stage Profile results and identified two areas which needed improving - Creative Development and Communication, Language and Literacy.  With these areas in mind, we set about designing an outdoor area that would enable the children to develop skills in them.  Now built, the children have an outdoor learning environment that is safe to play in and enriches many areas of the Foundation Stage curriculum.  The children are very keen to be given the opportunity to use the area, either when led by an adult in a specific activity, or as part of their continuous provision.

Posted: 5th Feb 2008 Wade Hall Family Support Group : Adobe Acrobat file (55.1k)

Wade Hall Children’s Centre (Innovative Practice Award)

• The Group aims to create a welcoming, supportive, stimulating environment, where parents can meet in a relaxed setting. It is an outstanding example of partnership working between Sure Start, Home-Start staff and volunteers, Spurgeon’s staff and Lancashire College. A variety of Family Learning/Early Learning activities are provided based on the Birth to Three Matters Framework,  enabling children and their carers to learn together through  range of play based and creative activities.

• Each session is designed to provide an enriching and stimulating experience for parents and their children and to encourage parents to be involved with their children in creative learning experiences.

• Heuristic Play opportunities encourage babies and young children to explore a wide range of natural materials, make choices, develop preferences and use all of their senses.

• Healthy Snacks and rhyme time are an integral part of each session and Health Professionals visit the group during each term and offer additional information on a range of Health related issues.

• Individual files and weekly handouts are provided and parents and children receive a certificate at the end of the course.

• Parents attending the sessions have developed more confidence in their own skills and an increased awareness of their children's developmental needs.

Posted: 6th Feb 2013 Successfully embedding synthetic phonics .... : Adobe Acrobat file (92.4k)

..... to raise standards in reading

Brockholes Wood Primary School  - Good Practice Award

The project was designed to develop a whole school approach to teaching phonics. The intention was to improve teaching and develop a consistent, rigorous approach that would impact on learning for a sustained period of time. The aim was to raise standards and improve reading throughout EYFS and KS1.

We devised and implemented an action plan that ensured the involvement of all EY and KS1 staff. Children were streamed into phonics phases and taught in small groups. This was assessed and monitored closely to target individual children, groups and classes. Boys' attainment and FSM children were particular focus.

Staff took part in training sessions and lesson observations to identify areas for improvement and to access relevant CPD opportunities. Parents were involved to support the phonics program and reading strategies being implemented in school.
The impact of the project is clearly demonstrated in the school EYFS scores, KS1 SATs and Y1 phonics screening tests. The results relating to boys and FSM children have improved significantly.

Pendle Foundation stage action group  -  Innovative Practice Award

During the academic year 2011-12, our network of schools decided to focus upon improving levels of attainment for our children in the area of knowledge and understanding of the world, particularly concentrating upon improving the level of questioning deployed by staff and the children to promote their own learning.
 
All the schools have similar characteristics being large schools with high percentage of disadvantage and EAL learners.
 
Each of the schools chose a specific area for development; scientific enquiry in the creative area (Bradley and Marsden); through sand and water play (Stoneyholme) and through outdoor provision (Walverden and Walter Street). Staff planned projects linked to these areas and monitored the impact on the children's development through observations of the children in the areas which they reported back to the group half termly.

The biggest impact was that after much hard work the children began to use these areas in much more constructive way and began to use the language of questioning independently. This led in turn to greater interaction with their peers and staff. Within all areas the children began to gain confidence in experimenting with a wider range of materials in more depth and questioning is now becoming the norm. Slowly attainment is rising for our children. Impact on staff in questioning was also hugely increased, ensuring that children had access to high level support in all areas of the classroom.