Principles of our Foundation Stage practice
At Damers we have three Foundation classes taught by four teachers and three Teaching Assistants. The curriculum we follow is the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) for children aged 0-5. Your children will already have been following this so we build on the good work started by our feeder Pre-schools to enable them to reach their full potential, both academically and emotionally.
We know children learn best through play and by initiating their own activities and they are given every opportunity to do so whilst they are with us. With access to indoor and outdoor facilities children are able to develop their play through 45 minute sessions. Ideas are often sparked by our topics and we engage parents and children alike in developing these. Children find resources and books accessible and are encouraged to be independent and select their own tools and materials.
Our independent learning is interspersed with discrete teaching inputs for either groups or the whole class. For example we place great importance on the basic skills so phonics and number work are taught every day. Other inputs include reading Big Books together, shared writing on the Smartboard, SEAL circle time, singing and stories.
Our Foundation Stage team is led by Mrs Hollingworth. Mrs Hollingworth specialised in Early Years at university and has also worked in Year 1.
Blue Foundation is taught by Mrs Hollingworth and Mrs Huelin, who teach for three days and two days per week respectively. Mrs Huelin is one of our most experienced teachers here at Damers. Blue Foundation is also supported by Mrs Jackson who is qualified to NVQ level 3 in Early Years.
Yellow Foundation is taught by Mr Moore and supported by Mrs Trent, one of our most experienced TAs. Mr Moore leads our Eco effort and has helped to shape our surroundings by overseeing the redesign of our outdoor area and main school garden, and organising the mural outside the classrooms.
Red Foundation is taught by Miss Rickard, who specialised at university in teaching the very young children. Red Foundation is supported by Miss Harborow, a newer member of staff who is trained in speech and language support.
Our Foundation classes also have three specialist teaching assistants, Mrs Gardiner, Miss Norris and Mrs Cheshire who work one to one with children to provide Speech and Language support.
Within the Foundation classrooms the environment is an important consideration affecting our children’s learning. Our classrooms have been designed with the children in mind. The colours chosen are light and inviting yet calming and appealing. The displays showcase the children’s learning as well as providing useful access to the phonemes, numbers and tricky words the children have been learning.
Our furniture is especially designed for the size of the children in the Foundation Stage. The height of the tables and chairs as well as working surfaces and play equipment is all size appropriate. Our resources are fully accessible to the children and they are encouraged to select their own resources as well as tidy them away again!
All three Foundation classrooms open onto a shared outdoor space. This was enhanced last year with a redesign and a considerable amount of new equipment purchased. There is a garden area with raised beds. Here children take responsibility for looking after plants from planting and watering to picking off the snails! Eventually they reap the rewards when they get to pick and eat their own healthy snacks. A recent and very popular addition has been the mud kitchen where all manner of meals are served each day. Whilst ‘cooking’ the children practise important skills such as mixing, separating, measuring, counting, transferring, etc alongside incorporating others into their play, turn taking, establishing roles and sharing.
We also have access to a large planted and grassed area with a large sandpit. We use our own playground for large motor activities. Children access wheeled toys and large building equipment. We firmly believe all aspects of the curriculum can be delivered outdoors and to further enhance our literacy provision we have just had a storytelling chair and these beautiful stools made for us.
The hall is also used for P.E., games, dance and gym activities where the children are able to learn and practice their movement skills indoors.
Our children have the use of our onsite indoor heated swimming pool. The foundation stage children take part in weekly swimming lessons with our swimming teacher in small groups getting used to the water, playing games and gaining confidence.
We also have the use of our fully equipped ICT zone within school as well as computers and six iPads in each of our classrooms. There is also an interactive whiteboard in each classroom which is accessible by the children and used for both teaching and learning throughout the day.
We value and appreciate your expertise and support and welcome any parent who would to offer their help or share their skills in the classroom.
Help can be offered in many ways for example:
- Sewing activities
- Playing games
- Outside play
Workshops are offered to all parents throughout the term. These offer support and guidance on how your child is being taught in school and offers ideas, strategies and suggestions you can follow up at home.
Our Foundation parents’ phonics workshops, held in the early part of the autumn term were very well attended and we thank you for giving up your time. We know this will hugely benefit your child’s success in school.
Links to websites
There are many websites we use with the children in school. Have a go at using these ones at home with your child:
www.ladybird.co.uk – Ladybird books
www.bbc.co.uk/schools/laac/numbers – Subtraction ladybird game
www.bbc.co.uk/schools/laac/words – End initial sound game
www.bbc.co.uk/schools/laac/story – story bbc
www.bbc.co.uk/schools/numbertime/games – BBC find the number (number recognition)
www.kidsplaypark.com/games – Over 20 games for all ages, also under playpark, you can singalong to 3 blind mice or wheels on the bus.
www.topmarks.co.uk – Site with lots of links to other games
www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/interactive – Selection of games the gingerbread man goldilocks etc
www.abcteach.com – Different worksheets and activities