At HCPS we are proud of the start we give to all children in Foundation Stage as they join our school. The Foundation Stage is a discrete and very special phase and is concerned with the development of “the whole child”, each area of development closely and often seamlessly intertwined together as children learn and develop following a play based curriculum.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is split into seven areas of learning. The first three are known as the ‘Prime Areas’ and the other four areas are the ‘Specific Areas’.
Communication and language development (listening, attention and understanding; speaking) This sets the foundations for literacy and is crucial to children being able to move onto literacy in the national curriculum. Personal, social and emotional development (self-regulation; managing self; building relationships). This area links with PSHE in the national curriculum. It is a very important part of EYFS and runs through most of what we do. This is how we foster social skills such as sharing, turn-taking, empathy for others, the ability to make and sustain relationships, confidence and independence, awareness of feelings, co-operation etc. Physical development (gross motor skills; fine motor skills). This area includes the development of gross motor skills needed for sports and physical health, and equally importantly the development of fine motor skills which are essential for children learning to hold a pencil, make marks with control and write.
Literacy (comprehension; word reading; writing)
Mathematics (number; numerical patterns)
Understanding of the world (past and present; people, culture and communities; the natural world). This area links with history, geography, science and RE in the National Curriculum.
Expressive arts and design (creating with materials; being imaginative). This area links with art, music and design technology in the National Curriculum.
Our Foundation Stage environment is rich and stimulating and offers a balance between child initiated and adult led group time activities. Some children play spontaneously, although some may need adult support and it is through play that they develop intellectually, creatively, physically, socially and emotionally. Children are challenged through interactions in provision through objective led planning, which ensures no child’s potential is capped. Children are encouraged to go with their own interests, with skilled practitioners on hand to observe, scaffold play, model vocabulary and question children to extend their learning. Resources and provisions which are available are continually adapted according to the needs of the children through a termly analysis of data looking at gaps and strength. It is also adapted linked to the subject driver and the topic/ book. This provides a bespoke environment for the children in the setting.
One of the key elements of Early Years is observing how your child learns. Whether they persevere and show determination or explore to find their own methods and concepts. We value the diversity of each and every child in our care and celebrate their differences and individual characters.
Key to a lot of the learning experiences your child will have is early reading and language development. A large proportion of this is taught through daily phonics sessions. At HCPS we use the Read Write Inc phonics programme , which teaches phonemes in a particular order alongside the letter formation for each letter. Lessons provide children with collaborative and engaging tasks. Books are then set online for home reading, that are matched to the phonemes that have been taught. These are allocated each week and have online quizzes attached to enable children to further develop their learning.
Alongside reading, we use focus sessions to teach children early writing skills. We then use our environment to encourage children to write in meaningful and purposeful ways, thus embedding writing skills. Similarly, we use focus sessions to teach mathematical skills and concepts.
The school day begins at 8:45 am. Children are greeted at the doors by a member of staff and shown into the classroom. They will then have morning jobs to complete, such as name writing, letter formation or super sentence writing. Lunch time is 11:45 am until 12:45 pm. Your child is entitled to a free school meal until the reach the end of Year 2. We recommend you apply for Free School Meal entitlement here, there are hot meal options & a picnic plate (see menu section of the website). Your child can bring a packed lunch if you prefer. FS2 staff support children at lunchtime alongside the dinnertime supervisors for the first few weeks. The school day ends at 3:15 pm, please collect your child from the same door as they were dropped off.
We have a snack bar which is open all day during VIP (Very Important Play) time so the children can make independent choices. We provide a variety of healthy options and also foods linked to themes we are learning about, for example hot cross buns at Easter, mince pies at Christmas, ice pops when we are learning about changing state or pattern kebabs when we learn about pattern. Fresh milk is also available every day in cartons. We do ask that children bring a drink from home each day (no fizzy or milkshake drinks please) in a bottle clearly labelled with their name.
All pupils from Nursery to Year 6 are expected to always wear school uniform, below we have outlined what is essential uniform and what is optional. Children can wear branded or non-branded uniform as long as the school colours are adhered to. The branded uniform is supplied through Vortex Clothing Company. You can visit their unit in person to buy uniform or use the online order form which is available on the school website. Uniform orders are delivered to school within a week of ordering. Please ensure all uniform is clearly labelled with your child’s name. On PE days your child can come to school in their PE kit rather than their main uniform.
As well as the Early Years provision where your child will spend the majority of their time, there are some other key places around the school building that your child will spend plenty of time and may want to see before they arrive.
Main Reception: This is where you will enter if you want to go to the school office. Here you will usually be greeted by either Miss Bidwell-Wright or Miss O’Neill.
The School Hall: The school hall is where the children will have their dinner. They will also use the hall for PE lessons and for various assemblies and performances as they continue on their school journey.
School Playground: This is where children will go after they have eaten their dinner and as they move further up school they will spend morning and afternoon break times here. Whilst the children are in FS2, they will have a cordoned off area to separate them from the rest of the school during dinner times. They will be joined in here by dinnertime supervisors and some of the Year 6 sports leads. In the Summer Term, they will move onto the grassed area and mingle with the rest of school in preparation for their transition to Year 1.